Page 1

Now There's Room At The Inn

Thomas More: A New Take

Hollywood Comes To Belmont

First-Ever Maternity Facility Makes National News

Abbey Professor Donoghue Pens A Powerful New Play

Screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi Pays The Abbey A Visit

CROSSROADS THE MAGAZINE OF BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE

WINTER 2012

The Abbey Rewrites the Book on Writing


FROM THE EDITOR

A FEW WORDS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF WORDS. Words matter. The words we read. The words we write. The words we hear. The words we speak. In higher education, words are particularly consequential. With just a few well-chosen ones, we can alter the course of a young person’s life. And so we thought it only fitting that this edition of Crossroads should be largely about words – words in the form of rhetoric; words in the form of storytelling; words that we as a college community are doing our best to incarnate. We begin with our cover story on what may be the most exciting new course offered by any college in America: Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar and Writing I and II. Read our feature, and you'll discover why we

2

CROSSROADS

believe that with its new Rhetoric course, the Abbey is “rewriting the book on writing.” Next, we give you an overview of how our new Rhetoric course fits into a brilliantly designed sequence of courses: the Abbey’s new core curriculum. Recently, the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy examined the Abbey’s new core and gave it high marks. Our third feature is a story about a story: a masterful new play written by the Abbey’s own Simon Donoghue about “the man for all seasons,” Thomas More. Following that, we invite you to read our interview with one of the most inspiring people we’ve ever met: Barbara Nicolosi, a Hollywood screenwriter, script consultant, professor of cinema, and the Founder of Act One, a program that trains Christians for careers as Hollywood writers and executives. As you’ll see, we asked her some pretty blunt questions like these: Why does American storytelling seem to be in such a woeful state? And what can a college like the Abbey do to improve storytelling? We found Barbara’s answers to be brilliant and thought-provoking, and we hope you will, too. In our final major feature, we tell the story of how the monks of Belmont Abbey, Room At The Inn, the College community and many friends and supporters are teaming up to incarnate these words spoken by the Word Himself: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”(Matthew 25: 40) Thanks to their joint efforts, there will now be “room at the inn” for one of America’s most underserved populations.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

Mark Twain

Now, a few final words for the monks, our dedicated professors and administrators, our students and loyal alumni, and all of the Abbey’s other friends and supporters, without whom these stories, this magazine and the College itself would not be possible. For all of your hard work, your many sacrifices, and your moral and financial support, we are deeply grateful. More than words can ever say.

Ed Jones

Winter 2012


FEATURES

THE MAGAZINE OF BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE

8

Winter 2012

8

26

20

32

COVER FEATURE: THE ABBEY REWRITES THE BOOK ON WRITING By bringing back classical Rhetoric, the Abbey is revolutionizing the way writing is being taught.

20

The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy gives the Abbey’s new core curriculum an enthusiastic thumbs up.

26

44

KUDOS FOR THE ABBEY’S NEW CORE

32

Meet Barbara Nicolosi, Hollywood screenwriter, script consultant, professor of cinema, Founder of Act One, and a fan of the kind of education the Abbey offers aspiring storytellers.

A MORE COMPLEX PORTRAIT OF THOMAS MORE The Abbey’s Simon Donoghue pens an inspiring new play about “the man for all seasons.”

Winter 2012

SHE PUTS HER FAITH IN FILMS

44

NOW THERE’S ROOM AT THE INN New on-campus residential facility for single, pregnant college-age women and their babies is the first of its kind in the nation.

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

3


DEPARTMENTS

President’s Column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 In The Abbot’s Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7

Crossroads Crossroads is the official publication of Belmont Abbey College.

Campus News

Interim Vice President of College Relations

Dr. Robert Preston - “Unfailingly A Gentleman” . . . . . . 48 New Dining Hall A Delicious Addition To Campus . . . . . . 49

David Targonski Editor

Ed Jones Assistant Editor

Jillian Maisano

Faculty & Staff News

Design & Production Supervision

Abbey’s Director Of Library Services Wins Award . . . . . 50 Three Abbey Theologians Participate In Conference . . . . 51 Noteworthy News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52-55

Sports News Abbey Inducts Third Class Into Sports Hall Of Fame . . . Former Abbey Guard Signs ABA Contract . . . . . . . . . . . . Remembering Joe McDermott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Former Abbey Golfer Joe Campbell Competes In “Big Break Ireland” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

56 57 58 59

Alumni News A Gentleman Whose Career Has Been A Home Run . . . 60-61 Johnnie Lowry: Her Memory Will Always Burn Brightly In Our Hearts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Blind Abbey Alum, Lawyer Urges Students To “Follow Your Dream” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Wish You Were Here: Homecoming 2011 . . . . . . . . . . 64-65 Operation 1200 A Success! Challenge 1400 Begins! . . . 66 Class Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67-69 In Loving Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Renae Heustess Contributors

Dr. Carol Brooks Jolisa Canty Debbie Capen Dr. Carson Daly Simon Donoghue Anna Gareis Jim Gates ’79 Gireesh Gupta Joseph Jacobeen Dr. Angela Miss Monte Monteleone ’71 Kelly Moore Dr. Frank Murray Barbara Nicolosi Christine Goff Peeler Chris Poore Bob Siebert ’63 Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B. Dr. Bill Thierfelder Jeffrey Trufant Richard Walker Sarah Woldum Photography

Renae Heustess Jillian Maisano Patrick Schneider Printing

ImageMark Business Services 1-800-632-9513

Abbey Mailbag

INSIDE BACK COVER: Benedictine Hallmark Of Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Mission Statement of Belmont Abbey College: Our mission is to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified. In this endeavor, we are guided by the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning. Exemplifying Benedictine hospitality, we welcome a diverse body of students and provide them with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, to succeed professionally, to become responsible citizens, and to be a blessing to themselves and to others.

4

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

To submit comments about Crossroads, email crossroads@bac.edu or send letters to “Crossroads” Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC 28012 Class Notes and Change of Address info should be sent to alumnioff@bac.edu or Office of Alumni and Parent Relations Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC 28012 All photos submitted must be high resolution at 300 dpi or higher to be used in Crossroads. Copyright 2011 Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


UNRAVELING THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE THROUGH THE POWER OF WORDS By Dr. Bill Thierfelder “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

In a world filled with technological marvels and wonders, isn’t it remarkable how a few letters can be formed into a few words and organized into a simple sentence that is so deep and penetrating that it may take a lifetime to fully comprehend? This issue of Crossroads addresses this very question. Fortunately for our students, we have extraordinary teachers, full of wisdom, who help them to unravel and understand the mysteries of life in the pursuit of truth. One of the most powerful means for accomplishing this task is through the Abbey’s new core curriculum, especially the new Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar, and Writing courses. Dr. Angela Miss has edited a wonderful new textbook called The Belmont Abbey College Reader which

introduces our students to some of the best that has been written and spoken throughout history. Just a cursory glance through the table of contents will fill you with joy, knowing that our students will be exceptionally welleducated, well-formed, and wellprepared to lead good lives. In keeping with the winter season and as, perhaps, a further enticement for you to secure your own copy of The Belmont Abbey College Reader, I will end with one of the more than seventy works to be found therein, Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

“Fortunately for our students, we have extraordinary teachers, full of wisdom, who help them to unravel and understand the mysteries of life in the pursuit of truth.”

