Mother Angelica Receives Honorary Law Degree from Ave Maria Law

Tue May 18, 2010 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

NAPLES, Florida, May 18, 2010 ( - The Ave Maria School of Law awarded Mother Mary Angelica, foundress of EWTN and beacon of outspoken fidelity to orthodox Catholic teaching, including on the life and family issues, an honorary law degree on Sunday.

In the resolution attending the award at the school's commencement ceremonies, Ave Maria Law President and Dean Eugene R. Milhizer praised Mother Angelica as "a robust advocate for the unborn child" and "an icon in the Catholic media."

Milhizer also lauded the 87-year-old for having "served the Roman Catholic Church with outstanding devotion" and having "been in the vanguard of the renewal of religious life following Vatican II."

As revealed in her biography, penned by EWTN's Raymond Arroyo, Mother Angelica’s life is remarkable for her unwavering dedication to upholding authentic Catholicism, even as left-leaning Catholic bishops fought vigorously to take over the network that now broadcasts uniquely and staunchly pro-life and pro-family Catholic programming around the world.

Born Rita Antoinette Rizzo, Mother Angelica is a Poor Clare Nun of Perpetual Adoration who founded Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama in 1961, before beginning the Eternal Word Television Network in a garage on the monastery property twenty years later. Mother Angelica relocated the Monastery in 1991 to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, where she remains with her burgeoning young community of contemplative nuns.

At a time when the often heterodox "social justice" brand of Catholicism was entering the mainstream, Mother Angelica's hard-headed determination to follow Christ motivated her to pursue a different path.

After learning to her horror that Jesus was portrayed by a woman in a Stations of the Cross play at World Youth Day in 1993, broadcast live on EWTN, Mother Angelica fumed: "Enough is enough. I'm tired of inclusive language that refuses to admit that the Son of God is a man. I'm tired of you, liberal church in America. You're sick."

After that, Mother Angelica revamped her image, and acquired a zeal for traditional Catholicism - attracting scorn even from Catholic sources, such as the National Catholic Reporter, which criticized the nun's approach as lacking in intellectual sophistication. Yet Mother Angelica's charm, wit and profound wisdom on spiritual matters continued to win her admirers around the world.

EWTN, available on television in 140 countries and territories, and over the internet and on the radio around the world, is now famous for putting the deeply pro-life and pro-family teachings of the Catholic church on a pedestal, by featuring prominent conservative figures such as Fr. John Corapi, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of HLI and Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

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