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The spiritual side of the late Maya Angelou

Published: Monday, June 2 2014 8:55 p.m. MDT

Maya Angelou, a renowned poet, author and civil rights activist who died at age 86 on Wednesday, was a woman of faith.

Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

Maya Angelou, a renowned poet, author and civil rights activist who died at age 86 on Wednesday, was a woman of faith, according to Morgan Lee at The Christian Post.

Angelou described how reading the line "God loves me" multiple times positively impacted her in a 2013 interview with Oprah, the Post reported.

"It still humbles me that this force that makes leaves and fleas and stars and rivers and you, loves me. Me, Maya Angelou," she said in the interview. "It's amazing. I can do anything. And do it well. Any good thing, I can do it. That's why I am who I am, yes, because God loves me and I'm amazed at it. I'm grateful for it."

Angelou explained how her faith gave her courage to pursue opportunities in a 2013 article by Chelsea Brasted at the Times-Picayune.

"When I found that I knew not only that there was God but that I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous," Angelou said in an interview with the Times.

She added courage is the most important virtue young people can develop because if they are not brave, people will "shame (them) out" of practicing other virtues and treating people equally, reported the Times.

"But if you have courage, you say 'well, yes, I'm a human being and nothing human can be alien to me,’ ” Angelou said. "So I will see human beings and I believe … they were made by God and I'm not in a position to put them down because they look different from me."

Angelou was open about her faith and Christianity, but that didn't stop her from writing about actions she took that most consider wrong. For example, she experimented with drugs and was a madam for prostitutes, according to a 1995 interview with The Teen Talking Circle Project.

Angelou explained people must confront their bad actions so they can forgive themselves.

"As soon as you admit it, you can be like the prodigal son, the prodigal daughter. Get up and go home — wherever home is. Get up and go to a safe place. … But you can’t get up unless you see where you are and admit it," Angelou said.

Email: kpolatis@deseretnews.com

Twitter: KandraPolatis

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