Mother Angelica Her Grand Silence
Podcast #95 — Aired June 6, 2016

Mother Angelica was a beloved, wise cracking nun who touched millions of lives through EWTN, the world’s largest religious media empire, which she founded. This week on BetterWorldians Radio, we’re speaking with Raymond Arroyo, a personal friend of Mother Angelica, about his new book “Mother Angelica Her Grand Silence.” Arroyo will tell listeners how Mother Angelica overcame many hardships in life to make the world a better place.

 

 

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Raymond Arroyo
Author, Mother Angelica Her Grand Silence

Raymond Arroyo, author of the New York Times bestseller Mother Angelica, is the news director and lead anchor of EWTNews. As creator and host of the news magazine The World Over Live, he is seen in more than 100 million households each week. He has worked at the Associated Press and the New York Observer, and for the political columnist team of Evans and Novak. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and many other publications. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife and three children.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Hi welcome to BetterWorldians Radio. BetterWorldians Radio is a weekly broadcast whose mission is to uplift and inspire you to make the world a better place. Im Ray Hansell, joined today by my co-host MarySue Hansell. BetterWorldians Radio is brought to you by the family team that created the popular social game on Facebook called A Better World. It rewards players for doing good deeds while helping to raise money and awareness for charities. So far over 40 million good deeds had been done in the Better World by more than four million people around the world. Good deeds includes expressions of gratitude, saying prayers, random acts of kindness, sending notes to real world sick kids just to name a few. This week on BetterWorldians Radio were talking about the life and legacy of Mother Angelica with Raymond Arroyo. Author of the book, Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence. Raymond is also author of the New York Times bestseller Mother Angelica, is the news director and lead anchor of EWTNews. As creator and host of the news magazine The World Over Live, he is seen in more than 100 million households each week. He has worked at the Associated Press and the New York Observer, and for the political columnist team of Evans and Novak. Hi Raymond, thanks for joining us today in BetterWorldians Radio.

Raymond Arroyo
Oh, thank you for having me. Delighted to be with you all.

Raymond Hansell
Oh its great to have you. Were big fans of Mother Angelica and were big fans of yours as well, as well as quite a few of the other programs in the EWTN.

Raymond Arroyo
Oh, you know that speaks to your bad taste and Im thankful none the less.

Raymond Hansell
(Laugh), Well I have watched other television shows I just want to focus..

Raymond Arroyo
Oh no. Depending on what that is, I dont know if Im gonna revise my commentary about it. Well leave it there.

Raymond Hansell
Alright, will hold on that. Now for our listeners who dont know and theres some of them dont. Tell us a little bit about who Mother Angelica is?

Raymond Arroyo
Well Mother Angelica, of course her secular distinction I would say is shes the first woman in history of broadcast television to launch and lead a cable network as a woman, forget a nun. And to do so for 20 years, no other woman in the history of broadcast has done that. So thats her, I think one of her great point to fame. But much more important than to that perhaps is the spiritual legacy she left, the great example of faith,of hope. This is a girl Rita Rizzo, who was born in Canton Ohio in the 1920s. She suffered abuse. She was abandoned by her father at five. Left in the care of a very mentally unstable mother. She, healing experience that drew her to the convent, she felt drawn to the convent in the 1940s and she thought she would live the rest of her life as a cloistered nun hidden from the world. And God apparently had other plan. For 20 years, she was the public face of the EWTN. The network she launched. It was a fleeting light and in those years really became a great witness to the power of suffering the power of prayer. And she taught, reach millions around the world, EWTN today reaches more than 300 million household on television alone. And to think all of that was launched from a monastery garage in Birmingham, Alabama in 1981 is a pretty extra ordinary thing.

Raymond Hansell
It is indeed.

Raymond Arroyo
You know, she was disabled. She had everything going against her really. And her witness, her network I think is a testament to the power of faith and the deep ability to channel pain into what God wants it to be. Something good and a blessing for others.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, she did turn suffering into a, into an amazing positive statement to say to this. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to know Mother Angelica?

