Ovejero and Mother Angelica Model ‘Feminine Genius’

By Kathryn Jean Lopez Published on July 17, 2016

ROME — Did you hear about the new deputy in the Vatican press office? Along with the news that an American was soon to take over the office — former Fox News correspondent Greg Burke, no less — came a mini-media frenzy over another first: A woman, Spanish journalist Paloma Garcia Ovejero, is now a leading face of Vatican communications.

And Ovejero quickly demonstrated why she got the gig. Rather than make the story about her, she displayed what Pope John Paul II referred to as “feminine genius.” She gracefully, masterfully, pointed right to the message that her work proclaims: that of Jesus Christ.

The New York University alum wasn’t giving in to worldly standards about success and what makes for good news.

I couldn’t help but think of the current presidential race and how silly it is to pretend that Hillary Clinton is a first to be excited about. And then there is the assumption that I keep encountering among people of religious faith that somehow Donald Trump is entitled to their vote simply because he isn’t her.

It all begs the question of what faith is and what more can be done to practice it in such a way that we can transform people and circumstances instead of bickering over bad choices.

In the new book “Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence,” Raymond Arroyo writes about the founder of an international Catholic network that surpassed any and all expectations, if there even were any expectations for a television network started by a cloistered nun with no experience in the media business. In joining a convent at a young age and then building a Catholic media empire from the ground up in the woods of Alabama, Mother Angelica acted on her faith “in such a way that the fruits of her efforts became manifest to all. Hers was a gutsy faith,” Arroyo writes.

Mother Angelica died this past Easter, and so we can’t ask her to weigh in on current events — terrorism, urban violence and the presidential election, to name a few. But her reliance on God could suggest a way forward to anyone who is tempted to despair on any of these fronts.

Arroyo quotes her: “God’s providence disposes and directs everything for His honor and glory, and for the good of my soul … His providence surrounds me like a cloak. I neither live nor move without it. He keeps the entire universe in order, and still finds time to take a personal interest in you and me.”

“Mother Angelica’s love of God was never a private affair or an intellectual exercise, but a lifelong activity to be practiced in public,” Arroyo writes. Many call Mother Angelica a “saint,” and Arroyo takes that to mean she strove for holiness throughout her entire life, exemplifying virtues “to the extreme” and taking “mad risks for God.” She had a “deep trust in God’s providential care,” which was “the source of her hope and confidence.” This, Arroyo says, “explains why she was untroubled by the things she lacked or the actions of others. Her hope in God gave her fortitude.” In her example, this blend of perfect faith and humble charity, we see the possibility for renewal.

Briefly visiting the Vatican press office this week, I couldn’t help but notice the fresh air there — perhaps not the first thing you’d think of encountering in and around the Eternal City, never mind some of its centuries’ old bureaucracies. But there’s a real belief there in God providing ways out of our current suicidal tendencies.

It’s in gratitude and with a watchful eye and ear to the gifts we are blessed with in the midst of everything else that could be our starting point for renewal. It’s an example that might be helpful to keep in mind while watching the conventions and the world at large.


Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online and founding director of Catholic Voices USA. She can be contacted at [email protected].

COPYRIGHT 2016 United Feature Syndicate

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