He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and I pray that God will continue to bless you throughout the new year. I look forward to seeing you on campus sometime soon! God bless, Bill

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

5


“TO BE RATHER THAN TO SEEM”: A GOOD MOTTO FOR OUR STATE AND FOR OUR COLLEGE By Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B. As many of you know, the vow of stability to the monastery and community in which a monk makes his profession of vows is characteristic of Benedictine life. The Benedictines of Belmont Abbey are firmly rooted in Gaston County in North Carolina. It so happens that the State of North Carolina has a motto that is quite congenial to the stability of Benedictine monastic life. The state motto is Esse quam videri, which means “To be rather than to seem [to be].” The motto, along

constructing the first college-related maternity home in the nation. The residence will be available to all women who need its services, but is especially intended to allow college women from any school, who find themselves pregnant, to give birth to their child while continuing their education. Several other colleges and universities have expressed interest in this initiative, and it is our hope that many colleges and universities throughout the country will follow the lead of Belmont Abbey

“THE MOTTO IS CONGENIAL, BECAUSE THE VOW OF STABILITY IS NOT MERELY A COMMITMENT TO STAY IN ONE PLACE. RATHER, IT IS A COMMITMENT TO FIDELITY TO… ONE'S PUBLICLY VOWED IDENTITY.” with the state seal, is represented in one of the windows at the entrance to the basilica as a reminder of this rootedness in the place. The motto is congenial, because the vow of stability is not merely a commitment to stay in one place. Rather, it is a commitment to fidelity to the monastic life of the community; fidelity to one’s publicly vowed identity. The vows, which determine the course of the monk’s life, are never simply words; they must be lived out in action. There are two instances in which Belmont Abbey College has been faithful in its actions to its public identity in recent months. The first instance is the initiative undertaken in 6

CROSSROADS

cooperation with Room at the Inn, as reported in one of this issue’s articles. Room at the Inn, a private, Catholic crisis pregnancy center in Charlotte, discovered that, although the highest instance of abortion was among college-aged women, there were virtually no programs offering service and support to college women who found themselves pregnant. Most student health plans cover abortion, but not childbirth, and there is a total lack of appropriate housing, pre-natal care and other support. In cooperation with the monks of Belmont Abbey, who have donated the use of four acres of the monastery’s property, and Belmont Abbey College, Room at the Inn is

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

College in this project. It is my hope that this undertaking will be an effective witness and teaching for our own college community of the value and sanctity of human life, created in the image and likeness of God, and of the importance of translating convictions of faith into concrete assistance for those in need. The second instance is the lawsuit filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of the College against various agencies and officials of the federal government. The suit claims that the recent mandates proposed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which would require the College to offer voluntary Winter 2012


sterilization and contraceptives, including abortifacients, to all employees and students, are a violation of the right to free exercise of religion. The monks of Belmont Abbey founded the College and, for almost one hundred and thirty-six years, have publicly identified and operated the College as a Catholic institution. This is the first time any government agency has attempted to force the College to act contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, threatening crippling fines for failure to comply. History teaches us that it is sometimes necessary to give public witness to the faith, and publicly to defend fundamental rights, lest those rights gradually be eroded for all. In this instance, the College is not claiming a special privilege, but is claiming the right, guaranteed to all American citizens, to the free exercise of religion. It is important to correct two misrepresentations of the College’s action. Contrary to the claims made by

some, the College is not imposing its beliefs on anyone. The College has always offered education and employment to all who wish to take advantage of these opportunities, without requiring a profession of the Catholic faith or Catholic moral teaching by either students or employees. The College has publicly stated that it assumes all members of the College community act in good conscience, and realizes that good people can differ in their judgment of the issues in question. The College does not place any requirements or restrictions on the private, personal healthcare decisions of members of the College community. The College’s claim is that, in order to be true to its public identity as a Catholic college sponsored by the monks of Belmont Abbey, it cannot, as an institution, pay for procedures and benefits which are directly contrary to the public, authoritative teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

The second misrepresentation states that, because the College receives federal funds, it must obey the directives of the federal government. Federal funds do indeed come to the College by way of the students, who are eligible for such funds to support their education wherever they choose. Furthermore, courts have consistently ruled that church-related colleges are eligible for federal funds, provided that such aid is used for secular benefits, is equally available on the same basis to other similar organizations, and neither promotes nor prevents the exercise of religious faith. Finally, if the free exercise of religion is a fundamental right of citizens, then the exercise of that right has no bearing on the access to public monies. Esse quam videri. It is a fine motto for the State of North Carolina, and for this Benedictine college firmly planted in this state.

STABILITY COMMITMENT TO THE DAILY LIFE OF THIS PLACE, ITS HERITAGE, AND TRADITION

We strive to create lasting relationships between students, faculty, and staff. We believe that persevering together in the pursuit of wisdom—as opposed to engaging one another only enough to achieve private understanding— builds strong, lasting relationships and makes remarkably powerful growth possible for all.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

7


The Abbey Rewrites the Book on Writing

8

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


“T

here’s nothing to writing,” the Hall of Fame sportswriter Red Smith reportedly quipped. “All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

As hard as it is for even the world’s most talented writers to write well, imagine how difficult it must be to teach good writing. Which may explain why writing instruction has become so woefully neglected in the American academy. Fortunately for our students, Belmont Abbey College has a refreshingly different attitude about writing instruction. Our caring professors and administrators embrace the challenge. Indeed, they’re so passionate about teaching good writing, they’ve created a revolutionary new/old writing program that may well serve as a model for other colleges and universities. One bold step they took was to throw out all of today’s most popular collegiate writing anthologies and to create a new/old anthology that’s custom-made for Abbey students: The Belmont Abbey College Reader. As you’ll see in the next few pages, that was just the beginning. As you’ll also see, the Abbey’s revolutionary new/old approach to writing instruction is already bearing promising fruit.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

9


Rhetoric to the Rescue By Dr. Carson Daly communicating effectively depends always and everywhere on thinking not only of themselves but also of those to whom they are speaking or writing. Once students learn this, they are already on their way to greater wisdom and virtue. Why? Because being less self-absorbed and more focused on others helps students to see reality more clearly and to grow in emotional intelligence—the sine qua non of wisdom. Since Rhetoric is a practical as well as theoretical art, students learn that they cannot simply speak or write in their own comfort zone, compose in

C

onsidered the key to a liberal education for millennia, the study of Rhetoric, has fallen upon evil times. In modern America, we typically associate “Rhetoric” with liars, cheats, duplicitous politicians, unscrupulous advertisers, card-sharpers, seducers, and shameless manipulators of all stripes. But is it possible Rhetoric has gotten a bad rap? Could it be that Rhetoric, like money, is neither good nor bad in itself, but that its moral value depends on the use to which it is put? At the Abbey, we are banking on more than two thousand years’ worth of wisdom that says teaching Rhetoric

“At the Abbey, we are banking on more than two thousand years' worth of wisdom that says teaching Rhetoric is absolutely critical to forming human beings with cultivated minds, hearts, and spirits.” is absolutely critical to forming human beings with cultivated minds, hearts, and spirits. The requirement in the new core curriculum that all new students take Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar, and Writing I and II is not misguided antiquarianism. We believe passionately that the study of Rhetoric—properly taught—can help students grow not only in intellectual understanding, emotional intelligence, and spiritual breadth but also in wisdom and virtue—the goal of all Christian education. For these reasons, we believe that teaching Rhetoric will help us fulfill the College’s mission to provide students “with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity,..succeed professionally,…

10 CROSSROADS

become responsible citizens, and…be a blessing to themselves and to others.” How can the study of Rhetoric help achieve these lofty goals? What habits of heart, mind, and soul does Rhetoric inculcate, and why are they crucial to the flourishing of the human person, to success in business and education, to the health of a democracy, and to spreading the Gospel? Studying Rhetoric helps stretch the mind, heart, and spirit because students must think of, empathize with, and respond to others compassionately. Students begin by analyzing each of the elements of the “golden triangle”—the speaker or writer, the speech or text, and the audience or reader. Properly taught, Rhetoric teaches students that

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

their preferred style, and cite arguments that they personally find reasonable, emotionally satisfying, and ethical. On the contrary, they must speak or write in a manner that also resonates with the reasoning, emotions, and spiritual principles of their auditors or readers. As Aristotle, who defines Rhetoric as the ability “in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion” points out, successful rhetoricians must choose the means of persuasion that will best convince their audience: focusing on logos or reason; pathos or emotions; or ethos or morals. Hence, Rhetoric’s “golden triangle” turns out to be an important stop on the way to the Golden Rule. The person who has been systematically taught to

