Even though I converted in 1991, which, I think, was the height of Mother Angelica’s popularity, I never listened to her. Partly, it’s because I rarely watched any TV back then, but partly out of arrogance. Mother Angelica, I vaguely felt, was for the Catholic pedestrians.
Anyway, I regret that attitude now. I have taken to listening to her old shows on my iPhone. And, even though she’s not a highfalutin thinker, she was clearly a wise and intelligent nun, with much to offer any person who sits on the wrong side of sainthood.
I’ve enjoyed her enough to purchase Raymond Arroyo’s biography of her. I primarily bought it because I wanted to read about the founding and building of EWTN, but reading about Mother Angelica’s hard early life has proven interesting.
And occasionally entertaining, like this passage about her when she was age six or so:
Prohibition, which hit Canton on January 16, 1920, and would not be repealed until February 1933. Mother Angelica vividly recalled one event that happened in either 1929 or 1930. “I couldn’t have been more than four or five, and my grandfather didn’t want me in the saloon. He gave me a small mug of beer with a big collar on it. I had four or five pretzels, and he said, ‘Go outside and sit on the curb and enjoy yourself.’ So I’m out there on the curb drinking this beer and eating pretzels when the Salvation Army Band shows up. Well, they’re praying all kinds of psalms in front of me and praying for my salvation. They must have been shocked to see this kid drinking beer. I remember yelling up to my grandfather, ‘There’s a big band down here.