Raymond Arroyo
Oh boy! I was asked by a friend who had a magazine in Washington DC, to write a feature article on Mother Angelica. He had a magazine and he knew I had a print and television background and he ask me if I would be open to working on a piece on mother. I didnt know who she was. Now my mother and grandmother know exactly who Mother Angelica was in New Orleans but I didnt. So I did a little research and I said you know, boy what a character that Mother Angelica is. Sure, Ill go interview her. So I fly down to Birmingham, met her and you know hit it off really from the first. Mother was all full Calabrese and Im half Sicilian so I think the Italian thing helped.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, thats right.

Raymond Arroyo
You know, it instantly bonded us. I sort of understood her. Ive been around strong Italian women my whole life so this was nothing new. And we.. I started writing about mother back in 1995 and I am still writing about her. So all these years later. So Its been an amazing journey for me personally and she has sow, you know deep in my own life, my faith and change the life of my family in so many incredible ways.

Raymond Hansell
Now, how did that relationship actually evolve. Cause it goes back over two decades, right?

Raymond Arroyo
It does. Yeah, weve known each other for 20 years and she started as an employer. You know, she hired me shortly after that first interview I did with her. She asked out of the blue if I would come and lead the news operation in EWTN, if I would found it. And I said well, Ive got, Ive got some business I have to take care of in New York and Washington. In fact I was talking with folks in DC about being a Capital Hill Correspondent for their network. So I dodge her initially and then in time, she kept sort of coming back at me and said would you consider it and I finally did. We moved down to Birmingham. Its a sort of funny story, Ill tell it quickly. She.. my wife and I were in a congressional affair. And you know the lobbyist are all over the place and I have had the longest case for the lobbyist. With apologies to my lobbyist friends but you know I think it subverts the republic and its an undermining of the, you know, the will of the people in many cases. So I was engaging in my familiar refrain of complaint on my way home from this particular event and we get home and the phones ringing and its Mother Angelica. When I said hello, and she said Youre ready to come down here?. Ah, who is this?, Its mother This is not my mother.Who is this? And you know, I havent seen her for like a month. And it is the big Mother Angelica and she said Why dont you come down here, itd be good for your soul. Well, when you here Mother Angelica say words like that you know its hard to say no. And shes sprung her Venus light for us here I am 20 years later

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, you do a great take on Mother Angelica. I have to tell you. Im not sure it would that sure impersonation or shes channeling through you as we speak.

Raymond Arroyo
Well, one of the two. She likes it. She do enjoyed it. The only reason why I do it is because she really did enjoy it and laugh when I do it. So I got the approval of the woman herself or I wouldnt do it at all. But I did it in front of her quite a lot.

Raymond Hansell
She was a personality. Tell us a little bit about her personality.

Raymond Arroyo
Well you know Mother, Ill tell you the thing, there were two marks of Mother Angelicas personality. She has an incredible sense of mission which is most embodied in her will. She had a strong will. If Mother Angelica wanted something to happen, forget it, its going to happen. Its only a matter of when not if. And she will also move, you know mountains with her great sense of humor. Mother has suffered so as a person that she chose to laugh at the complexities and the challenges of life. Confident that God will take her through it, and he did. Not always easily. Not always easily. I mean, you know, her great move to Bermingham which is where she would build her network. Her media empire. It began with a deal she made with God. And this is.. I always tell people because you have pain in your life, that doesn't always means that God is cursing you or smiting you or this is some great punishment. It may be the instrument that he is using to move you in the direction he wants you to move in. And in the case of Mother Angelica, this is a great example. In 1956 she had a persistent spinal problem from the time she was a child; it was a genetic defect and she found it herself unable to walk. So they did a series of operations and before this particular operation in 1956 at the Cleveland Clinic, doctor came in, said,Theres a fifty percent chance you wont walk again, so say your prayers, and he walked out. And the surgery was the next morning. Well, she said,I was awake all night, I was crawling at the sheets, sweat is dripping down, and she made a deal with God and she said, If you make me walk again, I will build a monastery to your glory in the south. Now she chose the south because she grow up in the mix neighborhood. Half Italian, half African American and she was really attune to the racial situation and help people who were abused and discriminated against cause of their race. Both Italian and black. So she wanted to go down and pray for the racial situation in the south. That was a part of her mission. Well, she end up being able to walk after this surgery but with the use of a bare crutches and a brace that run from her neck down to her one leg. Leading her to comment years later, When you make a deal with God, be very specific. And thats great advice. But the importance of that story is you know she often said faith is when you can look into nothing and still take the leap. Still take the step. And its hard to look into nothingness..