Winter 2012


“No matter where our students go or what they do, they will benefit from being astute analysts of context, competent selectors of genre, and assiduous practitioners of decorum. Cultivating these faculties also gives students of Rhetoric a passport to other times, places, and cultures, bestowing on them one of life's greatest gifts—the possibility of relating to others by imaginatively transcending themselves and their own personal circumstances.” think about others, to enter imaginatively into their thoughts and emotions, and to respond to those people with empathy and compassion is far more likely to treat his or her neighbor well than the student who has been trained only to “express” him- or herself—always concentrating on what he or she thinks, feels, and wants. Students of Rhetoric get a further tutorial in focusing on and empathizing with others when they make decisions concerning context, decorum, genre, style, tone, voice, and mood—based not only on their own personal preferences, but on what will resonate best with their auditors or readers. No matter where our students go or what they do, they will benefit from being astute analysts of context, competent selectors of genre, and assiduous practitioners of decorum. Cultivating these faculties also gives students of Rhetoric a passport to other times, places, and cultures, bestowing on them one of life's greatest gifts—the possibility of relating to others by imaginatively transcending themselves and their own personal circumstances. Cultivating such habits of heart, mind, and soul is conducive to wisdom and virtue because these habits help our students see reality as it is, judge various contexts accurately, react to them

Winter 2012

appropriately, and analyze and respond to their audience with empathy and compassion. Being able to communicate with others effectively, imaginatively, empathetically and compassionately is crucial to human flourishing, to success in business and education, to the health of a democracy, and to the spreading of the Gospel. Clearly, if our students cannot relate to others, they certainly cannot flourish as human beings. If our students do not “know their customers,” they will not be able to serve them well in business. Likewise,

CROSSROADS

if our Education majors don’t understand their students, our graduates will be unable to teach effectively. Rhetorical training is also critical to the health of a democracy since democracy depends on citizens’ being able to convince a majority to vote for the best candidates and policies. Rhetoric is equally vital to evangelism since Christians can fulfill Christ’s mandate to preach the good news to all nations only if believers know, empathize with, and can connect with those whom they are attempting to evangelize. In the Phaedrus, Socrates makes the point that the best kind of Rhetoric is “soul-leading” by an enlightened speaker who speaks to benefit his listeners. This is the kind of Rhetoric to which we ascribe, the kind from which we hope our students will benefit, and the kind we hope they will practice. Since Christ is Himself the Incarnate Word (John 1:14), and says that those who love Him will keep His word (John 14:15), it is clear that He intends Christians to be students, lovers, and incarnators of the Word. What better way to start than with the study of Rhetoric? Dr. Carson Daly is Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

11


A Good Way To Teach Better Writing: Start With A Better “Reader.” In the following interview, Dr. Angela Miss, who is in charge of writing instruction at the Abbey, explains the thinking that went into The Belmont Abbey College Reader and much more. “contemporary issues,” which means that students read Hamlet, for instance, through the lens of “family dysfunction.” To look at a great text by Shakespeare in such a way limits students’ understanding and appreciation of the richness and depth the text has to offer. At the Abbey, we want our students to learn to write by reading some of the most eloquent texts ever produced, and we want them to read about ideas that heighten their understanding of the past, present, and future. Great literature from the past can transport us out of our own time and into another; it can provide us with new ways of viewing ourselves and the world around us. We want our students to spend their time reading texts that scholars have appreciated for years. We want them to spend their time on texts that have stood the test of time, if you will. If we want our students to think beyond their particular social and cultural moment, we should provide texts that move them beyond “contemporary issues.”

What made The Belmont Abbey College Reader necessary? What void did it fill? Dr. Miss: The Belmont Abbey College Reader was created to provide the required readings for our new Rhetoric courses. The committee tasked with the creation of these new courses was made up of a diverse group of scholars from English, Political Philosophy, and Theology; because of the various disciplinary perspectives on the committee, we were able to assemble a very unique and, I think, a very special group of readings. We wanted readings for the courses to connect to our mission as a Catholic college. We also wanted readings that would allow students to appreciate the best that has been written in the liberal arts tradition of the West. When we couldn’t find a reader that fulfilled these objectives, I suggested that we make our own. The Belmont Abbey College Reader could not have been produced were it not for Dr. Carson Daly, the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Her support and guidance made The Reader become a reality. What do other such “readers” or textbooks do wrong? What does this one do right? Dr. Miss: Most anthologies, which are created for mass market publication, try to do too many things for too many different audiences, and often they fail to do anything well. Another issue that negatively impacts these anthologies

12 CROSSROADS

arises from trends in composition studies; in the last 20 years, most anthologies created for first-year writing courses focus on “contemporary issues,” such as global warming or social networking. These anthologies often include contemporary readings, many of which are taken from print and web-based journalism. Focusing on such “media-driven” topics often turns the writing course into a civics class instead of one devoted to the craft of writing. Additionally, the literary selections in these readers are also grouped according to these

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

What are, say, the three main goals of The Reader? What is it designed to do for an Abbey student? Dr. Miss: First, to provide readings that our students need know to be welleducated, well-formed, and well-prepared for life; second, to provide texts that help them to learn, by example, many of the classical rhetorical approaches for writing and speaking effectiveness; and third, to provide texts that reveal, simply, that the Truth matters.

Winter 2012


clearly and effectively. The readings provide a diversity of ideas and reflections on a great many subjects, such as human nature, wisdom, democracy, hope, truth, freedom–the list can go on and on. We discuss these texts in class and grapple with ideas and arguments from some of the West’s greatest thinkers–Plato, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Jefferson, Lincoln, C.S. Lewis. Through close readings, students learn to recognize the rhetorical techniques that have been used over the centuries to inform, to move, to persuade, to delight. These texts, we hope, will serve to help our students think logically and carefully, to encourage them to enter into a dialogue

What were your criteria for including certain texts and excluding others? Dr. Miss: There were a number of criteria that impacted the final selection of readings for the book. We wanted to introduce students to a variety of genres and occasions for writing. We wanted great rhetorical texts that students could analyze and use as models for their own writing. Finally, we wanted texts that thoughtfully analyzed the types of questions that are so often left out of first-year composition textbooks, such as: How do we define human freedom? How are faith and reason connected? What does history tell us about the true hope

“At the Abbey, we want our students to learn to write by reading some of the most eloquent texts ever produced, and we want them to read about ideas that heighten their understanding of the past, present, and future.” for man? How might we define progress, beauty, or democracy? What is natural law and why do we need to understand it as American citizens? What values bring people together to live well in a community? What values or beliefs drive them apart? From a pragmatic point of view, although I wanted to include many more texts, it was also important to keep the costs down for the student. I am very pleased that since The Reader covers all the required readings for our two Rhetoric courses, Belmont Abbey students are receiving a great value. Did any other textbook or anthology serve as inspiration for The Reader? Dr. Miss: The book was really inspired by the students I have taught in the past. Because reading and writing are so inextricably connected, in every writing class I teach, I always listen carefully to what students say about what they need or want in a reader. Over the years, it became clear to me that our students wanted something we couldn't find in the mainstream textbook market. I think many

Winter 2012

of our students want texts that move them beyond the everyday world. In that way, I would also add that the book is inspired by the monks. The monks serve as a daily reminder to those on campus that, to paraphrase Newman, we are in this world, but not of this world. I believe that our students are inspired by the monks’ presence on campus and that this daily inspiration creates a real desire to read texts that take them beyond what Pope Benedict calls the “lesser hopes” of everyday existence and that move them to the contemplation of the “greater hopes” to which the monks have dedicated their lives. The texts in The Reader address the desire for “more” that I see in our students. How is The Reader being used by you and your fellow professors in the classroom? Dr. Miss: The Reader is the anthology used for Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar, and Writing I and II. It also contains the required readings for our Communications Essentials courses. In all these courses, we teach students how to read, how to think, and how to write

CROSSROADS

with some of the greatest thinkers of the Western Tradition, and to inspire them to develop the extraordinary writing and speaking skills modeled in the readings. Have there been any interesting reactions from either students or faculty members? Dr. Miss: Regardless of specialty or discipline, all professors at the Abbey are great readers, and great readers appreciate great texts. Many faculty members using the book in their classes have mentioned to me how excited they are to be teaching the readings in the book to our first-year students. Although many students have told me that they are excited about having a reader designed specifically for them, the greatest test as to whether or not the readings “matter” to students can be seen in the papers that they produce. You don’t have to be a writing teacher to agree with the claim that students write best about what matters to them the most. I always tell my students that the great test of any piece of writing is

