EWTN founder Mother Angelica in declining health

Posted at 10:23 PM, Dec 01, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Mother Mary Angelica, the Roman Catholic nun who started a religious broadcasting empire based in Alabama, is in declining health, according to her ministries.

Eternal Word Television Network, which the nun known as "Mother Angelica" founded, and her fellow nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery north of Birmingham issued statements saying the 92-year-old Ohio native had been fitted with a feeding tube because of her worsening condition.

"The good part is that she now receives the necessary nutrients she needs," said the statement. "There were some up and down moments, and Mother has suffered a great deal these past months."

The network described her condition as stable on Thursday.

Mother Angelica suffered a debilitating cerebral hemorrhage in December 2001, and she has had a series of less-severe strokes in the years since. While she hasn't appeared live on Eternal Word Television Network in years, reruns of her old "Mother Angelica Live" shows remain a programming staple.

Born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio, Mother Angelica entered a monastery in Cleveland at age 21 and joined other nuns at a new monastery in Alabama in 1962.

With only $200 in startup money, the nun began broadcasting a religious TV show from the monastery garage in 1981. That grew into Eternal Word Television Network, a worldwide TV, radio and publishing operation.

Today, EWTN Global Catholic Network calls itself the world's largest religious media network with television, radio, online and publishing arms. Its TV programming is available to almost 260 million households in 145 nations and territories.