The Way of Beauty
March 04, 2015
Balancing Our Lives: 'The Great Game'
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Imagine a painting that depicts a young girl taking one step at a time along the top of a fence.  Titling her arms now to the right, now to the left, she tries to maintain her balance to the very end.  Despite her lithe and willing body, it’s not easy.

Thus far, it’s been a game, but when it comes to balancing time spent with her family, on schoolwork and other activities, the girl must discover the meaning of the word while she lives her life.  As an adult, she will discover what...

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February 25, 2015
Praying with the Psalms during Lent
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Psalms are a masterpiece of prayer, a treasury for prayer.  King David is considered their chief author, but this lyric poetry of rare beauty was written over a period of 700 years. 

Intended for both personal and communal use, the Psalms are used not only at Mass but also at the Liturgy of the Hours. The 150 Psalms are prayed over the course of one week during the five Hours of the day:  Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Day Time Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer.

The Psalms...

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February 19, 2015
Coptic Christians and the White House
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Pope Francis has called them martyrs, the twenty-one Coptic Christians executed in Libya.  “Jesus, help me,” were the last words of one of the Egyptian migrant workers, all of whom were trying to eke out a living for their families.  This mass butchery was carried out by Isis describing its victims as “crusaders.” In the act, Islamists cursed the cross.  Rome would be their next target. So they warned.

The White House described the slaughtered victims simply as Egyptian...

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February 18, 2015
'The Picture of Dorian Gray:' A Parable for Lent
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Lenten spring has come as planting and dying give way to rising and harvest.  If we have been buried with Christ, we shall rise with him (Rom 6:4; Col 2:12). The power of Lord’s death and Resurrection makes us new creations. 

Lent is that time in the liturgical year when Christians journey together, as the Body of Christ, toward Calvary and the empty tomb.  It is as individuals however that we take stock of our relationship with God and with others probing it earnestly and...

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February 11, 2015
Lourdes and beyond
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The town of Lourdes in southwestern France is one of the world’s most frequently-visited pilgrimage sites. Its tourist industry has fared well.  Every year, about five million people, of great or little faith, or of no faith, visit Lourdes.  Their reasons are varied.  Most seek physical healing, inner peace, conversion of heart, and if not for religious motives, then out of curiosity about the pilgrims who do make the arduous trek to the town nestled at the base of the Pyrenees...

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February 06, 2015
The Beauty of Catholic Education Part V: Teaching Troubled Children
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

It is a little-known fact that Beethoven came from a dysfunctional family.  Even music historians skim over this fact to focus their attention on the many aspects of the composer’s musical genius.  Nonetheless, family life placed undue burdens on the young man with a large, illustrious, and consequential future ahead of him.    

Beethoven’s father Johann was a musician and a member of the electoral chapel choir until 1789 when he was dismissed from his position, presumably because of...

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February 04, 2015
Boys and Girls Town and the Cristo Rey Schools
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Catholic education begins with the early Church which took Jesus as its exemplar.  Not only was he a rabbi, a person of the book and the beneficiary of Jewish study and scholarship but also the divine teacher, “the truth,” and “the wisdom of God” (Jn 14:7; 1 Cor 1:24; Matt 28:19-20). He gave the disciples the mandate “to go and teach all nations.” Here the Church exercises its divine mandate and mission “which entitles it to precedence over all other agencies regarding final...

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January 28, 2015
A man of frugal speech
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

He is honored as a Doctor of the Church, the Angelic Doctor, the Church’s “very own theologian and philosopher,” and patron of Catholic schools and universities.

Today is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, Dominican friar, priest, philosopher, and theologian.  He died in 1274 when he was not quite fifty, leaving his unfinished magnum opus, the Summa Theologiae.  Down through the centuries, college students and scholars alike have poured over this masterpiece of clarity, line by...

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January 21, 2015
From Paul's Desert to His Garden of Wonder and Delight
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Several years ago, I went to see Philip Gröning’s movie, “Into Great Silence,” chronicling the life of Carthusian monks, the most austere religious order in the Catholic Church.   It is a silent film without music or commentary, long but riveting. It shows the monks, who live in almost total silence, at prayer, tasks, rituals, and weekly outdoor excursions. Following the spirit of their founder St. Bruno (11th c) into the “Desert of Chartreuse” near Grenoble, France, they have...

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January 14, 2015
Study and Beauty in the Family and Consecrated Life: Part II
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Catholic Church has a long, deep, and abiding respect for the habits of the minds and for the pursuit of beauty.  One could say that the Church’s vocation is to show the world that faith and reason are inseparable friends and that beauty is a stepping stone to God.
 
The Catholic family is ‘the domestic church,’ where a love of learning is fostered and where beauty is lived from day to day. Children learn from exposure to learning and beauty. If their parents read, most likely, they...

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