World Renown Evangelizer

Mother Angelica

If you’ve watched Mother Angelica on EWTN you know she was a joyful, no-nonsense, immensely faithful woman. She didn’t hold back with the guests on her show. She was quick to share her faith and wisdom and encourage the audience to step up their connection with Jesus.

Her love of the Lord was obvious and contagious. She also had a devotion to Mary. Recordings of her praying the rosary with her sisters can be seen regularly on the station.

Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation was born on April 20, 1923 in Canton, Ohio and named Rita Rizzo. Her parents divorced when she was 6 years old resulting in a childhood of hunger and poverty.She also suffered a period of severe stomach pain as a teenager, which she believed was cured after a novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Then, in the 1950s she had an accident that could have prevented her from ever walking again.

Mother Angelica’s struggles brought her closer to Christ. She prayed and trusted that God would carry her through those hard times so that she would be stronger and able to achieve incredible goals, which she indeed did do.

Mother Angelica founded a religious order in addition to the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN). She began the network in 1981 with a $200 investment. She never doubted her venture’s success because she believed God assigned the mission to her. EWTN currently transmits programs 24 hours a day to more than 264 million homes in 144 countries. Nearly 400 employees participate in broadcasting  terrestrial and shortwave radio around the world, operate a religious goods catalog and publish the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency, among other publishing ventures.

Mother Angelica suffered a stroke in 2001. She passed away on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016. She was 92 years old. Her legacy continues through her powerful media evangelization and her example of faith and following Providential guidance.

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When God is Silent


Believing in God is easy when life is going smoothly. But what about when communication is only one way. We ask, beg, plead for help. We hear nothing. The God we are devoted to feels absent.

That is the fictional story of Silence by Shusaku Endo. The tale begins with Father Sebastian Rodrigues, a Portuguese missionary priest, who plans to journey to Japan in the mid-1600s. Since childhood, Father Rodrigues loved Jesus and meditated upon his face and the reassurance of how Jesus suffered for our souls. His dream was to bring this love to Japanese Christians and encourage them through the sacraments and Scripture.

Rodrigues was aware of the physical risks in which this venture into volatile Japan could result.What he had not anticipated was how deeply his faith would be tested.

Silence is based on an actual time in Japan’s history when there were nearly 300,000 Christians in a population of 20 million. For reasons not well-understood, one of the country’s unifiers, a samurai named Hideyoshi, suddenly ordered all missionaries to leave the country. This law was not enforced until ten years later when Hideyoshi’s anger brewed again and executed a group of Christian missionaries.From then on, Christians were hunted down and persecuted.

A desperate underground missionary effort ensued as well as a reign of terror. Christians were to apostatize by trampling on fumie, crude carvings of Christ. If they did not, they were brutalized until they submitted or were killed.

The captivating novel of Silence is one you won’t want to put down. It’s well-written and suspenseful with multi-layered points to consider. For those of us who know little of this time in history, we are introduced to the poverty, deprivations, and suffering of the Japanese Christians. We can’t help but ponder the question of ,under such circumstances, how long could we defend our faith or trust our God who seemingly abandoned us?

Silence is available from ACTA Publications. Paperback, 240 pages, $16.

The motion picture, Silence, based on Shusaku Endo’s classic novel is in production and expected to be completed later this year. Directed by Martin Scorsese, stars include Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver.




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The Missionary Spirit


What if you were asked to leave your friends, family, and country behind to spread the Word in a foreign land? You don’t know the language or customs, you’d be left in the wilderness with a small group of companions, and can bring little to no belongings. Could you do it?

When the French-born Saint Theodora, also known as Mother Theodore Guerin, was asked to lead a mission to found Catholic elementary schools, a school for the higher education of women, and a community of women religious in the United States, she hesitated. She didn’t feel capable at 42 years of age and in ill health. After meditating upon the request, she believed God wanted her to accept the challenge, and she knew then that she didn’t have to worry about anything. God would care for all her needs.

Saint Theodora and five other sisters journeyed to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana over 102 grueling travel days across France, the Atlantic Ocean, and the American wilderness in heavy black habits. They ventured by boats, ships, stage coaches, and wagons through turbulent waters, high winds, storms, and muddy unpaved roads. When the group arrived at their destination on October 22, 1840, they found dense woods with a small cabin used as the rectory and church and a home owned by another family in which they were to live.

The challenges were great. But in spite of separation from family, friends, and her native France; financial and emotional abandonment by her former superior and community; a language barrier which soon was overcome; drastic fluctuations of weather conditions; devastating fires; cholera epidemics; financial instability; the erratic behavior of her bishop; and Saint Theodora’s personal illness which kept her bed-ridden for weeks at a time, great success was attained by her and the sisters.

Saint Theodora fully trusted the Lord to guide and assist her in doing the work God led her to do. Under her leadership, the congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana built schools throughout the Midwest, orphanages, and a free pharmacy that filled a need for care, education, and evangelization. They also founded Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women in the United States, and the religious community of the the Sisters of Providence, both of which continue today.