Raymond Hansell
Yeah.

Raymond Arroyo
and take that leap. And she did that consistently in her life. And look at the great fruit. Look at the great..the millions of people shes been able to reach and change for the better. All because of that one decision of faith to keep going forward and to make good on the promises to God.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, she did in fact walk the walk as the say. Amazing lessons there. That she has to teach all of us. What did you learn personally from her?

Raymond Arroyo
Oh My gosh! I learned everything from her. One of the things Ive learned that I cherish. Mother Angelica, you know this is a woman who barely made it out of high school. You know she failed out her senior year. She had to go to summer school to get her diploma. She was not, you know, a glamorous good looking well connected person. And yet, when she felt she was being inspired to do something. She was humble enough to accept that inspiration and run it with everything she had. Everything she had. And you know, she used to say boldness should be the eleventh commandment, you know and that you have to (-31:39____) to run after the thing that youre given to do. So what she thought me because I saw, I had a front row sit on it, in person, is that you may be called the things that you dont feel ready for or you dont feel worthy of, but that doesnt matter. You have to, you have to take that step. And as she often said, The grace comes with the step. You know? You cant hesitate. You cant let in fear. And she never did. Even with her disability. Even with the tragic educational history she have. Even with, you know, a broke cloistered nun. She went forward and built what is today. The largest media empire on the planet for religious broadcasters. Now if a crippled disabled educational challenged cloistered nun could do that, what are we called to do that we arent today.

Raymond Hansell
She must had a great deal of hope to propel that faith forward to have those kind of situations hit her in the face and say well, its gonna happen.

Raymond Arroyo
Well, it wasnt hope. It was confidence. You know she often would tell me, when I say, you know, Im not sure what Im suppose to do now, Im not sure.. She said, Youre asking the wrong question. Its not what youre going to do for the world. What is God going to do through you.

Raymond Hansell
Through you. Yes.

Raymond Arroyo
She would say. So you see that perspective is everything. On one hand, it all depends on you. Well Mother Angelica never though that all depend on her because she didnt have physically the capability for it all to depend on her. In fact, she was just the opposite. You know, I often look on her story and I say its the perfect exemplar of the power of weakness. The power in, when you submit, when you give it and release what good gift you have to God and trust him in that radical way, he will do amazing things. And her life testifies to that. She could not have possibly done the things she did. Building monasteries around the world, launching short wave networks, building this cable empire. It doesnt make sense on paper or anywhere else. But how did it happened? Well, in both this books, The First Biography of Mothers Life and its sequel, Her Grand Silence, you see exactly how it was made possible and it is mostly due to her faith and her perspective on life and her role in it.

Raymond Hansell
She talked, I think recently I saw one of the clips subsequent to her death, theyve been running a lot of the some of the very best on Mother Angelica live. And its, its.. She was talking a little bit for a while there about the apostles and how they were chosen. She said, Hey, you know, this guy was just a fisherman and this guy was a tax collector and this guy did that, very very.. everyday, nothing special about any of this people and look what happened, what they were able to do through, through the grace and through the blessings and through the gifts of God. And so, she really, I think she exemplify it herself. I mean I think she would have been the perfect choice to be somebody that did that kind of thing and she in fact did that.

