The Way of Beauty

December 08, 2015

A Reflection on Doors

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

In Roman mythology, Janus represents not only the god of doors and doorways but also the god of beginnings and endings. Janus is a two-faced god.  One face looks to the past, the other, to the future. Thus, the month of January. Doors open, close, and revolve. There are holy doors.  An open door points to a new beginning, a way out, or a welcome to enter.  It may also show a path to what lies ahead.  A closed door may symbolize a dead end or imprisonment, or it may signal ‘do not...

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December 02, 2015

Remembering the American Churchwomen Martyred in El Salvador

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

Editor's note: This column originally posted Nov. 30, 2015 by mistake. We regret this error and are reposting it on the correct date, Dec. 2, 2015. Thirty-five years ago today, four American Catholic churchwomen—four  missionaries—were  tortured, raped, shot, and murdered in El Salvador by National Guardsmen of the military-led government.   Two of the women, Sisters Ita Ford, M.M. and Maura Clarke, M.M. were members of the Maryknoll Missionaries, ages 40 and 49, respectively. ...

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November 25, 2015

An Uneasy Pause

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

On this weekend, Americans pause to give thanks for our bountiful gifts. Yet, the homeland is on edge with our collective eye riveted on Paris, Brussels, and beyond.  The Cathedral of Notre Dame  Two weeks ago, the French began their response to the Isis attacks in a way that spoke volumes to the question, “Where is God?”  The bells of Notre Dame in Paris tolled 129 times for the repose of the 129 souls, most of them Parisian youth, massacred two days earlier in the Isis attacks. ...

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November 18, 2015

From 'Sister Act' to Christ the King

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

Occasionally popular songs express words of wisdom that attract a wide and diverse audience.  Four of them are: “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Sabbath Prayer,” and “To Life,” from “The Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” respectively.   From “Sister Act” . . . .  The 1992 comedy “Sister Act” features two songs, “Follow Him” and “My Guy (My God)”   whose flippant lyrics shock the Mother Superior (played by Maggie Smith) when they are sung in church by the...

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November 11, 2015

Reflections on Veterans Day

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

November 11th belongs to the veterans of our armed forced and their families.  In other part of the world, especially in Europe, it is Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.  At the 11th hour of the 11th month of 1918, the Armistice with Germany went into effect thereby ending major hostilities of World War I.  The signing took place in a railroad carriage at Compiègne, France. In 1954, the United States changed the name to the current Veterans Day with appropriate ceremonies, but it is...

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November 04, 2015

Personal Prayer

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

“I’m not a religious person, but I am a spiritual person.” So goes a common protestation among young and old alike.  Their spirituality has little or nothing to do with organized religion.  It makes no burdensome demands. It suits their lifestyle preferences in a kind of creative spirituality.   The search for the Transcendent is one of the great thirsts of our age.  Psalm 63:1 puts it this way.  “O God, you are my God, I am seeking you, I am thirsting for you. I am like a parched...

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October 28, 2015

Days of Special Remembrance

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

As October makes way for November, the feasts of All Saints and All Souls bring home in a special way our belief that nothing and no one is ever finally lost.  These are days designed to remember in prayer our deceased and sainted loved ones.    Feast of All Saints In the early Church when it was a crime to be a Christian, a crime punishable by death, the word saint and martyr were synonymous.  Such a person had been persecuted, tortured, and put to death for the faith. The bodies...

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October 21, 2015

Celebrating All Hallows' Eve: Part Two

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

Editor's note: Part one of this series can be read here. Next to Christmas, Halloween is the most commercial and the most anticipated festivity of the year. Like Christmas, Halloween captures the American mindset long before the actual date.  Whether or not the commercial world wants to admit it, Christmas is primarily a Christian religious feast celebrating the Nativity of the Lord’s birth.  The commercial world probably has little awareness of the religious history of...

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October 14, 2015

From All Hallows' Eve to Halloween: Part I

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

Halloween fever is just around the corner.  In two weeks, many children and adults will don costumes of all designs and descriptions.  PetSmart has designed an elaborate Halloween web site for dogs, cats, and other pets. At Halloween parties, adults will primp their outfits while children will ring doorbells ready to blurt out “trick or treat.”   Ask the meaning of Halloween, and most people will give you blank stares. Children will shrug their shoulders hoping that their ignorance...

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October 07, 2015

Some Reflections on Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton

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

In his address to Congress last month, Pope Francis mentioned four exemplars of the great American enterprise: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton.  The first two men, protagonists for the liberty and full equality of African-Americans, were assassinated for this cause.  Prior to their conversions to the Catholic faith, Day and Merton led meaningless lives.  After their conversions, they embraced a new vision with new direction and new energy....

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