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

13


whether it can stand up to the “So What?” question: Why does it matter? Not only do the readings in the anthology inherently answer the “So What?” question, they also provide students with a treasury of ideas for writing, ideas that matter to them outside of the classroom. For example, one of the first readings for the RH 101 course is Pope Benedict’s Encyclical, “Spe Salvi.” In this remarkable text, the Pope redefines our contemporary definitions of progress and freedom. When I asked students to write a short paper using some of the Pope’s ideas as ways of thinking about the value of their education at the Abbey, I received many wonderful responses. One paper, in particular, by J.J. Kuhlman, analyzed Pope Benedict’s argument that “freedom requires conviction.” In a paper of less than 300 words, J.J. beautifully defined freedom and connected that pursuit of “true freedom” to the education he came to the Abbey to pursue–one informed by

ill, it only makes sense that we should read texts that move us closer to the good, the beautiful, and the true. Do you think there’s a linkage between better or deeper reading and better writing? One thinks of Lincoln ingesting the Bible and Shakespeare as a child and becoming such a magnificent writer, despite his lack of formal schooling, and William Blake as well… Dr. Miss: For centuries, rhetorical training focused much attention on imitation exercises; students were constantly reading and emulating great texts. Although we don’t have any definitive evidence about the nature of Shakespeare’s education, it is likely that he received a standard grammar school education in Stratford. Two of the aims

not receive such a formative education, he spent much time in his youth memorizing poetry, Shakespeare, and the Bible, and many of his great speeches echo the patterns of his early memory work. To infuse one’s mind with the words of some of the best texts ever written is time well spent, and The Reader provides many great texts for this kind of memory work. If there’s one central lesson you want Abbey students to take away from The Reader, what would that be? Dr. Miss: That the Truth matters— and that words can help lead us there! Any plans for a “sequel” or companion text? Dr. Miss: Yes: the plan to revise the text was in the works before this version was published! Because we wanted to

“These texts, we hope, will serve to help our students think logically and carefully, to encourage them to enter into a dialogue with some of the greatest thinkers of the Western Tradition, and to inspire them to develop the extraordinary writing and speaking skills modeled in the readings.” the “Greatest Hope.” When I receive a paper like J.J.’s, I realize that I am blessed to be a teacher at the Abbey. Do you subscribe to the notion that “we are what we read”? Dr. Miss: I may sound a little Aristotelian here, but “who we are” is determined by the choices we make every day: how we choose to work, how we choose to love, how we choose to worship. And yet, as St. Augustine reveals in his Confessions, the written word can greatly impact the choices we make, the work we do, the people we love, and way we worship. Since this influence can be for the good or for the

14 CROSSROADS

of the grammar school curriculum in the Renaissance were to acquaint the student with the Latin and Greek classics through classically-based rhetorical instruction and to infuse him with sound moral and religious principles. The order of instruction was first to learn the precepts, then to employ them as a tool of analysis in reading, and finally to use them as a guide in composition. That Shakespeare received this type of foundational education can clearly be seen in his work. Without this type of education, Shakespeare would not have been Shakespeare. Our new Rhetoric courses, for which The Reader was created, are modeled on this type of instruction. Although Lincoln, of course, did

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

use a new anthology for the Fall 2011 semester, I had to work quickly to put together the first installment. The time it took to acquire copy rights and move through the production process was considerable. I hope to have another version, complete with biographical, rhetorical, historical, and pedagogical material, ready in two years. And, of course, there are so many texts I would like to add. I’d particularly like to see more poetry, as well as a few more classical texts, added to our collection. Dr. Angela Miss is Associate Professor of English.

Winter 2012


The Proof Is In The Writing The Abbey’s new Rhetoric courses are already producing impressive results, as the following sampling of student compositions eloquently attests.

Sarah Woldum Dr. Miss Honors Rhetoric 101 9/26/11 My Favorite Sentence "Late have I loved Thee, o Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved Thee!" St. Augustine writes this in his Confessions, and I fell in love with the sentence the first time I read it. An independent clause begins the sentence, and is placed in inverted order. The verb splits before and after the subject, giving more meaning to the word “I.” Perhaps the emphasis has been placed on “I” because St. Augustine recognizes the importance of him, a wretched sinner, coming to love God. He calls God “Beauty,” an appropriate term that shows readers how St. Augustine sees God. “Ancient” and “new” describe Beauty in a lovely contradiction, stressing the complexity of Truth and the nature of God. The repetition of the first clause at the end emphasizes the importance of it. St. Augustine is almost pleading when he twice confesses his late conversion. Through the repetition, readers feel the same remorse of St. Augustine. I love the poetry of this sentence and word choice. The confusing, mysterious nature of God is perfectly reflected through the language of this short, simple sentence.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

15


Anna Gareis Dr. Angela Miss Sentence Analysis “Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.” -St. Benedict, The Rule of St. Benedict The beauty of this sentence lies in its simplicity. Eighteen words and only a few more syllables, the unadorned shortness of the sentence underlines the significance of its meaning. The first two words form a powerful, authoritative independent clause. That they are followed by the words “my son” undermines that fact, softening the imperative sentence. Those two words, “my son,” also convey a deeper meaning. This is not a command, but an exhortation from a father-like figure, someone who has the well-being of the receiver of the “instructions” close at heart. The use of the word “master” makes the careful reader wonder to whom the author is referring, causing the reader to question the assumption that the following “instructions” come from the author himself. The most captivating part of this sentence is the unconventional phrase, “with the ear of your heart.” That phrase changes the whole sentence from something unremarkable to a thought-provoking statement that encourages the reader to probe more deeply into its meaning. The sentence thus prepares the reader for “instructions” that could be vital and are certain to be unconventional, and so the reader plunges into the following pages with their intellect engaged and their curiosity aroused. How is all this meaning conveyed through eighteen little words? It is not just the skilled rhetorician who makes use of language to fully express an idea. The whole of humanity uses language daily, communicating their feelings, ideas, and needs through what sometimes seems like a string of words. That string of words is perhaps the most powerful force a human being can possess. It is a sentence, a fully articulate thought. A sentence can change lives; can stick with a person forever. A sentence is the key to unlocking ideas.

16 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


Kelly Moore Rhetoric 101 Dr. Miss 27 September 2011 Conflicting Passions Consistently regarded as the number one movie quote of all time, Gone With the Wind’s infamous sentence “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” has shocked viewers since the late 1930’s. What exactly is it about this sentence that has created such a stir in the audience? This is a simple sentence by definition. Through using only one subject and verb, the sentence’s brevity conveys the speaker’s dissatisfaction. The speaker then expresses a greater degree of resentment by beginning his sentence with “frankly.” This adverb initially assigns the sentence with the tone of blunt honesty. “Frankly” serves another purpose: to modify the verb phrase “give a damn.” This verb phrase has a dual function, confirmed in Webster’s definitions of “damn.” The first definition is to “swear or curse,” and another one is “a minimum amount or degree as of care or consideration” (Webster). The speaker uses both definitions to communicate his exasperation, which was so great that a curse word was necessary. One also must take into consideration the modesty of the 1930’s; curse words were hardly used and certainly not in regards to a significant other. We know the speaker was talking to his significant other in this manner since he refers to her as “my dear.” This is precisely what makes this sentence so powerful: the striking contrast of endearment and bitterness. Ironically, the speaker wholly does not care what happens to his beloved. These overwhelming conflicting passions enrich this simple sentence into a dramatic, poignant declaration.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

17


Jeffrey Trufant Rhetoric I Dr. Angela Miss “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” -Charles Dickens's David Copperfield This sentence attempts to attain the reader’s interest as well as introduce the story. It achieves this goal primarily through tone. The sentence’s conversational sound personalizes the lines and makes one feel that the words themselves are not simply a part of a story, but a statement specifically directed toward the reader and begging him to hear more. The tone also assists the sentence’s surprise structure: the short and abrupt finishing clause, “these pages must show,” leaps forth unexpectedly after reading the first two clauses of the sentence. The reader naturally expects whether or not he is “the hero of [his] own life,” to be explained more immediately, but the anticlimactic last four words curb that expectation. Because the responsibility of answering is transferred suddenly from the sentence itself to the book, the sentence serves as an excellent lure: tempting every passing reader to continue on from the opening, and devour the novel in search of answers. The author’s word choice also helps in capturing passing minds; in fact, the choice of one word especially in this statement determines the meaning. The word “must” in the final clause, introduces a certain urgency to the sentence. If instead the statement read: “these pages will show,” the entire phrase would seem much less pressing. “Will” gives the sense that the author knows what will happen and simply explains it for the reader’s sake, whereas “must” seems to make the author say, “these pages must tell the tale because I cannot. I don’t know if I am my hero.” Using “must” to put the author in the same uncertain state as the reader also serves as an effective rhetorical strategy because it allows the reader to feel that somehow his or her inspection of Copperfield’s life is acceptable, and perhaps even solicited—the perfect opening for a book whose chapters eagerly examine all of that man's doings.