Raymond Arroyo
Well, she is. I mean I would argue, you know, Mother Angelica is a contemporary apostle. She was an evangelizer; sent out to bring a message of hope, a message of joy at times, a message of correction at other times, to people in their need and you know, I often has, maybe professional would come to me and say, you know, what was her secret? What do you think her secret was? Well, I think part of her secret was her background. She was actually a young girl who suffered a lot. So she understood pain and suffering and neglect and divorce and physical pain. So when she look into the camera and people called in with their questions about the heartaches they were enduring now, shed been there. And theres that authenticity. People recognize their own. You watch her and you go, you know what? I might not feel everything she says but you know she gets it. She understand me because she had live the experience. So that coupled with her intense faith. This is a woman who prayed two and three hours a day. I mean this is not somebody who just wore an outfit and then you know, play the role for the cameras. She was leading the community. It was a prayerful contemplative community which still exist. And she committed herself to three hours of prayer daily. That changes you. It transforms you. And she combined the best with practical wisdom, homespun common sense, kinda grandmotherly wisdom with the great teachings of the ages, of Augustine and Aquinas and the councils of the church. She brought all of that to bare in one, you know, 50 sayings. And it were.. It touch people and it still touches them today.

Raymond Hansell
It does indeed. Tell us the story about Mother Angelicas.. maybe her one of her first leaps was jumping over the car that almost hit her when she was a child. I mean, and by the way, while you are talking about that, if you dont mind. Just quite a few super natural experiences like this that have occurred in her life as well. Arent there?

Raymond Arroyo
Well in the book, I dedicated a chapter to the supernatural experiences that really had been a part of her life from the very beginning. And you talk about as a young girl she was crossing a street in Kemp, Ohio and a bus was bearing down on her and she panicked and kinda froze in the middle of the street cause the bus was so close. This is how she told the story and others corroborated it. And she said, I felt this pair of hands under my arms and I was lifted up and moved to the median nearby, out of the path of the bus. And those who were witnessing this, people who are walking nearby, the bus driver, they thought she kind of leaped. You know in an amazing way kind of leaped up and were sort of pulled almost to the median. Thats what they saw. She cant see that because her eyes were close. She was in a panic. All she did was feel the sensation. But throughout her life, she encountered visions of saints, angels, she felt God, you know the child Jesus appeared to her and told her to build fine, a temple to his glory, which she did. It was a life build on inspiration. So the curious thing that I get to in this book is that at the end of the life, you see her getting visitations and super natural experience of very different sort. Where diabolic visitations takes place. There are cold spots in the room. Some of the nuns experience pressure when they cant move. The lights are blinking. I mean there are some real phenomenon there that I thought its important to capture and it seems odd to people that, wait a minute. Wait a minute. This is a holy woman. Why is this happening to her? Well, it is not uncommon for holy people. People striving for sanctity to be attacked at the end of the life. And you know Mother Teresa, You know Mother Teresa and the great deal on her life. At the end of her life, they brought an exorcist in for Mother Teresa because she was feeling so under attacked supernaturally. So this is not beyond the realm. It seems odd to our eyes but you know, its only because I guess are not only about, we dont go through this stuff but Mother Angelica certainly did. So I thought its important to capture the full sweep of both her inspiration as well as these challenges, attacks later at her life.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah. I think youve covered it very well. Weve had an interview with Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle and her book Mother Theresa and Me, and she talked a little bit about that experience as well. So theres a lot of parallel interestingly enough about both of these wonderful saints in waiting, so well talk more about that after the break but were gonna take a short break right now. When we return, well talk more about the life and legacy of Mother Angelica with Raymond Arroyo and my co-host, MarySue Hansell. In the meantime, if you are fan of the BetterWorldians Radio. Please check out our game on Facebook called A Better World. A Better World encourages habits of goodness, positive mindsets, and giving to social causes to make a positive difference in the world. Players in the game do things like express gratitude, pray, and offer and ask for prayers, share acts of random kindness, and send get well notes to real world sick children and many many more. Wed like to congratulates our players in the A Better World for a successful challenge in May with Emilys entourage because you reached our do good goal in the game. We released funds to help find the cure for cystic fibrosis and this month were excited to announce that Marys meals is our charity partner for the month of June. Marys meals was actually inspired by devotion to blessed Mother Mary and today provides meals to believe it or not, over 1 million children in need every single day. When our players complete the good deed challenge this month, well release funds to feed over 50 kids for an entire school year. You can find that and play at Facebook.com/ABetterWorld. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Youre listening to BetterWorldians Radio. Were speaking with Raymond Arroyo. Author of the newly released Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence. And now lets welcome back Raymond and my co-host, MarySue Hansell.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Raymond.

