The Way of Beauty
May 20, 2015
Untying Knots
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Most of us love television mysteries. We follow our sleuth in detecting clues that will ultimately loosen the knots and solve the mystery.  Whether it’s Agatha Christie with Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Jessica Fletcher, or Columbo, Sherlock Holmes, Inspectors Lewis and Foyle, or Father Brown, they delight us with their unique approaches to solving mysteries. 

Greek and Roman Drama

In Greek tragedy, like Superman, the gods insert themselves into a knotted problem—it may deal with a...

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May 13, 2015
Celebrating Our Lady of Chartres
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

While the story of Fatima is well-known, that of Chartres still needs to be told.

In the 1940s, a French monk and a star-gazer made a curious discovery. He observed that in certain cities, the churches dedicated to Our Lady were strategically located in such a way as to outline the constellation Virgo.

Now Virgo is the second largest cluster of stars that form the outline of a woman carrying two sheaves of wheat.  Virgo’s brightest star, Spica, is bluish-white, traditionally Our Lady’s...

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May 05, 2015
Mothers of the Bible
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Mother’s Day has been celebrated throughout the world since the time of Ancient Greece.  Most countries designate the second Sunday in May to recognize mothers in a special way.   The Bible records the names of strong, courageous women—wives and mothers—who contributed mightily to the plan of salvation, and we call attention to those women in this essay.

Mothers of the Old Testament

Eve is the name we give to the mother of humankind.  She is followed by the saintly Sarah, Rebekah,...

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April 29, 2015
The Revolving Door
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

A few months ago, Jimmy Fallon, the late-night host at NBC, was reminiscing with his guest, Bill O’Reilly, about their common experience serving as altar boys at the Latin Mass.  Gleefully, they rattled off the prayers proud of their sure memories.  The host then asked his guest if he was still a practicing Catholic. Yes, Mr. O’Reilly nodded.  Then, eager to react, Mr. Fallon countered in his careless diction and in poor taste: “I don’t practice anymore.”

While many walk out or...

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April 22, 2015
'They did not believe'
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Gospels record at least seven instances of disbelief in the Lord’s Resurrection.  The words were spoken not by outsiders but by the disciples themselves.  They didn’t believe the women who, on returning from the empty tomb, couldn’t wait to announce the good news to them. Idle chatter they called it. 

On finding only linen cloths at the tomb, Peter went home wondering at what happened to the body.  The two disciples at Emmaus had just about given up on the Lord’s promise...

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April 15, 2015
Händel’s “Messiah” at Easter Time
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

At Christmas time, millions around the world enjoy George Friedrich Händel’s “Messiah.” Apart from carols, it ranks among the season’s most popular music.  In addition to the Advent-Christmas section, there are two other parts, the Passion of the Suffering Servant (Part Two), and the Resurrection (Part Three). Unless these two parts are also sung at Christmas time, they are otherwise infrequently performed.  In this Easter season, Part Three deserves more than a comment and...

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April 08, 2015
Putting on Christ
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Etched in film memory of the 1940s is the scene in “Easter Parade” featuring Irving Berlin’s “In Your Easter Bonnet.” Wearing their new Easter outfits are the stars of the movie, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. With others, they strut along Fifth Avenue singing the famous song. Even pet dogs, decked out in canine finery, prance along the Avenue with their owners.

In many cultures, Easter marks the time for special foods. Easter breads in different shapes and sizes are...

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April 01, 2015
'My Son, with you I am well pleased, so well pleased.'
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Hebrew Scriptures record more than fifty prophecies concerning the passion and death of the expected Messiah. The theme of the Suffering Servant, despised, rejected, and abandoned, anticipates his sufferings.  Amazingly, a few veiled references to the resurrection are found among them. The parallels between the Old and New Testaments offer the singular and compelling case that Jesus, and no other historical figure, fulfilled these prophecies. The most explicit of them are found in...

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March 25, 2015
Annunciations of Suffering
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

When Jesus began his ministry, he chose to make us men and women his cherished followers.  Wanting us to be his companions, he expressed it in the words, “I call you friends, for I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father” (Jn 15:15).  In calling us in to his friendship, Jesus wanted us to share his divine life.  This raising up to a godlike stature is best expressed by the Psalmist:  “You have made them a little lower than gods” (Ps 8:5). 

The Eastern...

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March 18, 2015
Go to Joseph
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

St. Joseph’s role in salvation history celebrates the mystery of God’s dealing with a special man and his special vocation.  A unique grace was offered him, and he accepted God’s gracious gift.  It was entirely possible for him to turn away from it or reject. If, down through the ages, the beauty of Mary’s annunciation has inspired poetry, art, and music, the annunciation of Joseph merits similar artistry, for he stands with her, joint guardians of the Word-made-flesh.

Setting the...

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