18 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


Joseph Jacobeen Dr. Angela Miss Honors Rhetoric September 26, 2011 A Sentence Miracle C.S. Lewis wrote beautiful sentences and gave, in seemingly simple ways, very deep insights. In his essay about miracles, Lewis wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” (29) The content and form work together to reveal the meaning to the reader. Lewis shows in this sentence how often people overlook the incredible Divine gifts of the awesome universe, the miracle of creation. When God manifests Himself in supernatural occurrences, He only accelerates the miracle of nature and everything else He has made, for example, unnatural healings. Lewis generalizes that human beings are often ignorant of the Divine Hand at work in the beauty of the universe, and so they are also easily unaware of God’s work in their daily lives. They just as willingly fail to recognize obviously supernatural occurrences as coming from God. Lewis inspires people to discover how God works in the world and in their personal lives. Humans try to understand something too big for them, and they end up examining too closely the “big letters.” That is why God gave us the small, baby-sized words. Grammatically, the sentence is of the complex form. The independent clause, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the same story,” includes a possibly weak linking verb, “are,” which Lewis could have easily eliminated by saying, “Miracles retell…” But this nominalization emphasizes that miracles don’t simply retell something, miracles are that “same story” by which God shows His power and glory. The “story” and “miracles” are one and the same. In a similar manner, Lewis uses the passive voice in the dependent clause, not out of laziness, but because he wants the reader to ask,“Written by whom?” Even the skeptic must obviously answer, “God.” By choosing such simple words and writing in an easyto-read manner, Lewis draws the reader to a profound conclusion that God uses miracles to show mankind His presence in all things, big and small. Works Cited Lewis, C.S. God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics. Ed. Walter Hooper. United States. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994. Reprint.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

19


Jane Austin

Belmont Abbey College’s New Core Curriculum:

An Antidote To The Abolition Of Man By Ed Jones

20 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

21


Jane Austin

“If You Can Find A Better Core Curriculum, Buy it.” “Compared with most other core or generaleducation requirements we’ve seen at other schools, Belmont Abbey’s is hard to beat. In addition, the faculty at the school work closely with their students; that isn’t usually the case at bigger, more ‘prestigious’ colleges and universities.” John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

22 CROSSROADS

This semester, first-year students at Belmont Abbey College are being introduced to an exciting new core curriculum. What’s new about it? Essentially nothing. Which may explain why there’s a “new springtime” of intellectual ferment, comity, hope and joy blossoming on our 135-year-old campus. (First Things has named the Abbey America’s #1 “school on the rise, filled with excitement.”) When they were creating the new core, the team of Abbey professors and administrators who crafted it—led by Dr. Carson Daly, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty—seems to have taken to heart C.S. Lewis’s impassioned admonitions to educators in his prophetic book, The Abolition of Man. In essence, Lewis says that the paramount duty of educators is not to subject our students to all that is trendy, “progressive” or “new” in education, but rather to pass on to them that which is time-proven, transcendent and old. By this he meant the hard-won, shared system of traditional values that has been handed down through the centuries to all world cultures by our ancestors. Lewis called this shared system of traditional values the Tao (sometimes also called the sensus communus or Natural Law), and he asserted that these are the fundamental truths that form and nourish man’s core. Indeed, Lewis averred that abolishing these core objective truths from our curricula is tantamount to abolishing man. The end result is aberrant creatures Lewis called “Men without Chests” or “trousered apes.” Belmont Abbey College’s new core curriculum has been carefully structured to nourish and strengthen

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

our students’ inner core with the traditional values that Lewis was defending. Thus, the College’s new core might be thought of as an antidote to the abolition of man. The required courses that comprise the new core curriculum (50-53 of the 120 hours needed to graduate) are the following:

First-Year Symposium Rhetoric I & II Introduction to Scripture Introduction to Theology Classic Texts in Political Philosophy I & II Western Civilization I & II Literary Classics of the Western Tradition I & II The U. S. Constitution One Course in Mathematics Two Science Courses with Labs An Introductory Course in Psychology, Sociology, or Economics One Course in Fine Arts

We regard our entire core as important to the formation of our students, giving them the kind of broad grounding in the classical liberal arts that few college students anywhere benefit from today. Since there isn’t enough space here to go into detail about every part of our core, please allow me to focus instead on four

Winter 2012


representative courses: Western Civilization I & II; Classic Texts in Political Philosophy I & II; The U.S. Constitution; and Rhetoric I & II (also known as Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar and Writing I and II).

Western Civilization I & II The Reverend Jesse Jackson once famously led an approving crowd of Stanford students (and some complicit faculty members) in the chant, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” If there were a chant for the Abbey’s new/old core courses, it would be something more like “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ sets minds aglow!” (perhaps sung in a soothing Gregorian melody). Yes, Western Civilization is here to stay at the Abbey. It is also here to be thoroughly explored, fittingly celebrated, and critically examined by our students. It speaks volumes about this two-part course that one of the volumes Abbey students are encouraged to savor is Sir Kenneth Clark’s magisterial guided tour of Western history and art, Civilisation (in both print and video formats). Other key texts include The Mainstream of Civilization (6th edition) by Stanley Chodorow et al; The West in the World (4th edition) by Dennis Sherman and Joyce Salisbury; and Western Civilization: Beyond Boundaries by Thomas F.X. Noble et al. These textbooks are supplemented by historical novels such as Mary Beard’s The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and

Winter 2012

Found and Eric Jager’s The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal and Trial by Combat in Medieval France—to give students a feel for everyday life during certain historical periods. And throughout the course, students are given ample opportunities to hone their critical thinking and rhetorical skills through various written and oral exercises.

Classic Texts in Political Philosophy I & II The goal of our new Political Philosophy core classes is to give our students the opportunity to study the application of the principles that they learn rather than concentrating on abstract philosophical theory alone. Accordingly, “Classic Texts in Political Philosophy I & II” have replaced two courses from our old core: “Introduction to Philosophy” and “Ethics.” In the process, philosophy, literally meaning “the love of wisdom,” has been given renewed energy and more relevance to our students’ lives. For us, the proper study of Political Philosophy requires students to answer such fundamental questions as “What is a good life?” “What is a good person?” “What is virtue?” “What is a good city, state, or nation?” “What are the forms of government most conducive to helping

CROSSROADS

the human person lead a good life?” These are questions that are always in season—ones with which each of us needs to grapple. Today, when so many fundamental issues concerning life, conscience, and freedom are being debated across America, we believe that our students can particularly benefit from studying first principles, as well as what happens when various political theories are applied in practice. A text of central importance to the course is Plato’s The Republic, which helps students delve into questions such as the correct definition of justice, the ideal state, and the education of the soul. The Nicomachean Ethics, by Plato’s pupil Aristotle, analyses in systematic fashion the notions of moral and intellectual virtue, the “good life” for man and the characteristics and philosophical significance of friendship. Other primary texts include Sophocles I: Oedipus The King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone; Four Texts on Socrates: Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito and Aristophanes’ Clouds; On Law, Morality, and Politics (2nd edition) by St. Thomas Aquinas, and Political Writings by St. Augustine of Hippo, and more.

