Mother Angelica was the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network, located in Irondale, and founder of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville. Born Rita Antoinette Rizzo in Ohio, she joined the Poor Clares order of nuns and was inspired by the early civil rights movement to establish a religious community for southern African Americans. She established a Franciscan order in Birmingham where she initiated a successful series of parlor talks that led to a regular Sunday-morning radio broadcast called Journey into Scripture. In 1981 Mother Angelica spearheaded a movement to form the non-profit Eternal Word Television Network. EWTN brought Mother Angelica to a global audience as the host of the highly successful television program Mother Angelica Live. She also served as chair and CEO of the network. Mother Angelica died on March 27, 2016 and is buried in a crypt in the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

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Encyclopedia of Alabama