The Way of Beauty
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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January 07, 2015
Charism and Consecrated Life: Part I
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In popular jargon, the word charisma is used to describe a person with dazzling gifts of charm or grace. Charismatic individuals form part of every walk of life—stage, screen, sports, and faith-traditions. 

Charism and the Married Vocation

In the vocation of marriage, a woman wishes to marry a man not for what he earns but for the person he is. She doesn’t fall in love with a career but with a man whose strong identity and values harmonize with hers.  He attracts her through his...

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December 17, 2014
Renaissance and Baroque Christmas Music
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Every year, Händel’s Messiah seems to claim the center stage of Christmas performances. Yet, there are other classic works no less sparkling that repay listening during this season.  Timelessly beautiful, their joy and buoyancy are sure to lift the spirit.

Music of the Renaissance

Christmas music of the Renaissance is sufficiently removed from contemporary sounds that it refreshes the ear and the whole person with its sobriety and restraint.  Any of the following CDs make for a satisfying...

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December 10, 2014
Here Is Your God! He Comes to Save Us!
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In many respects, 2014 has been a dark year.  One tragedy after the other has befallen Americans while our brothers and sisters around the world endure hunger, starvation, persecution and even martyrdom for their beliefs, all unimaginable in America.  

    ‘Where have you been, Lord,’ we ask, ‘where were you this year?’  
    ‘I am with you all days,’ Jesus replies, without hesitation.  
    ‘We’ve already had our winter of our discontent,’ we quip.  
    ‘I give you Advent...

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During the month of December, children of Christian families dream about the gifts they hope to receive on Christmas Day. How would it be otherwise? Ads have inundated—no, they have bombarded parents,grandparents, and guardians, pressing them, coaxing them to splurge on their children! The syndrome of Santa also contributes to the fever-pitch desire for trinkets, many of which will be discarded soon after their excitement has waned.

Christmas may be a time for giving to our children, but...

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December 03, 2014
Francis, This Is Your Mission
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

This was not the plan.  Not the human plan. Xavier, the gifted, debonair hidalgo-turned-Jesuit was destined for great things.  At forty-six years of age, exhausted from serving others, he died on an island off the mainland of China thousands of miles away from his community.

Xavier, the nobleman, who was unused to roughing it, became the greatest itinerant missionary-saint in history, second only to St. Paul of Tarsus.  Such are the strange but wonderful ways of Providence to fulfill the...

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