Raymond Arroyo
Hi, great to be with you all again.

MarySue Hansell
Yes. Thanks for coming back.

Raymond Arroyo
Not at all

MarySue Hansell
Anyway, can you tell our listeners how Mother Angelica was actually inspired to get into broadcasting.

Raymond Arroyo
Well, you know it was a.. She often says, Things evolved. And I think if we look at our own lives, its true. You know one thing sort of leads to another. Its not always a thunderclap. And in this case, she was uhmm.. She started. She went down to Birmingham, Alabama and making good on the promise I mentioned in the last segment, to build a monastery in the south. She gets down there and there no nuns. People dont know who these people are with a hobbit and a veil. Who are they? So the bishop says,You know, you all should socialize a little bit. Go talk at local churches. Let people know what you do. So when your cloistered, when you walk away the monastery, theyre not wondering whats going on in it. So she did that. She started speaking. She gave some scripture and lessons and spiritual talk. Well, it was a group of Episcapilian women who really embraced her after the lead of bible study during length which she did. Then they started recording that bible study and eventually they bought radio time. Mother Angelica was on the air waves and that leads to speeches across the country which her bishop permitted. And then following that, she was doing an interview at a Chicago sky scrapers studio. And she walked in, there was few lights, little set, and she said, Now this reaches the whole world?, and they said, Well, it reaches the whole nation. She said, Boy, it doesnt take much to reach the masses, Lord I gotta have one of these. And that was the beginning. You wanna know what had inspired her? Thats what inspired her. And bit by bit, she started the recording programs in Birmingham eventually building her own studio, you know, in a monastery garage and its still there today. The network originates out of the side of that monastery and though the nuns no longer live there. They live in all the north in Hanceville. The site to the chapel, all of that is still intact.

MarySue Hansell
I guess its a lot bigger than that little garage.

Raymond Arroyo
Oh yeah, its much bigger. It kinda sprawl in all directions in that garage.

MarySue Hansell
Well, now youve heard from so many people all around the world who really said how much Mother Angelica meant to them personally. Can you share a couple of those stories Raymond?

Raymond Arroyo
Well, what I love about this new book in Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence, I make the argument that Mother Angelica reached more people in the last 20 years of her life or last 15 years of her life rather, than she did during the 20 broadcasting public years of her life. And heres why, her network grew exponentially during what I call her grand silence. During the silent period, in 2001 she had a debilitating stroke. It eventually would confined her to the corner room of the monastery where she wouldnt leave. And though she could talk a little bit, she really couldnt leave that room and expression was very difficult. And yet, during those last 15 years, I would argued to her, the prayer and the suffering she is offering up for others. The network grows from 60 million views to more than 300 million viewers around the world and because of the ubiquity of the books, I added it through the nuns, her biography, her ideas, her thoughts, her teachings are everywhere and metastasizing by the minute. So the beautiful thing about this last book is it gave me the opportunity to in real time show you the people who are discovering Mother Angelica from 2004 on. And these are viewers and listeners and readers from Nigeria, from Canada, from England, from you know Florida; from all over the United States, Africa, Asia. And you see her leaving a deep spiritual mark on these people. And I thought its important to show you their letters and I got permission to publish their letters and they are beautiful letters, you know one that I recall now, a man wrote it and said, You know Im in a hotel room. Im flipping the channels. Heres this woman. and he said, Look I am living a life of crime, I was on drugs and what she said so convicted me that it propelled me to repair my relationship with my family, I returned to church, and I transform and changed my life due to something she said. A seemingly random comment but I mean mother would be the first to say theres nothing random about anything.

