The feast of the Divino Niño, or the Divine Child Jesus is on July 20. Mother Angelica reported visions of the Child Jesus calling her to build the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Here's the amazing story:
While most people know Mother Angelica is the foundress of EWTN and a spunky television personality, fewer people know about her mystical experiences.
In 1995, Mother Angelica went to South America with a few nuns to garner support for a Spanish version of EWTN.
One stop was at the Sanctuary of the Divine Infant Jesus in Bogotá, Colombia. After Mass, they prayed in a small side chapel before the Infant Jesus' image.
Suddenly, while she was silently standing and praying, the image came alive!
“Build me a temple,” the smiling child Jesus said to her, “and I will help those who help you.”
The two nuns with her heard and saw nothing, but Mother Angelica fell into a state of deep religious ecstasy. When she finally came out of it, she burst into tears, and later said her “heart was beating 100 miles per hour.”
According to Raymond Arroyo's book, "Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles," the nuns discovered a piece of land just north of the convent. They purchased this land prior to Mother Angelica's visit to Bogotá.
However, as soon as she set foot on it, Mother Angelica knew it was the right place, later saying she “felt the presence of God very strongly.”
Mother Angelica and the nuns believe this encounter "crystallized Mother's vision for the Hanceville monastery, radically altering the original plans." (p. 256)
Without any money from EWTN, entirely as a project of the convent at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, the building commenced and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament opened just in time for the year 2000 jubilee!
But her mystical visions did not end there.
In Alabama, the Child Jesus continued appearing to her regularly, even in the hallways of her convent. They had short conversations here and there.
Of course, mystical visions were not the basis for her greatness as a holy woman, but rather her faithfulness to God. This is something all of us, by the grace of God, can do, too.