The U.S. Constitution Belmont Abbey College’s mission statement says that we aim to give our students the kind of education “that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, to succeed professionally, to become responsible citizens, and to be a blessing to themselves and to others.” How can our students become responsible citizens if they aren’t knowledgeable about their country’s system of government, or the principles upon which our nation was founded? Our new core course on the U.S. Constitution thus aims to familiarize

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

23


Jane Austin

students with the principal ideas or philosophies which inspired the American Founding and which helped shape the government under which we live today; to enable them to understand and discuss the purpose, operation and interaction of the three branches of the U.S. Government; and to make them aware of the ways in which political parties and interest groups influence the passing of legislation and the formulation of government policies. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, the primary texts in this course include American Government and Politics: Deliberation, Democracy, and Citizenship by Joseph M. Bessette and John J. Pitney, Jr.; Readings in American Government edited by Mary P. Nichols and David K. Nichols; The Declaration of Independence; the Articles of Confederation; James Madison’s Vices of the Political System of the United States; selections from the Records of the Constitutional Convention; selections from the Federalist Papers; Tocqueville’s “Why Democratic Nations Show a More Ardent and Enduring Love for Equality Than for Liberty”; George Washington’s Farewell Address, and more.

previous introductory English courses in the old core, have been replaced by “Rhetoric I and II.” As the name implies, this twocourse sequence is built upon the foundation of classical Rhetoric, one of the seven original liberal arts. Developed by Greeks and Romans of the classical period, this is the course of

“The soul of education is the education of the soul.” Pope Pius XI

Rhetoric I and II Finally, I would like to focus especially on perhaps the most emblematic (and some might say radical) change made to the Abbey’s core: the new/old way that writing is now being taught. To begin with, “Composition” and “Argumentative Prose,” the two

24 CROSSROADS

study that not only gave rise to the timeless eloquence of Cicero, Augustine, Dante, and Shakespeare, but also animated the writings of America's Founding Fathers. Dr. Angela Miss, an Associate

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Professor of English who is in charge of writing instruction at the Abbey, explains the rationale for going back to this all-but-forgotten method of writing instruction: “Rhetoric formed the center of liberal education for two and a half millennia, and through the nineteenth century, it was regarded as one of the most important disciplines taught in college. With the advent of the twentieth century, however, the emphasis placed on rhetorical study diminished, and so, accordingly, did our ability to communicate well in both spoken and written discourse. “Perhaps the most troubling consequence resulting from the neglect of rhetorical study can be seen in the way contemporary speakers and writers so often refuse the ethical obligations that accompany language use. As we introduce Belmont Abbey students to the rhetorical paideia, they will learn the habits of reading and writing necessary to understand and communicate the Truth.” Some of our fellow educators—as well as some parents and students—might call this “retro” approach to writing instruction naive, impractical, and out of touch with the demands of the 21st century job market. We respectfully beg to differ. Indeed, we submit that the time-proven pedagogical techniques we’re reinstituting will better prepare our students for success in their career and life. In an interview about the new

Winter 2012


core in the last edition of Crossroads, Dr. Carson Daly made this very point: “Since many high schools have abdicated their responsibility in teaching how to write and speak, such an approach is not only sorely needed, but will also make our students better candidates for employment after they graduate. In survey after survey, employers say that the top two abilities they are looking for in job candidates —and not finding—are the ability to speak and write clearly. In the current, tough job market, I believe that our focus on helping our students to speak and write well will help prepare our students for employment, for further study, and for life after college.” These aren’t the only benefits Abbey students will reap from the study of Rhetoric I and II. In the same interview, Dr. Daly says: “Studying Rhetoric I and II will also give students another advantage. It will help them to focus not only on expressing themselves, but also to think first of the audience to whom they are speaking or writing. This will help our students become more thoughtful writers and speakers…Composition can sometimes be taught almost exclusively as ‘self-expression,’ but the beauty of Rhetoric is that it always requires the speaker or writer to be, in a sense, a man or woman for others.” (Classical Rhetoric as an antidote for narcissism? What a deliciously novel old idea.) Important to the success of any course on writing is the anthology of writings that is used as a model for students. Here, the Abbey has made yet another significant change. It has replaced anthologies with titles like Making Literature Matter and The Writer’s Presence with an inspired new/old anthology of its own, The Belmont Abbey College Reader, edited by the

Winter 2012

aforementioned Dr. Angela Miss. In this book, Abbey students will encounter Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave, Demosthenes’ The First Philippic (Oration IV), Cicero’s In Defense of Titus Annius Milo, selections from Aesop’s Fables, and excerpts from St. Augustine’s The City of God—along with poems by Byron, stories by Flannery O’Connor, speeches by Winston Churchill, as well as the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., and, Mother Teresa. Dr. Miss explains why the Rhetoric Committee selected the writings they did, saying, “Many anthologies that are created for first-year writing courses focus on ‘contemporary issues.’ At the Abbey, we want our students to contemplate the ‘eternal issues.’ We want them to read about ideas that heighten their understanding of the past, present, and future.” We also hope to foster in our students the forgotten habits of deep reading and truly thoughtful writing. And so our dedicated teachers go the extra mile to help individual students fully comprehend the readings, to select good topics for their essays, and to work through various drafts of those essays. They also helpfully point out grammatical errors and logical fallacies. And they offer encouragement. So there you have it—a brief overview of Belmont Abbey College’s exciting new core curriculum. We hope more than just Abbey students can learn something from it. Ed Jones is the Abbey’s director of marketing and the editor of Crossroads. An edited version of this article was published online by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy: www.popecenter.org.

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

25


26 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


The Abbey’s Simon Donoghue Presents

A More Complex Portrait of

Thomas More Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

27


H

e was the quintessential Renaissance man. The “man for all seasons.” Humanist. Philosopher. Lawyer. Author. Diplomat. Politician. Statesman. Loyal friend of Erasmus, and faithful servant of Henry VIII to the end, he would maintain. Loving husband. Father. Martyr. Saint. He was erudite. Sardonically funny. Ascetic. Lustful (he secretly wore a hairshirt crawling with vermin to counteract his concupiscence). Virtuous. Ardently Catholic (he once considered abandoning his legal career and becoming a monk). “Liberal” about some issues (women’s education, for example). Inflexible about others. He was, in a word, multi-faceted. But on the stage and screen, Thomas More has been portrayed somewhat one-dimensionally– including in Robert Bolt’s famous play and movie, “A Man for all Seasons.” At least, that’s what Belmont Abbey College’s Simon Donoghue, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Abbey Players, thinks. “He’s a lot more complex than the ways he’s been portrayed a lot of the time,” Donoghue told the Gaston Gazette. Which in part explains why Donoghue felt compelled to write— and act in—a new one-man play about Thomas More, aptly entitled “MORE.” The play premiered at Belmont Abbey’s Haid Theatre this fall, with Donoghue performing in the title role on three consecutive evenings.

And on three consecutive evenings, the audience’s reaction was the same: a standing ovation.

A 16th Century More Vs. A 20th Century “Man For All Seasons” Don’t get Donoghue wrong. He admires Robert Bolt’s play and movie a great deal. In fact, Donoghue has staged and acted in Bolt’s play here at the Abbey three times. Despite his admiration for Bolt’s work, however, he thinks Bolt’s depiction of More the man is problematic. “Bolt portrays More as strictly a man of conscience,” says Donoghue. “However, More thought of himself as being responsible first and foremost to God, not to his own conscience, and second, to 1500 years of Christian history. [In his eyes] tradition, or custom, which includes revelation, all militated against [King Henry VIII’s] actions. “And so it is not that More sees himself as standing alone opposed to those actions. He sees himself as being within the mainstream, and it is Henry and Cranmer and the rest of them who are moving out of the mainstream, and who are putting their souls in danger. “Heretics by definition are taking themselves out of communion with the Truth. So he sees them as doing

“When Erasmus calls More ‘a man for all seasons,’ there's a slight edge to it.”