MarySue Hansell
You know its really interesting because in reading your book, I saw so many of those letters that said people who are in distress, or had a big problem are just flipping on those channels and they will just land on Mother Angelica. Its unbelievable. So..

Raymond Arroyo
Well it happens even now. You know MarySue, I still get letters from people watching reruns now. And they feel, look, I come upon here just when I needed her. It was like she was talking to me you know, directly. And maybe she is.And I would argue that during those years as she was offering, you know, she told the nuns at one point during her suffering and you know, you can imagine the psychological suffering at being this great voice not only in the Catholic church but in the world. Known around the world and yet youre not able to speak and convey your will any longer. And in halting bit, she told her nuns, You dont know how difficult it is not to be able to speak and to communicate. And they said, What do you think this is all about?. And she said, Its for the people. Its for the people. So she was saying, Im suffering here, Im offering this up for the people thats what it is about, that was a part of it is about. And Ive got so many beautiful letters in the last few weeks since the book came out from people who are dealing with either a life threatening disease in their own life, or their bringing love ones, family members, a mother or father into the house with them, theyre moving into the house to care for them. And they said, You know reading this book, its giving me a sense of what this time is about for us. It put suffering and pain in such a beautiful perspective. I understand now and I didnt before. So if this book accomplishes nothing else, that would be such a great gift; I think. And part of Mothers last lesson about the value of pain and suffering if you unite it to faith and give yourself to it and find the love buried in it. Not only for yourself but for the love one you might be taking care of.

MarySue Hansell
That so beautiful because its so hard to see people go through the pain and suffering and of course the person thats going through it but when you put this in the larger perspective, it becomes beautiful.

Raymond Arroyo
Yep well, and its hard to say, look when youre in the middle of, when your going through it, like when gun fires raining down on you, you know? Its hard to imagine you know victory parties and the freedom on the other side but its not like that in the cauldron of suffering and what I love about this book, and I do think its mothers last lesson. Is she is able to impart by her witness and you will hear her words and see her slowly giving her will over to God in this last bit of her journey. And with her teaching you begin to understand what this is about. Not only in Mother Angelicas life but in each of our lives. And were not all gonna see angels, were not gonna see saints and were not gonna build media empires but we will all encounter pain and suffering in some way and there is value on it. And even the frail elderly have an enormous value and we are in a society that seeks to cast them away. And Mothers journey tells a very different tale and if it speaks, I think deep richness to be found, you know in old age and even in suffering during that period.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, that was a beautiful lesson. I mean the value of being sick and elderly. I mean you can really contribute to saving of peoples souls if you put it in that perspective. So..

Raymond Arroyo
Sure.

MarySue Hansell
I really love that point. What, youve mentioned about Mother Angelica talking about living in the moment. She taught us also a great lesson there. Can you share a bit about that?

Raymond Arroyo
You know, she would often say when I was running around the network, you know the 112 directions; shed say, You gotta focus on the present moment. and I say, What do you mean the present? Were all in the present moment. I dont even know what you are talking about. And she.. in my cocky way. And shed say, The present moment is not yesterday or focusing and fretting about tomorrow. Its the duties and responsibilities of right now. And her take was that there were great gifts, there were great lessons, and theres a gift for you here in the present moment. And if youre wallowing in the past or fretting about the future, youre missing this. And this is the very key to her life. Its the reason she was so successful in business. Its the reason she could embrace those inspirations and run at them and build them. And then when she felt God was moving her away from those things. She would drop them like a hot rock and run in the other direction. It was a constant living in the present moment attune to Gods will in that moment. And it was a great lesson she gave me and I got to see it so often in practice. And it is, people say you know,How can you write books? How can you produce things? How can you do the weekly show? How can you do music specials? I mean.. And I dont know how I do those things. Part of it is staying in the present moment. Im doing this interview now. Im fully engaged in this interview. Im not thinking about the taxes or thinking about the show tomorrow night. You cant do that. You have to stay right here. And so many of us dont live in the here. We dont live in the present moment. Were somewhere else. And thats another great beautiful lesson youll see illustrated in Mothers actions and example in this new book.

