The Way of Beauty

During the month of December, children of Christian families dream about the gifts they hope to receive on Christmas Day. How would it be otherwise? Ads have inundated—no, they have bombarded parents,grandparents, and guardians, pressing them, coaxing them to splurge on their children! The syndrome of Santa also contributes to the fever-pitch desire for trinkets, many of which will be discarded soon after their excitement has waned.

Christmas may be a time for giving to our children, but...

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December 03, 2014
Francis, This Is Your Mission
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

This was not the plan.  Not the human plan. Xavier, the gifted, debonair hidalgo-turned-Jesuit was destined for great things.  At forty-six years of age, exhausted from serving others, he died on an island off the mainland of China thousands of miles away from his community.

Xavier, the nobleman, who was unused to roughing it, became the greatest itinerant missionary-saint in history, second only to St. Paul of Tarsus.  Such are the strange but wonderful ways of Providence to fulfill the...

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November 26, 2014
A Hymn of Thanksgiving
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The thirteenth-century German mystic, Meister Eckhart once noted that “if the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank-you,’ that would suffice.” William Shakespeare echoes these words: “O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thanksgiving” (“Henry V”).

This Thanksgiving, Marine Sargent Andrew Tahmoorressi will prolong his ‘thank-you’ for his release from a jail in Mexico and his return to American soil.  The recently-released prisoners of war must be...

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November 19, 2014
The Q&A for All Seasons
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 67-68) This was St. Peter’s burning question and answer.  

Peter’s Q&A has to be put on the back burner, comes a response. We are immersed in ninety-nine pressing issues. We resolve one, and others appear. When an unemployed family member is looking for work, when bills are piling up, when the one and only family car needs replacing, when an older relative needs home care—these worries, and those unnamed,...

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November 12, 2014
God at the Ritz: A Tribute to Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Last week, the American Catholic Church lost one of its leading priest-theologians. Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, a physicist, friend of liberals, skeptics, and atheists, and confidant of popes, died at the age of seventy-three from complications of Parkinson’s disease.  A short, rotund man with a towering mind and a deep bass voice, he became a regular guest of Charlie Rose, CNN, and National Public Radio.  This urbane priest made the faith attractive to his audiences beguiling them...

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November 05, 2014
Oscar de la Renta and Beauty
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Everyone has a theory about style—in fashion and hairdos, in the arts, in one’s manner with others and in one’s approach to life.

In fashion, style connotes a particular way of dressing.  Originally, stylus was an instrument for writing.  Styles in fashion come and go and change with the season: the unisex, the gothic, the hippie and the preppie, the androgynous “non-obvious girl,” the “anything goes” style. 

Oscar de la Renta, the couturier who died on October 20th, was...

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October 29, 2014
The House We Live In: Some Reflections for Election Day
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

As Election Day approaches, once again we see democracy take center stage.  These days, anger with elected leaders runs high at the state of our country. Is the American dream slipping away?  This question overrides all other issues.  

In 1947, Winston Churchill made famous a remark about democracy from another source: “Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe.  No one pretends that democracy is prefect or all-wise.  Indeed it has been said...

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October 22, 2014
'Blue Bloods' and its writers
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

David Letterman never ceases to be amazed at Tom Selleck’s enduring popularity: ‘No matter where he goes, people love him! People love him even when he’s counting his money!”  The success of “Blue Bloods,” the CBS Friday night drama, is largely due to Mr. Selleck’s role as Frank Reagan, the current New York City police commissioner.  With his affable temperament and his strong leadership, he is the mortar holding the program together.

The External Context

“Blue Bloods” is...

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October 15, 2014
A Week of Saint-Watching
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Saints are not born; they are made, made from the crucible of their unique personal history. Their stories are the raw material inscribed in a book of their lives. This week the Church celebrates an array of saints, the Church’s super-heroes. Each of their stories differs from the other as night, the day.  But, Phyllis McGinley believes that they all share one thing in common:  “Saints were geniuses who brought to their works of virtue all the splendor, eccentricity, effort, and...

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October 08, 2014
October, the Beautiful
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

October invites us to her fall fashion show. Throughout the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world, she primps before us decked out in a litany of spectacular colors.  Her wardrobe appears in hues and tints like vivid greens and subtle chartreuse, in scarlet, cranberry and Indian reds, burnt sienna, pumpkin orange, coral, and peach, goldenrod, canary and pale yellows, and finally golden amber. Then toward the end of the month, her leaves gracefully descend to form a carpet...

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