Mother Angelica always said she would live a long life and on April 20th she will celebrate her 90th birthday. For the past eleven years she has suffered from the effects of her stroke and brain surgery and for five years she has been bed-ridden. This may not seem like a miracle but some doctors would say it comes pretty close. Very few people have survived what Mother did and one doctor said “It is God who is keeping her alive.” A miracle? I would say yes.
Mother once told me that she never asked for suffering but if God sent it she would not refuse it. For those of us who take care of her it is obvious that she has not refused the suffering of these past eleven years but has embraced it as Our Lord embraced His cross. Mother’s suffering is a share in the Passion of Jesus.
Mother Angelica has always had a great deal of suffering and pain in her life but it never made her bitter or resentful. She knew God had a purpose for it and she accepted it as a blessing. In fact our life with Mother Angelica was always one of great joy, of laughter, camaraderie, prayerfulness, and the great peace that comes with accepting and embracing God’s will in good times and bad times.
Mother’s great faith and courage throughout the years shored up our weak wills. Her Motherliness assured us that we were loved and needed. Her Scripture lessons gave us food for each day’s journey in the spiritual life. The spiritual direction she encouraged us on the road to holiness and union with God. As a good Mother she provided for all our needs, spiritual and material.
During these last years I have seen Mother’s expression taking on the look of the calm, suffering Image on the Shroud of Turin. More often she has the peaceful, serene look of the Child of Bethlehem asleep in His Mother’s arms – mute – like both the Child and the Crucified One, but like Our Lord ever alive and communicating to a a message of love for Jesus and His most Holy Will by the acceptance of her own suffering in union with His.
Sr. Mary Michael, PCPA