Raymond Arroyo’s riveting biography of Mother Angelica has vivid accounts of Mother’s all-time favourite devotion: praying to the Divine Infant. Her personal room in Alabama is reportedly full of statues of Baby Jesus and models of the Christ Child.
In 2000, when Mother Angelica was gearing up for a Vatican investigation of her cloistered order, she ordered a statue of the Divine Child seated in a chair. The day before the Visitation was to begin, Arroyo’s biography quotes Mother as saying to a statue of the Divine Infant: “You’re going to fix this, aren’t You?”
Mother Angelica put the future of her order into the hands of the Christ Child just as the Vatican investigator Archbishop Gonzalez was about to arrive. His excellency was tasked with investigating the life at the monastery with Mother Angelica as abbess, which included reviewing the liturgy, whether the nuns were properly cloistered and the interplay between the diocesan bishop and the sisters.
Some years before the Visitation, in 1996 Mother Angelica had an encounter with the Christ Child when she was touring South America to promote the Spanish version of EWTN. When in Bogotá, Mother was taken to a shine dedicated to the Divine Infant who had his arms outstretched and wore a pink robe.
As she was praying before the statue of the Christ Child, tears streamed down her face and she recalled later that He turned to her and said: “Build me a temple and I will help those who help you.” There is a much fuller account of Mother’s vision of the Christ Child in Raymond Arroyo’s splendid biography (which I heartily exhort everyone to read).
At first, Mother was a little confused because she didn’t know what a temple was and work had already begun on her new monastery in Hanceville, six months before her Bogotá trip. The message from the Christ Child did motivate her to change her plans for the new monastery, from making it a “simple farm chapel” to deciding it ought be a grand shrine to the Blessed Sacrament, that would give due homage to the majesty of the Divine Infant who had personally given her an instruction to have a temple made in his honour.
When Mother Angelica commissioned a statue of the Divine Infant for her monastery in Hanceville, Alabama, Mother was hoping to influence women in crisis pregnancies. The pristine white statue has the Child Jesus cupping his heart in his palm. Mother Angelica was eager that women who were considering abortion would see the Most Precious Divine Infant offering them His heart and it would stir them to the point where they would decide against killing their infant.
Sombre news broke this Monday that Mother Angelica’s health is delicate. According to her order’s website, Mother’s heart was gladdened by the promise of prayers for so many people around the world who hold her in high esteem. Given Mother Angelica’s long history of placing her faith in Baby Jesus, I suggest that it would lift Mother’s spirits if we pray to the Divine Infant for her.
In the interests of giving a gift of joy to Mother Angelica and in winning heavenly intercession for her, why don’t as many of us as possible invoke the intercession of Baby Jesus for her?
Mother Angelica has received miraculous cures before. St Thérèse of Lisieux, often known as the Little Flower, is credited with winning a cure for Mother Angelica when she was a young woman whose crippling health conditions would have kept her from pursuing her vocation. Part of St Thérèse’s full title is “St Thérèse of the Child Jesus”, and had it not been for this French nun’s intercession, we may not have ever known Mother Angelica.
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