Perhaps God is asking you to spread the Word as well. Few of us must sacrifice as greatly as Saint Theodora. We all don’t have to even leave our homes. This can be done in our own families, communities, or country through word or deed. We can show the love of the Lord by working in a food pantry, serving in our parish ministries, through words spoken or written, and simply by  living a life following Jesus’ example of accepting, loving, and caring for all people.

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

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Going Gratefully with God

     You work hard, you stay on track, and try to do what’s right, and yet, you don’t get a break. Everything is so hard. Is God listening? Does God know how you struggle?
     Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore was left in the middle of the woods of a foreign country with her companions. She was entrusted with the goals of promoting her faith, founding a congregation of women religious, and building schools for children and young women throughout Indiana and Illinois.The multi-layered task for a small group of women who didn’t know the land, its people, or the language, was daunting.
    Saint Theodora’s level of trust in God is inspiring. In ill health and with little-to-no funding, she more than accomplished her objectives. She never doubted that if her work was Christ-centered, she would accomplish it.
     But this does not mean that her journey was easy. Few, if any saints, had a painless path. Like them, Saint Theodora had setbacks–some of which were major.
     There were fires, food shortages, and difficult superiors.There was public opposition from outsiders. Her position required strenuous physical labor, keen intellect, and courageous decision making.She ended many days battered and bruised emotionally and physically. Plus she had periods of severe illness that left her incapable of doing anything.
  These challenges did not stop Saint Theodora. She didn’t give up. She kept going, living, and loving the people around her.She trusted in God  to guide her through each event as it came along.
     Our journey is not likely to be without difficulties either. There will be mountains and valleys. However, if we are prayerful and trusting as our Saint Theodora, we will see God’s gifts in all things at all times. We will walk gratefully and know that we are never alone.
(Read more about Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore in Seven Principles of Sainthood)
 ©2016, Mary K. Doyle
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The Courage to Trust Your Instincts

“Mother Theodore was proactive. She knew her capabilities and didn’t hesitate to take control of a situation. On her transatlantic voyage in 1843, the captain of the ship became ill after an altercation with a drunken sailor. Mother Theodore quickly approached the captain. She feared that he suffered from “congestion of the brain” and prepared to “bleed him,” a common medical remedy of the time. She felt relieved when he responded immediately after she began the invasive intervention. Anyone else might have hesitated to interfere: the responsibilities and consequences resulting from such an action were a great risk. But Mother Theodore realized it was imperative to assist the captain because of the need for his leadership. Only the captain was qualified to direct the long ocean journey ahead in the most volatile season.”

Excerpt from Seven Principles of Sainthood Following Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

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Strength from Prayer

“What strength the soul draws from prayer! In the midst of a storm, how sweet is the calm it finds in the Heart of Jesus.”

Quote from Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore Guerin’s Journals

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Gifts of the Magi

NativityJanuary 6th is noted throughout the world as the Epiphany, the Feast of the Three Kings. In many countries, the day is considered a holiday. It is the oldest of Christmas feasts and is in remembrance of when the magi found the Christ Child in Bethlehem after following a star.

The kings are said to have brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus, the newborn king. These gifts are symbolic and meaningful.

The rarity and enduring quality of gold represents immortality. In ancient times, it was a gift for a king, signifying their strength and power. In particular, the gift to Jesus recognized him as king of his kingdom, one that cannot be destroyed by earthly powers.

Frankincense, or olibanum, is a plant-derived resin from a desert tree. It was used in the time of Christ for medicinal purposes and also incense in temple rituals. Frankincense was an expensive import since it was not native to Israel. The magi’s highly valued gift of frankincense to Jesus recognized his role as a priest.

In ancient times, myrrh, which also comes from a tree resin, was more valuable than gold because it was only found on the African continent. Myrrh was used as an analgesic and for embalming. The gift foretold Jesus’ future of suffering and death. When Jesus was on the cross, he was offered myrrh with wine. He also was anointed with it after his death.

Egyptians are known to have used the extracts from plants such as these in aromatic treatments, beauty products, food, and religious ceremonies. There are more than 200 references to them in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Essential oils of frankincense and myrrh continue to be valued today. Frankincense is used  by many to treat aging and dry skin, warts, moles, skin tags, age spots, respiratory problems, and jaundice. Resins also are burned during worship in the Catholic Church.

Myrrh currently is thought to support the immune system and aid in healing skin conditions such as athletes’ feet, chapped and cracked skin, eczema, ringworm, wounds, wrinkles, and fungal infections as well as asthma, bronchitis, coughs, gum infections, mouth ulcers, and sore throats. Aromatically, the essential oil is believed to promote spiritual awareness and emotional release.

Essential oils, which have no fatty or oily components, are highly concentrated liquids distilled from flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and the seeds of plants. They are rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and beneficial to health and vitality. One drop of peppermint essential oil in a glass of water is the equivalent of approximately 20 bags of peppermint tea.

Check with your doctor before using essential oils to learn if they are appropriate for you. They are not FDA regulated.

(Thank you to Sue Olmos from Young Living Essential Oils for information on the properties and biblical references of many oils.)

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

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