In Loving Memory of Mother Angelica

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I had a long friendship with Mother Angelica, the legendary foundress of EWTN Global Catholic Network, who passed away on March 27th of this year. Saint Luke Productions got its start in 1980, the following year in 1981 she launched her television network, and through the years I had many inspiring encounters with this amazing nun.

Although she interviewed me a couple times on Mother Angelica Live, my most moving experiences occurred after she had retired from the public eye to her cloistered, hidden life as a Poor Clare nun in the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels in Hanceville, AL.

In 2005, I had the honor of screening our feature film Thérèse inside the privacy of the cloister for Mother Angelica and her community of around 40 nuns. At the end of the film, when Saint Thérèse was dying, I looked over and saw tears streaming down Mother's face. When I knelt before her wheelchair afterwards, she thanked me, and told me she knew what I had gone through - how hard it had been to produce this movie. She too, had lived a life of complete trust in God in order to do the impossible.

A few years later, in 2008, I performed Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz live for Mother Angelica and her community. This private performance took place in the monastery speak room, where an iron grill separates the nuns from the outside world. Mother was infirm by then, and unable to speak. Yet there she sat in the front row on the other side of the grill, with only 6 feet between us, as I acted the role of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. What an intimate, profound encounter for both of us! The Holy Spirit was in our midst.

Mother Angelica was an inspiration to me. Her humble leadership of EWTN taught me a lot about having the courage to take on the entertainment industry to evangelize. More than anything, her prayerfulness and trust were an example to me. May she rest in peace, and may EWTN continue to spread the Gospel to all nations.

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