The Way of Beauty

September 01, 2015
Catholic Education III: Fully Alive for Virtue
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

“I have come that they may have life, life to the full (Jn 10:10),”—the assurance of Jesus.  In the second century, St. Irenaeus of Lyons gave the Church an equally-beautiful verse echoing that of the Jesus:  “The glory of God is man and woman fully alive, and the glory of man and woman is the contemplation of God (Against Heresies 4:20).”  It has been quoted countless times through the ages. To be fully alive is to develop one’s gifts within the context of a virtuous life.  The end goal...

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August 26, 2015
Catholic Education II: Quality and Non-Quality
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In November 1980, Barbara Tuchman, a noted historian and twice-winner of the Pulitzer Prize, published a controversial essay in the New York Times Magazine entitled “The Decline of Quality.”  Her piece commands attention for all associated in any way with the education of our youth.

Tuchman argues that, despite our improved material progress, the decline of quality permeates our culture.  Not a politically correct statement to make outright. Craftsmanship, the arts, morals, politics,...

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August 19, 2015
Catholic Education I: Jesus the Teacher
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The new academic year is just around the corner. For the next few weeks, this column will address some topics concerning the education our children and young adults irrespective of the type of school they attend or their grade level. All of them deserve a quality education second to none. They are our national treasure, the future of this country.  Their education must be our highest priority, and no child must be left behind. Not one. Christian educators look to Jesus the teacher as...

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August 12, 2015
Lessons from the Mozart Playbook
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

From the end of July and for four weeks thereafter, the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center dominates other musical offerings in New York City.  This essay will take us for a quick tour behind the scenes of Mozart’s life.  Can you size up the man behind his music and gather up a few lessons for your own life?

A Quick Overview of Mozart’s Early Life  

What do you make of a child who at four begins to compose at the keyboard and notate music before he can read and write?  What...

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August 05, 2015
Beauty Rising from the Ashes
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Tomorrow and this Sunday, the Church celebrates the feasts of the Lord’s Transfiguration and that of St. Teresa, Blessed by the Cross.  

The Transfiguration is a day when the adjective radiant enjoys prominence.  There on Mount Tabor, Jesus’ face and garments become radiant with light, and Peter, James, and John are also drawn into this luminous mystery.  “Lord, it is good for us to be here,” Peter speaks for the others.  They would prefer to taste the sweetness on Tabor rather than...

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July 29, 2015
'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.'
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

“Light of the World,” a nineteenth-century painting by the Englishman, W. Holman Hunt, perhaps best captures the human narrative.

The Painting and Its Symbolism

In this unconventional and highly personal work of art, Jesus, crowned with thorns, stands outside a door and knocks.  He is asking for permission to enter. The door can’t be opened from the outside because it has no handle on it.  The rusty nails and hinges are overgrown with ivy and weeds, presumably because the door...

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July 22, 2015
The Apostle to the Apostles
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

She followed him as a disciple.  She stood with his mother at the foot of the cross.  The burial too.  She announced the resurrection to the disciples. Nowhere in Scripture is she identified as a prostitute.  Not even as a sinful woman.  In Protestant faith-traditions, the Bahá’i, the Roman Catholic, and the Christen East, her feast is celebrated today.  This is St. Mary Magdalene, “the apostle to the apostles.”

The Name Mary in the New Testament

For Jews, the name Miryam or...

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July 15, 2015
Our Young People, Summer Time, and the Language Arts
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

With the close of the academic year, parents must find ways for their children to spend the summer in safe environments. If during the school year, texting others takes precedence over most activities, what is to be expected during the summer?  Statistics report that young teenagers text others more than one hundred times a day.

Summer Chores

Our young people deserve some respite from the typical structure of the school day. Still, the wise use of the leisure time is a lesson to...

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July 08, 2015
Is Life a Cabaret or a Pilgrimage?
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Most of us have heard the refrain: “Life is a cabaret, old chum, come to the cabaret.” The 1972 film, “Cabaret,” was set in the night life at the KitKatKlub, a decadent restaurant in 1931 Berlin just as the Nazi regime was rising to power.  

In stark contrast, Jesus describes life as a journey.  Speaking through Luke’s gospel, he cautions his disciples to travel lightly—detached from material things.  Though the word pilgrimage doesn’t appear in Jesus’ treasure trove of words, he is...

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July 01, 2015
The American Dream
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In 1943, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen made a prescient observation: “A proof that we are in danger of losing our freedom is that everyone is talking about it. Picture a group of men on a roof-top proclaiming in song and story the glories of architecture, while below saboteurs have already knocked out half the foundations of the house–and here you have the picture of modern freedom.” 

On this extended holiday weekend, Americans will proclaim in song and story the glories of our American...

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