The Way of Beauty

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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September 30, 2015

Recapping the Papal Visit

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

Last week, Pope Francis held much of the nation riveted on his presence, words and gestures. Millions gladly stood for hours in long lines to see him pass by in his Fiat and pope mobile if only for a few seconds.  Political leaders anticipated his reflections on global concerns.  Children, families, the imprisoned, victims of sex-abuse, and those in consecrated life awaited his encouragement and consolation.   Cuba, Washington, New York City, and Philadelphia—four different places...

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September 23, 2015

Pope Francis: Missionary of Mercy and Peace

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

The warm familial approach of Pope Francis imitates the way Jesus was present to others. The early disciples followed Jesus because he spoke the truth with mercy, a message of compelling beauty.  They followed Jesus because he went about performing deeds of mercy while offering a message of compelling beauty.  His disciples were willing to die for him and his message. This week Pope Francis will experience the eagerness of public figures who will jockey with others for a place near...

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September 16, 2015

Mercy

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

Mercy is active compassion.  This concise definition from the Encyclopedia of Catholicism drives the Hebrew Scriptures where the title “Lord of Mercy” is often ascribed to God.  In the Christian Scriptures, mercy assumes wide meaning from “God the Father of mercy” to the mercy we must offer to one another.   Pope Francis has worked among the poor, serving and accompanying them, advocating and defending them.  His witness of mercy speaks volumes. And the world has taken notice....

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September 09, 2015

Catholic Education IV: Grace under Pressure

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

Catholic education is pedagogy of values and principles that prompt our students to aim high for excellence.  It also prepares them for inevitable setbacks that come to all of us. Hardships and even tragedies always surprise, they bewilder, and seem undeserved, especially when they befall children.  Where Grace under Pressure Abounds   Grace under pressure can form part of this week’s lessons of inspiring narratives. The attacks on Sept. 11th, 2001 saw police, firefighters, and...

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September 02, 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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