Good luck? In the arms of Jesus!

Sr_Cristina_on_The_Voice_Italy_CNA_3_20_14-300x192

Hopefully everyone can see this, because it's kind of adorable. Suor Cristina Scuccia gets the Italian version of "Break a Leg" and she charmingly says, "In braccio a Gesù!" -- it (or she) is in the arms of Jesus.And then she laughs like a bride.She says she expects to renew her vows next month, in anticipation of her final vows, and that her priorities are "Jesus and prayer." I believe her. … [Read more...]

How I Loved My Kitschy Madonna!

dita von teese as mary

My column in the latest Catholic Answer Magazine, is entitled "Mary, Mystery and Imagination", and I explore therein the value of Catholic kitsch to a developing soul:Because my mother was devoted to Our Lady, and also susceptible to Catholic kitsch, my childhood home was filled with small plastic statues of saints and devotional artwork that fascinated for the sheer incongruity of it.On my bedroom wall, she had hung an image that looked for all the world as if Mary had brought the Baby … [Read more...]

Grief, a Joyful Nun, Misery-lovers & the Annunciation

Singing nun Sister Cristina Scuccia on Italy’s The Voice

My column at First Things looks at two stories from last week -- one grievous, and one glad -- and how, amid the mysteries contained within each, some people could only be miserable:The immediate responses seemed like reasonable ones: The plight of a family facing a wound of such depth would naturally evoke empathetic sadness in others, and our human need to feel empowered in dreadful circumstances fueled an impressively-answered fundraiser meant to defray the costs of emergency airlifts, … [Read more...]

Augustine’s Confessions Set to Music? Let’s Bring This Baby Home! – UPDATE: GOAL REACHED!

Augustine of Hippo, Modern Icon by Nancy Oliphant; available here

:::UPDATE:::: GOAL REACHED! Applaud yourselves for the hand you've had in a creative endeavor! :::END UPDATE:::Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You … [Read more...]

No Black Opera Singers, No White Kid in a Gi, No Kabab in UK!

Jessye Norman killed it as Ariadne

I hope Randa Jarrar will break the news to Zaineb Abdul-Nabi, the young, female student-filmmaker featured among a group of six talented young people at last week's Oscar telecast, that Zaineb cannot make movies because they didn't originate within her culture.Hey, it's not my call. I'm all for a young Arab-American woman becoming a cinematographer, if she wants, but Jarrar says, no -- that people have no business "appropriating" artforms outside their culture. Because purity or something … [Read more...]

Duke Ellington Understood Incarnation, Lived Christmas

Duke Ellington

There is a collection of Christmas-Themed articles over at National Review, and among them you'll find my piece which started out as a rant against cruise-pictures-as-Christmas-cards and ended up being about Duke Ellington and the Great Christmas Secret:“Duke Ellington and I exchanged Christmas greetings each year,” wrote Joe Delaney of the Las Vegas Sun., “Mine were sent in mid-December. Duke sent his when the spirit moved him.”A reformed Ebenezer Scrooge may have pledged to “honor Chri … [Read more...]

Jennifer Lawrence is a Class Act

jennifer-lawrence-2013-academy-awards

We've been fans of Jennifer Lawrence in this house since Winter's Bone, in which she was just a revelation, but far more important than her prodigious gifts, Lawrence appears to be a really well-grounded young woman, whose head is on straight. Here she is daring to suggest that women like Joan Rivers should grow up:“Shows like the Fashion Police and things like that are just showing these generations of young people to judge people based on things [that don't matter]. They put values in all t … [Read more...]

Missing Beautiful Stained Glass? Find it Here!

Source

I was going to add this as an update to this post, but it's really so neat it deserves it's own mention.Our Lady of Solitude Monastery is a foundation created from within the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of the Angels monastery. While other foundations from that community are still working on their hopes to start building (and finding creative ways to fund their hopes), this community, located in Arizona (Max's stomping ground) have finally installed the last of the … [Read more...]

Lay, Mad Patriarch, Lay Down; Finally Take Your Rest

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Do you see those two boys up there?I'm so proud of those two boys, and the men they have become. They are smart; they are thoughtful, and kind. They are the sort of men who tell the women they love, "you go for it; you do what you feel called to do. You will be great; don't let anything stop you."And to top it off, they're musicians!The older one -- destined, in our minds, for MIT and a career as a bio-medical engineer -- picked up a guitar at 15 and became a virtuoso over a single … [Read more...]

“A Very Safe Place” in a world so thin of them…

blue mountain

The value of a musical education begun during the early years of childhood has been well-documented; students who are exposed to musical instruction while young tend to do better in math and language arts and -- more importantly -- they develop a musicality that will remain with them for as long as they choose to use it, and can always be re-gained. At a recent family event our sons brought out a guitar, a uke, a mandolin and (and a fiddle for a guest) and it was kind of delightful to have a … [Read more...]


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