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The Way of Beauty
June 25, 2014
Sacred Ground
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States is found throughout Upstate New York and northward to the St. Lawrence Seaway into Canada.  Two pilgrimage shrines are located in this region.

The bucolic hamlets of Auriesville, New York and Midland, Ontario celebrate the lives of the North American Martyrs, six French Jesuit priests and two assistants or donnés. There they ministered to the Iroquois confederacy of five nation-tribes. With the growing number of Indian converts,...

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June 18, 2014
Vacation as Pilgrimage?
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Today, more and more people are using vacation time to go on a pilgrimage.   A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred site or shrine.  Reasons for doing so vary.  Pilgrimages may be done for physical healing or spiritual healing thus effecting a person’s inner transformation.   A pilgrimage is not a retreat.  One does not go into solitude for a few days to pray and to reflect on one’s life in silence.  Pilgrimages are often made in groups where there is interchange and sharing about...

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June 11, 2014
A tribute to fathers and to the Triune God
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

This year, Father’s Day and the feast of the Most Holy Trinity fall on the same day.  First, some thoughts on Father’s Day.

‘The father-child relation is irreplaceable.’ Every day of his life, President Obama lives with this reality, for he grew up without his father’s presence and without his father’s love. Recently in Chicago, he lamented that “in entire neighborhoods like Hyde Park, young boys and teenage boys don’t see an example of fathers or grandfathers who are in a...

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June 04, 2014
The Gift of a Lifetime
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In the court of justice, lawyers mediate, advocate, and plead for their clients.  They stand with and for them.  An advocate is one who is called to help someone in need of counsel.  They help them make wise decisions.   In Italian, the word for lawyer is avvocato.  The Greek word parakletos is a legal term signifying advocate, helper, and mediator. 

When Jesus told the Twelve at the Last Supper: “I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever,” he...

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May 28, 2014
Reflections on Catholic education
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In the 1986 film, “Hannah’s Sisters,” Woody Allen, its producer and director, also plays the role of Mickey who bemoans his fragmented life.  He has had his fill of breakdown. Negation, no more! Thinking that the Catholic Church will bring meaning to his life, Mickey visits a priest who asks “Why do you want to become a Catholic?”  “It’s such a beautiful religion, it’s such a strong religion, and it’s so well structured,” replies Mickey in his Brooklyn twang....

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May 21, 2014
One day, two celebrations
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Next Monday, Americans celebrate Memorial Day, and the Church celebrates the feast of St. Philip Neri.   One event is secular, the other Catholic.  A word about each.

On Memorial Day, a civil holiday with no link to any religious sect or viewpoint, we Americans pause to remember our war heroes.  The day is marked by secular and patriotic rituals—displaying the America flag, and waving it, playing taps, gun salutes, parades, singing patriotic songs, and encomia offered by civil...

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May 14, 2014
Save Our Children!
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

During the World War II era, it was not uncommon to hear in the movies: “life is cheap.”  Nothing much has changed with news of young women having been kidnapped in Nigeria by the extreme Islamist group, Boko Haram. The same atrocity has happened in Northern Uganda.  But, to first Nigeria.

Fear of Western Education and of Christianity


Recent reports emerging from Nigeria are nothing short of chilling. They tell of some 300 hundred girls who have been abducted en masse from a boarding...

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May 07, 2014
Power, authority, and motherhood
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Natural History Museum in Vienna houses ancient statuettes of women dating from circa 15,000-10,000 BC, the Upper Paleolithic period.  Among these are figures of Venus, the Roman parallel of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.  These miniatures have no facial features but are shown with their sexual characteristics emphasized or enlarged. As the source of birth and life, the mother is a power, a life force that supersedes the male power of the hunt.  Mystified by this...

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April 30, 2014
The other poor
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Some people write about the poor. Others speak about them.  Still others like Pope Francis have worked among the poor.  His witness of mercy and compassion speaks volumes. And the world has taken notice.
Other forms of poverty are more subtle.

Poverty of the Mind

Today, many educators worry that ‘our greatest problem is the poverty of the mind. Our whole educational system is failing in training the mind that seeks truth.  Empty minds cannot generate wisdom.  If we do not educate the...

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April 23, 2014
Emmaus: Don't go. Stay with us.
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

What could Jesus have been up to walking along the road to Emmaus with Cleopas and his friend?  He heard them venting sadness, not to mention bewilderment, at all the recent events.  ‘Why are you so excited,’ Jesus injected?

‘It’s the breaking news,’ they blurted out, ‘where have you been for the past few days? Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard the buzz about an empty tomb?  Everyone’s talking about it! How could you have missed the news,’ they...

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January 29, 2015

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