28 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

something very dangerous not just to their own souls, but ultimately, to the souls of everyone around them. In his language, they are putting other people’s souls in peril. “The idea of eternal separation from God is a much livelier concept in the 16th century than it may be in our current society, for whatever reason,” Donoghue continues. “Heresy is also political. It undermines the state. It undermines the community. It undermines all sorts of things. “I really do like Bolt’s play. I have to keep saying that. I think it’s terrific in terms of its characters, and so on. But ultimately, it’s about a 20th century Thomas More. After World War II, the question of individual conscience and individual responsibility is very much to the fore because of the experiences in Europe. Bolt was also drawing very heavily on existentialism–the idea that we are only authentic when we are true to ourselves, and that ultimately, we are the only thing that we can in fact be true to. “There’s a moment in ‘A Man for all Seasons’ where Bolt has More saying, ‘There’s a part of me that I can't do it. I can’t do it.’ And the more that I read and thought about it, that would simply mean that what More was doing was sort of an assertion of self-will. And that is not was he was doing or saying. What he was really saying was, ‘No, you [Henry and his underlings] can’t do this, because it is against the teachings of Christ and His Church.’”

Profound Pathos Leavened By Humor “MORE” opens with Thomas More on his knees in prayer at 3:00 a.m. on the morning of his execution. When he’s finished praying, he rises to his feet, and proceeds to reflect on his life and times, sharing intimate stories and remembrances with the audience,

Winter 2012


as if he is talking with a good friend. It doesn’t take long for the audience to get a taste of More’s mordant sense of humor. Speaking of the Bishop of Rochester’s execution, More says, “His head was off with one stroke, which was a mercy. Too many times it is simply butchery, with a nervous headsman requiring several blows to accomplish his work. (smiles) I suppose it is only to be expected. How can the poor wretches practice?” By intermixing such leavening moments of humor with other moments of profound pathos—and virtually every other kind of emotion in between—Donoghue artfully captures the full range of emotions one would expect of such a noble and complex man. Particularly poignant are More’s prayers as the hour of his execution nears: “Give me the grace, Good Lord, gladly to be thinking of God, piteously to call for His help. To lean into the comfort of God…Gladly to bear my purgatory here. To be joyful in tribulations. To walk the narrow way that leads to life.” The play ends with More’s last words: “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” How was Donoghue able to “channel” Thomas More so masterfully in his scriptwriting, as well as in his performance? Could it be because he felt some kind of kinship with the man? “No,” he says flatly. “He’s a complicated person. When Erasmus calls More ‘a man for all seasons,’ there’s a slight edge to it,” says Donoghue. “He doesn't really mean that More is somebody that all ages will find attractive. He means that More adapts himself to whatever circumstance he finds himself in. Which isn’t the same thing.” Donoghue gives this example to illustrate his point:

Winter 2012

Margaret Roper rescues her father's severed head from being thrown away. Painting by Ford Madoy Brown,19th Century.

“I think that More would have been…okay…with Catherine [of Aragon] accepting an annulment, because I think he was, above all, a lawyer. And he looked at it and thought that if this would have avoided everything that followed, maybe it’s a small price to pay.” Of course, there were some matters on which Thomas More refused to compromise. “I think in the end he had to

CROSSROADS

reconcile things that we no longer find acceptable,” Donoghue continues. “Like the idea of persecution for religion. Of course, More himself is persecuted, but as somebody said to me, ‘Doesn’t he ever stop to consider the irony that two years earlier, he was putting people in the Tower for heresy, or that he was persecuting people for religious purposes?’ The answer is no he didn’t, probably, because he knew he was right.”

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

29


“His is not a tolerant age. Again, he burns [six] people at the stake for heresy. So no, I don’t feel a kinship with him there,” Donoghue says with a wry smile. “I remember doing a run-through of the play and saying to Jill Bloede [Assistant Professor of Fine Arts], who was watching it, ‘What do you think?’ And she said, ‘Oh, I love him.’ And I said, ‘But what about the part where he’s having people burned at the stake?’ And she said, ‘I didn't take that seriously.’ And I said, ‘Well, I think the people he burned took it seriously!’” Donoghue says ruefully. “On the other hand, he is an admirable figure and he’s extremely charismatic,” Donoghue continues. “Only people who never met him hated him–like Luther. The best jokes in the play are his. He’s very funny, very witty. He had a great relationship with his wife—she gave back as good as she got, and they had fun teasing each other. The side of him that I find most attractive is that he’s a terrific father for girls. He educated his daughters superbly and encouraged them to the life of the mind at a time when [that was not the norm].”

promising students. So the timing for the project seemed “...He’s a terrific father for propitious. Perhaps this explains girls. He educated his why Donoghue’s daughters superbly and scriptwriting and his acting in encouraged them to the life of the title role resonate so powerfully. He says he wrote the mind at a time when [that the play in just six weeks, and was not the norm].” wasn’t intimidated by the task of capturing More’s language and complex character accurately. So where does “MORE” go from here? “Hopefully, it’s going to tour,” Donoghue says. “There’s already been interest expressed by some colleges and some groups–different Thomas More societies, for example. I also think it would be nice to film the play for someone like EWTN. But of course, to do that would require some time. But that’s what I’d like to see happen to it, simply because it would be good PR for Belmont Abbey College–it would help get the school’s name out there. My publisher is going to get it in a couple of weeks, and hopefully he’ll pick it up and publish it. But I’d like to see it associated with Belmont Abbey, and at some point I’d actually like to direct another actor in it. I’d rather have somebody else do the acting, Thomas More bidding his daughter Margaret Roper farewell. because visually, I’m not Painting by Edward Matthew Ward, 19th Century. More, and there are some people I know who I think The Timing Of Donoghue was once a Benedictine could do it and who would be very good The Play Seemed monk himself. Donoghue also happens in the role.” Propitious to be an expert on the Tudor era – he With any luck, Simon Donoghue’s has done extensive reading on the More was 57 years old when he was remarkable new play about the “man for period throughout his academic career. executed. Donoghue happens to be 57 all seasons” will be edifying and And Belmont Abbey College has a new as well. As a young man, More was inspiring audiences for many seasons to Thomas More Scholarship for taught by Benedictine monks, and come.

30 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


“MORE” A play about Thomas More By Simon Donoghue It is early morning, July 6, 1535, the day of More’s execution. He is 57 years old, and has been in prison for a year. The confinement has taken its toll. By this point More had become completely gray, acquired a beard and was very pallid, but in the interest of the earlier sections of the play the beard should be omitted. At rise, More is kneeling in prayer. A bell strikes three. He finishes, and stands. It has come at last. When they brought word to my friend John Fisher two weeks ago that he was to die that same morning, they awakened him from a sound sleep with the news that the execution would take place at nine. It was barely five. Fisher stared at them for a moment, then said, “In that case, I would like to sleep a bit longer, gentlemen,” and rolled back over on his pallet. But my servant Holden told me that he later asked for a fresh shirt and decent gown, “for today,” he told his own man, “today is my wedding day.” The bishop of Rochester was so feeble that he was carried to the scaffold in a chair. It isn’t much of a distance to the block, only a few yards, but Fisher was so weakened by this place that he was incapable of even so short a walk. I am told that the crowd made noise at his appearance, thinking he already looked as one dead. His head was off with one stroke, which was a mercy. Too many times it is simply butchery, with a nervous headsman requiring several blows to accomplish his work. (smiles) I suppose it is only to be expected. How can the poor wretches practice? And now I am informed that Fisher’s head, stuck on a pike for all of London to see, has regained its color; indeed, he is now ruddy. (stands) I wonder how the King has taken this news? The skies have been filled with omens these past few years, and the people say it is because the King has turned his back upon God. Which is not how he sees it, of course. (crosses DR) I did make one joke a few days ago. A barber was provided to cut my hair, but I sent him away. I never took much trouble with my appearance, and really, now . . .what is the point? But I told the barber, “The King has taken out a lawsuit on my head, and until the matter is resolved I shall spend no further cost upon it.” (if the audience laughs, MORE does as well; if they do not:) No, he didn’t see the joke, either. (to the audience) I am glad to have this company. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

31


32 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


Meet A Brilliant Storyteller Who Puts Her

Faith in Films. Meet Barbara Nicolosi, Hollywood screenwriter, script consultant, professor of cinema, and Founder of Act One, a program that trains Christians for careers as Hollywood writers and executives. Nicolosi recently visited Belmont Abbey College to deliver a talk sponsored by the Abbey’s Campus Ministry. During her visit, she sat down with Crossroads to discuss the current state of storytelling in American films and other media (woeful), and whether a Catholic college like Belmont Abbey College might be able to help improve the situation (hopeful). We hope you enjoy our exchange.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