MarySue Hansell
You know its so true because you can be very overwhelmed and get stressed out if you start thinking about the past and the future. But youre right if we stay in the..

Raymond Arroyo
Of course.

MarySue Hansell
Present moment. And now theres a whole big trend of mindfulness and thats what theyre teaching to. So thats very interesting.

Raymond Arroyo
Yep. Well, you know also, I mean part of that is, I mean beneath it and this is something I enlisted it from her over many years. What I began to understand is; the reason that people linger in the past is because theyre usually licking their wounds or reciting the poor me let me. Or theyre fretting about the future because theyre afraid of something. Its usually rooted in the ego. Their own vanity and fear and you gotta let that go. You cant create anything, you cant be part of anything productive if youre mired in fear and youre worried about yourself. Its not about you. And thats another great lesson of Mother Angelica. The network wasnt about her. Her monastery wasnt about her. She was serving God. And she was a real servant to God throughout that life. And you see how shes transforms so many people around her through that service and thats all called to. Were not here to make ourselves bigger, better, stronger 2.0. Thats not what were here to do.

MarySue Hansell
Youre right. You write in the book also about the ways Mother Angelica lived. All out lived the virtues of faith, hope and charity. And I thought If you can just tell us about a bit of those things because it was wonderful reading it.

Raymond Arroyo
Well, I thought its important in this last book to kind of capture the virtues of Mother as I saw them and you know so in Mother Angelica: The Grand Silence. I went through the examples I saw of her faith. And you know anybody whos watched EWTN, the whole things a lesson in faith. It shouldnt be here. Theres no business reason, earthly reason, explanation to why this thing exist and continues on except radical faith and she lived it. And I let out some of those examples. Her hope, I think she was a woman of hope. At every turn when youre disabled. You dont have much else. Particularly when you cant walk, when you cant fully communicate as she couldnt in her last years. And she held tightly to the hope that God would carry her through this and that there was a reason for all of this, even when she couldnt see it at the moment. See, the beautiful thing about the book, Is I.. were looking at it through the rear view mirror. So I can show you,Look what happened. This is whats going on at the same time. She wasnt furnished with that information at the moment. She only had the walk of faith. And thats how it is for most of us. We cant see down the road. You only get to see where your foot is landing next. Thats it. And so its a walk of faith and she went on it. And that is itself a hopeful activity. And of course love, I mean theres so many examples of love. Mother.. I love the story, one of the nuns in the book Sister Esther Marie who she was discerning a vocation. She was working at EWTN at that time. She came to Mother and said,Look, I do feel I have a vocation. They talked about it many many times. She said, I feel I have a vocation but I just cant do anything about it now. I still have this college debt, I cant leave my mother with this debt. And she said that repeatedly to Mother Angelica. Well about a week later, Mother Angelica calls this girl to the cloister, to the grill and says,Well, I have something for you. And under the grill she slides an envelope and its full of cash. And she said, Theres the payment for your debt. Now, whats your excuse. She said, You gotta take the first step. I know that could looks scary. Just jump of it. Go ahead. And she did. That woman would enter the order. The four players of Perpetual Adoration. Shes still a nun today in Huntsville and you know again, that inspiration that Mother Angelica had to meet this girl in her need would transform her life. And there, you have an example of all three of the virtues. I mean its faith, its hope and its love all at once and look at the goods that comes from it.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, theres so many beautiful stories too about her generosity. I remember one that I read that she helped up a woman whos husband left her and her son and took all the furniture and she just sent furniture and she sent money for the rent and it was just a wonderful thing to read.

