Many people have noted how fitting it seemed that Mother Angelica passed away on Easter Sunday (2016), the day in which Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection and triumph over death.
As details about her final days emerged, interesting convergences between her life and the liturgical calendar surfaced.
“It was on Good Friday that I heard from one of the caregivers who was helping Mother, as well as one of the sisters. They both said the same thing,” EWTN chaplain and chapel dean Fr. Joseph Wolfe, MFVA, explained of Mother Angelica’s final hours.
“Mother began to cry out early in the morning from the pain that she was having. She had a fracture in her bones because of the length of time she had been bedridden. They said you could hear it down the hallways–that she was crying out on Good Friday from what she was going through. These two people said to me, ‘She has excruciating pain’.”
Fr. Joseph saw a special meaning in her suffering on Good Friday, the day Christians remember Christ’s passion and death on the cross.
“Well, do you know where that word ‘excruciating’ comes from? Ex, from, cruce, from the cross. Excruciating pain.”
But the pain didn’t last all day. “After the 3 o’clock hour arrived on Good Friday she was more calm; she was more peaceful.” (Jesus died on the cross at three o’clock, according to the Bible.)
Holy Saturday was more peaceful, but Fr. Joseph visited her again.
“On Holy Saturday, I also visited. I had this desire in my own heart to thank her for all that we have benefited by her witness and her teaching.”
But early on Easter Sunday, Mother Angelica started to struggle again and Fr. Joseph was called by one of the sisters. When he arrived, he started Last Rites, which is a collection of prayers and sacraments given to those near death.
She was anointed, pardoned, and prayed over. Mass was offered in her room, and she received the Eucharist. Later that afternoon, as it became clear that she would die soon, those around her simply prayed.
“It was in the afternoon that Father Miguel and I went to her bed at the hour of mercy, at three o’clock,” Fr. Joseph explained. “We [and the sisters] had just finished praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. We all continued to pray silently around her bed.”
“Then it was shortly before 5 p.m. that she went to the Father’s house. She breathed her last.”