The Way of Beauty

March 16, 2016

The Making of a Disciple II

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

On May 13th, 1940, Winston Churchill, the newly-elected Prime Minister of Britain, delivered a memorable speech to the Ministers of the Admiralty and the House of Commons. At war with Nazi Germany, Britain had one aim: victory. Chilling words followed, however, as he orated: “I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” They bellowed across the cities and throughout the countryside uniting the Brits in shared sacrifice for a common purpose. Centuries before, Peter...

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March 09, 2016

Walking with Peter: The Neophyte

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

He stood tall, burly, and hot-headed, an uneducated common man, a seasoned fisherman from Bethsaida, a town on the Sea of Galilee, and using human logic, hardly the one suited for ministry.  The fifteenth-century Florentine painter Masaccio depicts him with a full head of curly hair, furrowed brow, daring eyes, straight nose a la Fiorentina, and a well-trimmed beard.  You wouldn’t want to mess with him.  So, what was Jesus thinking when he signaled, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will...

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March 02, 2016

Love among the Saints

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In mid-February, the BBC broke a story concerning the friendship between Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II and Dr. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, a prominent Polish philosopher.  “The friendship defies definition,” the reporter Ed Stourton wrote, “they were more than friends and less than lovers.”   Dr. Tymieniecka was married to the Harvard professor of economics, Hendrick S. Hauthakker when she began corresponding with the Cardinal-Archbishop in 1973 about phenomenology,...

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February 24, 2016

Almsgiving and Creative Ways to Give Alms

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Despite Gospel counsels about almsgiving, this ancient practice can arouse negative feelings. Every day whether by phone or mail, agencies plead for donations. To those in extreme indigence like The Bowery Mission, immediate relief must come. Still, you can almost read people’s thoughts: ‘Do they think we’re human ATM machines?’  Americans, and certainly Catholics, are generous people. The Church has a 2,000-year tradition of caring for the needy, a tradition bolstered by papal...

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February 17, 2016

Fasting and the Taste for God

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In the epic film, “Gandhi,” Mahatma’s fifty-day fast is undertaken to bring about reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims. His extreme act of self-denial draws worldwide attention. “If you want something from God, fast; if you want to relieve calamity, fast,” Gandhi believes. From primitive times, fasting has been practiced for three reasons:  the magical, the ethical and the religious. As a religious discipline or in accordance with prescribed law, fasting is understood as the complete...

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February 10, 2016

Putting on Christ: A Plan for Lent

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The festive days of Christmas have given way to the forty days of Lenten asceticism. During this time, the liturgy arouses in us the desire to accompany Christ to Calvary and beyond Calvary, to the Empty Tomb. The heart of Christianity looks directly into the eye of our souls: Christ suffered his passion and death out of love pro me and pro nobis—for me and for us.  This redemptive love has no precedent, no analogy, no metaphor—a love entirely unique. Putting On Christ Frequently,...

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February 03, 2016

Letter Writing

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The electronic age may have displaced cursive writing, but love letters, thank-you notes, and letters to Santa, for example, are typically handwritten. It’s the personal touch that counts.  Certain letters have become fixed and valued historical documents.  In fact, St. Paul’s letters were the first New Testament writings to be recorded, even before the gospel writers.  As such, they belong to the canonical texts.  Letter Writing among the Ancients Letter writing dates from about 3300...

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January 27, 2016

National School Choice Week

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

This week, the spotlight focuses on effective education for every child in this country.  It’s a week dedicated to the theme of school choice.  NSCW was begun in 2011 by a diverse coalition of concerned parents, schools, and organization.  Characterized by its nonpartisan and nonpolitical effort, it pledges to leave no child behind and give children the quality education they so richly deserve.  For years, the fundamental question has been publicly raised: “Why are American children failing...

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January 20, 2016

A Tribute to the Church's 'Single Ladies'

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

An essay entitled, “St. Teresa and the Single Ladies” recently appeared in the New York Times.  Its author, Jessa Crispin, was prompted to write it while touring Avila, Spain, the city famous for its first lady Teresa, the Carmelite nun, mystic, reformer, prolific writer, and Doctor of the Church.  Like many non-Catholics and even those within the faith, Ms. Crispin both marvels and puzzles over the vocation of consecrated religious women whom she refers to as “single ladies.” They are...

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January 13, 2016

Shine, Shine in Use

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

At the end of each year, WQXR, the classical radio station originating in New York, asks its listeners to vote for their favorite pieces of classical music played during the year.  Based on those requests, WQXR closed out 2015 by counting down to the 100 most-requested pieces of the year.  Countdown to Midnight On New Year’s Eve, the countdown to Midnight intensified. The end came as no surprise.  It wasn’t even close.  Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony won third place, his Fifth, second...

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