Raymond Arroyo
Well, thats not, that wasnt uncommon. I mean Mother often would engage in kind of, you know random act of charity. Inspired in the moment to, you know do it but in that case, it was a mother and child left behind and of course Angelica being an abandoned child with her mother at a tender age of five, she instantly felt what that situation looked like and have the means to help people out of it. So she sent furniture and some rent and you know set them on the course. That woman actually came to me at the book signing and told me that story.

MarySue Hansell
Oh really?

Raymond Arroyo
Yeah, I met that lady, I think it was in Chicago. And you know those, look.. I am just giving you a little taste of the millions and millions of people whos lives just transforms for the better and who she showed eternity to and the possibility of redemption. And I often think without this little girl, without Rita Rizzo having the faith to march forward and do what she was called to do. This may never happened. It only takes one act of faith and countless others may follow. Which is why we cant ignore them.

MarySue Hansell
Raymond, I have one last question, important question for you. How do you believe Mother Angelica and her lessons helped to make this a better world?

Raymond Arroyo
Oh my gosh. Mother Angelica, not only her lesson. Look, weve got a ton of teachers out there. I mean, I.. You know I had great teachers. They were wonderful people who preach and teach and give glorious speeches. I hear political speeches every week here in Washington. But you know what? Words are cheap. Words are really cheap. And what I love about Mother Angelica story; what I love about this last book, which I think is the most important of the four books now five, Ive done for the monastery, Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence captures the example, the lived lesson. Mother Angelica didnt just say, hey you go do this. She went through the blades herself. She lived the lesson. And even the very difficult one that she taught on pain and suffering. And this was at the very center of her.. I would argue, at the very center of her teaching, is the redemptive power of pain and suffering. And it is a mystery. It is hard. I have friends of mine who would say that, No way, God would allow pain and suffering. Its only a sadist who would see the world that way. Well, there was a fellow name Jesus Christ and he taught us a different way and Mother used to often say.. because look, it was confusing to me too, sometimes still is. And I said,Why would God permit this to happen to you? You know for you to have this stroke. For you to not be able to speak now?. And she said,Purification. My purification. And she would often say when she could fully speak,Theres a great gift to being treated by the father the way he treated his son and there is great power there. Its a power most of us miss, ignored, seek to shift off to some facility, to an old age facility or hospital. We dont wanna see it. But theres not only an important gift there for the person going through the suffering, theres also an important gift there for the person aiding the individual whos suffering. And thats what Mothers story teaches. So how does she changed the world? She changed the world not only by speaking the lessons and giving them voice but when the voice stopped, she lived them in her body and through her great witness and that witness continues even after her death to touch countless souls. Thats someone worth emulating.

Raymond Hansell
That is truly a remarkable story. I would make a statement that she didnt just changed the world, shes still changing the world. If our listeners wanna learn more about that. You know, tune in to EWTN, look at some of those episodes youll find as relevant today. Many people that we talked about before we did the show said, Oh thats the woman thats on the EWTN. I said,Well, youre looking at an episode that may go back 10 or 15 years. Really? And thats why her stories are so relevant and also pick up few of the books by Raymond Arroyo especially the one he just recently wrote called, Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence because it really covers that portion of her life where in spite of her disability and her silence, she was still accomplishing so much, so much. Raymond thank you so much for joining us today in BetterWorldians Radio.

Raymond Arroyo
Thank you all for taking the time and reading the book and for just sharing goodness and a challenge that uplift with the audience. Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Youre very welcome. By the way, if youre enjoying this episode Valedictorians Radio please be sure to subscribe to our show in iTunes and give us a review. Were always listening to your feedback, so let us know what you think. As we end our show, each week we like to share our BetterWorldians mission. We strive to make the world a better place by encouraging the best in everyone. We focus on positive thinking, positive values, positive actions and positive contributions from BetterWorldians like Mother Angelica. In short, our vision is to bring out the BetterWorldian in every one. So we can all make it a better world. So and so next time, be a BetterWorldian.