Jeff Cavins: In Memory of Mother Angelica
by Jeff Cavins
In a quiet apartment in Dayton, OH, I watched EWTN on a daily basis for most of 1994. Should I return to the Catholic Church, or remain a Protestant pastor? Mother Angelica helped to tip the scale toward Rome.
Jeff on the set with Mother Angelica before her live show February 28, 1996
Little did I know that in two years I would be with her on her set, first as a guest, then as her co-host for six years. Those six years at EWTN changed my life and I will forever be grateful for all Mother Angelica has done.
I’m often asked, “what was Mother like?” Let me tell you a little bit about her. Mother Angelica was a woman of prayer and intense devotion to Jesus. She would rather spend a day in the presence of Jesus in a quiet chapel than stand in the limelight. If you have watched Mother on her many shows, you know her, because she was the same on TV as in the halls of EWTN. She was courageous, tenacious and holy. Her insistence on giving Jesus her best was at the center of every decision she made, and her unwavering faith provided a remarkable example to others on how a modern day disciple can live.
I learned much in those six years with Mother. I learned how to trust God under pressure. Many times, when she called and asked me to accompany her on her live show, I would arrive at the studio to prep. With only minutes until we were on the air, I would ask, “what is the theme tonight?” She would respond with a casual, “we will see what the Lord wants.” I was nervous about going into a show with no theme, however, she was calm and confident that all would work out. Sure enough, when we went live, all turned out well.
I learned from Mother that all the glory goes to Jesus. She told me one time that if anyone says anything good about you or praises you, point them to Jesus right away. I saw her do this time after time and I have tried to imitate her in this practice.
One of the highlights was most certainly the day after she was healed in her office. For over forty years she was in a body brace and used leg braces, the result of an accident back in Ohio. On January 28, 1998 she was completely healed as a result of praying with a woman after her Wednesday show. The next morning, she called me and asked me to come to the parlor, a place where cloistered nuns meet with family and receive gifts. It was early in the morning and I was anxious to see her after hearing the news the night before. As I entered, all the sisters were standing with her and she spun around like a young teenager. I was speechless.
She asked me if she could come on “Life on the Rock” that evening to tell the world. I said, “Mother, it’s your network, you can do anything you like.” That evening, she told the world what happened and gave glory to God. I don’t think of myself as a dancer, but that evening on live TV, Mother asked me to dance with her. What do you do if you are a layman on live TV and Mother asks you to dance? You dance! And we did!
Today, Mother is dancing with Jesus and enjoying her new home in heaven.
A lesson we can all learn from Mother is that God can do amazing things with the five loaves and two fish that we have. She didn’t have much when it comes to TV experience, but what she had, she gave to Jesus and he did amazing things with it. Every time I hear the story of the feeding of the five thousand, I think of Mother Angelica and the five loaves and two fish that she gave Jesus. If you have been blessed by EWTN, then you have benefited from her gift to the Lord.
To work with this great woman of God is counted as one of the highlights of my life and her generosity became one of the most significant pivotal points in my life. From me and my family, we thank God for you Mother Angelica.