Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, the unlikely TV star and one of the most recognizable faces of the Catholic Church, died on Easter Sunday at age 92. Her death was announced by the Eternal Word Television Network, which she founded in 1981.
With her blunt talk and often caustic sense of humor, Mother Angelica was a familiar presence on EWTN through her Mother Angelica Live program throughout the 1980s and ’90s. Though she stopped appearing on new episodes in the early 2000s following a stroke, her reruns remain popular, including on Youtube. According to EWTN, the network’s channels currently reach 264 million households globally.
According to EWTN, Mother Angelica began the network in 1981 after parting ways with an Alabama TV station that had produced her previous religious programming. EWTN managing editor Raymond Arroyo called Mother Angelica “the only woman in the history of television to found and lead a cable network for 20 years.”
In a statement on EWTN’s Facebook page, Father Sean O. Sheridan, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville where Mother Angelica received an honorary doctorate of sacred theology, described her as “a true media giant. She proved that the Church belonged in the popular media alongside the news, sports, and talk shows.
Though her stances were decidedly old-school — she was critical of religious and political progressives — her lectures were lightened with an often self-deprecating humor. She famously said the nuns she remembered from her youth were “the meanest people on God’s earth.”