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The Way of Beauty
February 12, 2014
The Olympic Games
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

You may be surprised to read that the Olympiads began in the Far East dating from 776 BC.  The game of organized sports is credited to Buddhist monks in China. Jujitsu, boxing, and wrestling developed with them. Ball games, jumping, acrobatics, weight lifting, hoop rolling, and bull fighting were cultivated in Persia and India, throughout Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt, and Rome.

The Games Move West

Greek schools incorporated physical training in a systematic way, and the veneration of...

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February 05, 2014
Lombardi’s Trophy
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Last week, the Super Bowl; tomorrow, the Winter Olympics.  Last week, the Lombardi Trophy; soon the Gold.  Always, running the race.

The Trophy Is Conceived at Fordham University

In his biography, When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss details Vince Lombardi’s family life to his football days.  Raised in a devout, Catholic Italian family, Lombardi drew his strength on the field from attending daily Mass, a practice begun in his youth. At Fordham University in the 1930's, Lombardi...

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January 29, 2014
We, the Gifted: A Case Study
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Each of us is a unique person, willed into this world to fulfill a mission, one that is entirely ours.  The life of Mozart, whose commemoration has just passed, affords many insights into the mystery of the human person.

“Amadeus:” a Parable of Inequality

There will never be another Mozart.  Like a comet, he streaked across the horizon all too briefly and then burned himself out.  He had neither predecessors nor followers.   His gift has brought happiness to the world...

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January 22, 2014
Who Am I?
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

A recent article in the science section of the NY Times reveals the mystery of the human person.  The opening sentence of James Gorman’s “A Search for Self in a Brain Scan,” begins with: “I knew I wouldn’t find myself in a brain scan” (Jan 6, 2014).  The inscrutable question, who am I, remains a constant, even if it is lodged deep within the psyche.

From the Paleolithic period (15,000 B.C.), human beings have explored their relationships with others and from one culture to...

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January 15, 2014
Pearls
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The creation of a pearl is one of Mother Nature’s miracles and one of her prized secrets.  Unlike other gems which are mined, pearls are made by live oysters (mollusks) far below the surface of the sea.  Pearls are rare, beautiful, valuable, and purchased at a high price.

The life of a pearl begins as a grain of sand or external irritant which pierces an oyster’s shell and lodges itself within.  It cannot be expelled. The oyster protects itself from the irritant by secreting...

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January 08, 2014
'To Shine in Use'
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The month of January is named after the Roman god, Janus, who presides over beginnings, transitions, and ends.  Janus wears two faces, the one looking back and the other, forward.  2013 is no longer within reach except through our memories and through history; the future is a blank canvas on which our stories must yet be inscribed.  We seek happiness, succinctly described by Aristotle: Happiness is the full use of one’s faculties in the pursuit of excellence.  The Book of Proverbs...

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December 18, 2013
Beautiful Christmas music
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

With the arrival of Gaudete Sunday, the Church’s liturgy now focuses with intense eagerness on Christmas Day itself.  The readings cannot contain themselves, such is their exuberant joy. Down through the centuries, the Advent-Christmas narratives have been told and re-told, yet we never tire of them.  Why not?  First, because the story is open-ended with its message of Emmanuel, God-with-us. The ancient narrative always inspires, always elevates; it again prompts us to live in God’s...

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December 11, 2013
Beauty – the Church’s Greatest Power
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In this month’s issue of First Things, Dana Gioia’s superb article, “The Catholic Writer Today,” sums up the diminished state of the fine arts in the American Catholic Church. While the Church registers the largest religious and cultural group in the country, Gioia writes that, paradoxically we “currently enjoy almost no positive presence in the American fine arts—not in literature, music, sculpture, or painting.” 

Dana Gioia is well known to the literary world.  A poet...

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December 04, 2013
Advent beauty
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

There is no time quite like Advent. This liturgical season is rich in symbol and exalted in sacred poetry and music. Advent signals “a new journey of the People of God with Jesus, our Shepherd, who guides us through history toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Through Advent, we experience a profound sense of the meaning of history” (Pope Francis, Homily, First Sunday of Advent). 

The period from December 1st to December 16th recalls Christ’s historic coming at the...

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November 27, 2013
You can never say thank-you enough
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

On the eve of Thanksgiving Day and the season of Advent, a few thoughts ...

The Jews Say ‘Blessing’ and ‘Thank You.

The Jews learned from their Exodus experience that they could never thank God enough for their deliverance. The Passover meal, celebrated in a hurry, was filled with praise and thanksgiving for the wonders God did in rescuing them from slavery in Egypt.  The Jews pray psalms of blessing and thanksgiving every day, but in the Passover banquet, these psalms held a...

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April 25, 2014

Friday within the Octave of Easter

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