Sometimes you just don't know what you're going to discover, or where those discoveries may lead you, when you make a mistake.
I saw a commercial for a station showing reruns of the old Quincy series, which I used to love. Now it's pretty simplistic, and downright silly, when compared to CSI or any of the medical examiners on any of the other cop shows, but then it was fresh and new and came on the heels of the O.J. Simpson case, when the country first learned about medical examiners.
Anyway, I decided to watch Quincy today. It was on channel 193. But when I punched in that number, I didn't hit the 3 hard enough and so what popped up on my screen was Channel 19 and there was Mother Angelica.
Looking for all the world like every nun I had in grammar school, from the one who so lovingly took care of me on my first day in kindergarten, to the one who routinely rapped my knuckles with a ruler if I didn't hold my hands properly in my piano lesson.
Was Mother Angelica offering words of God? giving us inspiration for our daily lives? Was she doing Bible readings? No. She was selling rosaries. Beautiful rosaries, she said, with lovely green stones straight from Ireland, they were, and no home should be without them.
Then she went on to hawk a book written in 1954 by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, "a beautiful book," she told us, as the ordering information flashed down one side of the screen.
It was a bloody shopping network for Catholics!
Mother Angelica then introduced us to a two volume set of the Lives of the Saints and encouraged us to buy the set and read to our grandchildren ("instead of just playing ping pong with them.") She also suggested that if you are expecting a baby and don't know what to call it you could get some wonderful saintly names from these beautiful books (embossed with gold and in their own box). She did admit that perhaps "Fructavia" might not be a good name for a baby of today, and laughed that it sounded a little sweet.
The Mother Angelica segment segued into two very nice ladies who had "warrior rosary beads" to sell, and framed pictures of Jesus, and "our father" beads which were made of (I don't remember how many) red gems signifying the number of years Jesus' blood had flowed through his veins... and a bunch of other things. I was losing interest. It was more fun watching Mother Angelica, though I was surprised to see her fully habit-ed, since I didn't think nuns wore habits any more.
When I decided to write about Mother Angelica tonight, I did a search on her and what an interesting article I found. She is now 92 years old and has not been on television since she had a stroke which affected her speech in 2001 (in 1993, the habit I saw today was simplified and the nuns no longer wear it).
But after broadcasting on the Christian Broadcast Network, which she left in a dispute when the station refused to pull what she felt was an offensive movie, she built EWTN, the Eternal World Television Network, which ran, in 1980, out of a garage attached to the convent where she lived. And it is a Catholic television station running the Mass daily. It was home to Bishop Sheen (which explains why she was selling his book), and other Catholic-related programs.
Looking into her life before television, I found that she founded a couple of churches and in 1995 apparently saw several visions, and had several conversations with the child Jesus while doing missionary work in Bogota.
Mother Angelica claimed to have met the child-Jesus in the Basilica of Divino Niño Jesus in Colombia. Mother Angelica stated that she entered the shrine from the back door on crutches with two other religious sisters. She claimed the statue of the child-Jesus became animated and spoke to her. She said He asked her to build a temple in His honor. She claims to have gone into a state of religious ecstasy and afterwards burst into tears which she attributed to her "heart beating 100 miles per hour". On the same episode, two religious statues of the child Jesus from South America were featured on the show while Mother Angelica referred to them endearingly as "babies"
I don't know if she then began selling Colombian statues of the Infant Jesus or not.
I didn't stick around EWTN for long after Mother Angelica disappeared. The women selling the other Catholic stuff were just too sweet and too... perfect... for my tastes, so I punched in 193 again and this time got to see Dr. Quincy solve another case. Much more my speed than Mother Angelica, I suspect!