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The RoundTable

The World Will Be Saved By Beauty

Spring 1997


Major Articles

  • Dorothy Day’s Aesthetic – Ellen Rehg and Mary Dutcher
  • A Rose by Any Other Name is Social Change - Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • A Tale of One Neighborhood - Teka Childress
  • I Believe in Michelangelo – Joe Angert
  • Interview with Charlie King: Music to Serve the People – Bill Miller
  • Beauty and Liberation:  Culture in Nicaragua’s Revolution – Ernest Cardenal (translation Michael Dulick, Mary Dutcher)

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Regular Features

  • Cover – Artwork Willa Bickbam, Baltimore Catholic Worker
  • Why This Issue – Mark Chmiel
  • Centerfold –  Photos – Joe Angert, Reflections – Ann Manganaro
  • From Little House - Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • From Abroad – Palestine – Anne Montgomery, RCSJ
  • From Karen House – Teka Childress
  • RoundTable Talk – Becky Hassler, Teka Childress

Why This Issue:

In the current film Paradise Road, I caught a glimpse of this theme of The RoundTable. A group of women of various nationalities is enduring W.W.II in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. They experience many brutalities, but they are sustained by a seemingly outlandish project: to practice for and perform as a vocal orchestra for each other. And after much surreptitious practice, they come together one evening to perform their vocal rendition of Dvorak's New World Symphony. One nay-sayer among the women refused to participate, seeing their efforts as mere "humming," nothing special. Did such beauty save the imprisoned women? Well, if we have a modest, rather than grandiose, notion of "save," yes, the music inspired their best selves and formed them into a harmonious community in the midst of desperate circumstances.

In their joint reflection, Mary Dutcher and Ellen Rehg address this hunger for beauty in Dorothy Day, a hunger that was not adventitious but integral to her spirituality. Two of our long faithful friends ponder our daily need for beauty: Mary Ann McGivern shares her experience of nurturing roses which, like her writing, is a work of love, and Joe Angert testifies to beauty's power, from Verdi to Picasso. Bill Miller elicits from folksinger Charlie King some of the struggles and joys of being a musician who not only calls attention to today's political issues, but also has to make a living on the road. And we are pleased to present the reflection from poet and former Nicaraguan Minster of Culture Ernesto Cardenal on the Nicaraguan people's commitment to old and new popular art forms, including painting, poetry, and music.

The text of our centerfold is a reprint of a Summer 1987 Round Table-the "From Karen House" article by Ann Manganaro, SL, (1946-1993), in which she also meditates on our central theme, graced by photos by Ellen Rehg and Teka Childress.

In From Abroad, Anne Montgomery shares a reflection on the violence in Hebron, reprinted here with permission, in an article from Christian Peacemaker Teams. Saxophonist Teka Childress also addresses the desire for beauty in From Karen House, while in From Little House, Mary Ann McGivern recounts her enlightened dealing with credit cards. Teka and Rebekah Hassler, FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner), raise critical questions posed by the closing of Regional Hospital in Round Table Talk.

With this issue, we invite you to meditate more deeply on the mystery of beauty in our daily life and moreover, we encourage you to savor others' creations and give birth to your own, for the healing of our world.

- Mark Chmiel



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