The Way of Beauty

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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June 24, 2015
The Pope and the Planet
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Behold and see, how beautiful, we who are brothers sun, wind, air, clouds, fire, and brother stars; we who are sisters, moon, water, and sky.  See how wonderfully made!  

We who are visible and invisible matter, all living things—trees and flowers, birds of the air and living creatures large and small, animals, especially our canine companions and buddies:  Behold and see, how beautiful!  

Question us, and we brothers and sisters will confess our praise of you, O Beauty who never...

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June 17, 2015
Fathers and Their Families
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

From the time of Aristotle, men have reflected on the role of fathers and their family relationships.  The philosopher writes that the family is society’s basic social unit.  

Data about Fatherhood

The National Center for Fathering, a non-partisan agency, reports some appalling facts about fatherlessness in America.  More than twenty million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father—four out of ten.  Half of these children do not see them.  


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June 10, 2015
Apostolate of the Laity: An Overview
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Not until Vatican II was the vocation of the laity brought into sharp focus.  Two thousand years earlier, the early Church was made up of bishops and lay disciples, at first Jewish converts, followed by those from all walks of life. The timid and the weak came.  The deeply religious followed.  Paul of Tarsus embraced The Way only after being knocked to the ground.  Then he summoned others to serve as his emissaries. 

How did the apostolic Church grow from a few frightened men and women to...

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June 03, 2015
Beautiful Minds, Beautiful People
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Last week’s tragic death of John Forbes Nash, Jr. and his wife, Alicia Nash prompted an immediate outpouring of emotion praising the Nobel Laureate from Princeton University.  Defined as “a beautiful mind,” Professor Nash was a math genius whose life story inspired the Oscar-winning film by the same title.

The Beautiful

One need not excel in academics or in any field to merit the descriptive, beautiful.  The beautiful may be seen in a nurse’s assistant who tenderly cares for the most...

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