The Way of Beauty
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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April 16, 2014
Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Who can fathom the events of Holy Week?  For observers of all things Catholic, the liturgies in Holy Week are great theater.  But for Catholics, the liturgies are grace-filled encounters with Jesus Christ as we celebrate and re-live the week of redemptive love.  It’s not a time for analysis as to how and why the events happened but sacred hours for the liturgies to wash over us in awe, silence, and prayer.

Holy Thursday

It is customary for Jews to invite intimate friends to the festive...

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April 09, 2014
Sounding silence
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The March 25th issue of The Wall Street Journal printed an eye-catching article by Jen Murphy entitled, “CEO’S Secret to Decision-Making:  Total Silence.”  To reduce mounting stress and noise, internal and external, Khajak Keledjian, CEO of Intermix, went on a ten-day retreat of guided meditation in complete silence where television, reading, and even eye contact were forbidden. “I came out of that completely transformed,” he writes.  “It gave me clarity, and clarity leads to...

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April 02, 2014
Turning the corner
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The apostles were ready and eager to follow the Lord as companions until he began predicting the manner of his own suffering and death.  His words repelled them.  What they wanted was Mount Tabor and not the dreaded hill of Golgotha. He told them off. At the very end, only one of them stood at the Cross.

As Passiontide and Holy Week approach, the tone of the liturgy changes. The Church shifts from focusing on personal sin and asceticism to gazing on Jesus during his last days.  From here...

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March 26, 2014
Science and the Catholic Church
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Last week, Stephen Colbert, the satirist and prominent Catholic, playfully scolded Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an American astrophysicist, author, director of the Hayden Planetarium and current host of the television science-documentary, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.” Why did Colbert chide his guest?

In part one of this documentary, the Church’s Roman Inquisition is scorned for its harsh treatment of Giordano Bruno, a sixteenth-century Dominican friar and his cosmological views.  In...

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