33


Let’s begin with a two-part question: 1) What made you want to be a storyteller?; and 2) what made you want to be a storyteller in Hollywood? What made me want to be a storyteller? I was good at it. And I think you’re drawn to things you’re good at. I’ve just finished reading a biography of Monica Seles in which she says, “When I was five years old, I figured out that I could hit a tennis ball against the wall in a way that nobody else around me could. So I just couldn’t stop doing it.” My first play was in the second or third grade and I received my first writing award in the fifth grade. I had probably written ten plays by the time I was in high school. So I don’t know if I ever “decided” to be a storyteller, I just found myself doing it. And what happens in school is that people find out who does what well and I was in a small Catholic [elementary and middle] school, and the nuns would constantly say, “You write the entertainment.” That

34 CROSSROADS

prayer a lot in Hollywood!” [Laughter] happened all the way through, and then when I got to high school and I got into Hollywood is not for everyone. But drama, it was the same. Someone we Christians need to be involved in the would say, “You write the class play,” culture at all levels, and the nature of it or whatever. is that if you get good, then you move to the next level. It’s like baseball. If So again, I don’t know that you can you’re hitting well, then they’re going “decide” to be an artist in that sense. to bump you up. So if you’re engaged Talent shows up early, and this career in this, and you have talent and then has an aspect of talent to it. My sister is drive, you find yourself moving up. a singer. [A professional opera singer, in fact.] She didn’t decide to be a singer – she just started singing and people It seems like Hollywood would be a kept making her sing. pretty frightening, intimidating place to just pick up and move to all alone. Now to answer your second Did you have any friends already question: What made me want to take there to welcome you and show you my storytelling to the level of the ropes? Hollywood? I was with the Daughters of Saint Paul [a convent in Boston] for 9 1/2 years, and we spent our time No, I didn’t. When I went to praying for the Hollywood, I knew media. I used to pray no one. So that was a for professionals in huge incentive for the industry who starting the Act One “Believing that would affirm the program. When we people are on a Truth, and hope. started Act One, we journey and Then one day I came wrote a letter to thirty out of the convent people who we knew that they have and I said, “Why not were writers with to grow and me? Why are we credits in Hollywood learn is a huge Christians always who were Christians. conceding this most We said to them that part of the powerful territory in we wanted to create impulse for the culture to people some kind of who don’t share our networking, sharing wisdom perspective?” So I mentoring through said, “I’m going to organization for the storytelling. try and throw my hat next generation. All in the ring and see thirty people wrote Catholic what happens.” And, back and said, “I colleges have you know, God want to be part of that embedded in doesn’t waste this, because I was anything. I remember alone.” Then we them – the kind starting every day in started having of pastoral Hollywood saying, meetings of the group concern that “God, I’m just called Intermission, showing up today. which was one of the would say, ‘How Use me as you earliest Christian can we help the would.” One of my ministry people of our good friends said, organizations in “God’s not going to Hollywood, 16-17 time?’” waste that, because years ago, and the he doesn’t hear that reaction was

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


universal. People would walk in and see 200 other Christians and start to cry. They said, “I thought I was alone.” So did you hold your meetings in Hollywood’s equivalent of the catacombs – to avoid being spotted and persecuted? [Laughter] No, but we never created a directory of members, because we were afraid it would become a black list. And there’s still some of that fear present today. Less, though. As the Boomers go away and the Gen Xers come to power, that fear is going away. The Boomers are so dogmatic. Yes, one reads stories about fine actors like Patricia Heaton [former co-star of Everybody Loves Raymond] being denied roles because of her pro-life, Christian beliefs.

Flannery O’Connor once said this: “A people is known not by its statements or statistics, but by the stories it tells.” What do you think our current stories in film, on TV, etc. tell us about the American people? What do you think our stories tell us about our ability to even tell a good story? I would say that the most obvious marker culturally is the lack of story. Take, for example, the whole reality TV phenomenon. Most of the “reality” shows are driven by competition. I don’t mind that in a lot of respects, because I think it’s at least tending towards excellence…In other words, you see a show like American Idol, and in the end, it’s about a whittling down towards excellence. Even Project Runway – in the end, if you can’t sew and if you’re not a good visionary, you’re not going to win it. Again, it whittles

down. Then there’s Top Chef and Amazing Race and even Survivor. In some sense, they’re all about achievement on some level. Of course, some of these “reality” shows are very lame and stupid… But the reality show phenomenon has supplanted in people the ability to tell a good story. And yet human beings are the kind of beings who need story. We seek it. It’s how we learn. But nobody is teaching storytelling right now. There are no storytellers, really, or there are very few in this industry. Most of the projects I look at, most of the scripts I look at – they’re bad stories on a story level. They’re not bad morally, except that bad art is a moral problem. But they don’t have a good beginning. They don’t have a

Oh yes, all of them have had that happen. I remember there was a gentleman at a major studio who we invited to Act One early on, and he said to me, “Wait a minute, is this a Christian thing?” And I said yes. And he said, “Well, I’m not going to do anything to help Christians move ahead in Hollywood.” As it happened, though, we ended up convincing him to come to a couple of our meetings, and he had a sister who had cancer. He told us about it and we prayed for his sister, and he was so touched, that he kind of had a huge change in his thought. So that says something about Christians moving into settings where there aren’t a lot of us. We have to go into these settings, and we have to kind of patiently be authentic, and then gradually people will say, “Oh well, you’re not like the other Christians. You’re different – I like you and you like me.” So it’s a patient process working in a business that’s antithetical. It’s not just indifferent, it’s antithetical in many aspects.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

35


clever character. They don’t have high enough stakes. Take a look at Aesop. Aesop was the basic storyteller. His stories have high stakes, and they are economical, ironic, karma-driven morality tales – with quirky characters and humor. These elements are the core of story. I don’t see people knowing how to do that anymore. And I think that’s coming from problems in the academy. I think that the academy abandoned the canon of Western civilization literature in favor of more culturally-driven, experiential things. But there’s also the culture that doesn’t want to say, “This is good and that is bad” any more, or “This is ugly and that is beautiful,” or “This is excellent and that is banal,” because those would be “value judgments.” Artists need limits and they need elitism. Artists need to be told good job versus better job. If everybody’s afraid to say “This is a good job, but that is a better job,” then we’re not giving any guidance at all, and then it’s all one. It’s all this kind of muck. So what we’re

36 CROSSROADS

basically reduced to saying is, well, “I like that…I got something out of it, it made me feel something.” But this is reducing everything to the lowest common denominator. Also, the storytelling impulse comes out of a belief in immortality and a conviction that I’m connected to other people. So I want to share with them something that I’ve learned or seen. If you don’t have any kind of pastoral urgency, then why be a storyteller, you know? I think the storytelling impulse is coming out of a desire to help and share. You have to: a) believe you know something worth passing on; and b) you have to care. So there are so many things that are wrapped up in this… One last thing I would say is that a story is a journey. It’s a patient process where someone goes on a journey with characters. Think about any book. You meet the characters, you take them to heart, you then travel with them, and it's a journey. Well, in a culture that wants everything fast, there’s no time for that journey anymore. So you have the impulse not to have a journey in

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

story anymore. But people still want it when it’s there. Think of the success of things like Harry Potter and Twilight with young people. What are these but journeys, long journeys with characters. So I think that it’s just that we’ve been through a really bad patch, and I’m hoping that maybe Catholic education could be the place to bring back storytelling. It’s interesting you should say that. It just so happens that Belmont Abbey College has taken some steps with our new core curriculum to do precisely that: bring back storytelling. For example, in our new Rhetoric courses, our professors and students are using a new anthology called The Belmont Abbey College Reader, which contains, among many other great things, several of Aesop’s Fables. And our students are using those tales as inspiration to write fables of their own. What else can we at a Catholic college like Belmont Abbey offer to help produce more and better storytellers?

Winter 2012


So, what else does a Catholic college have to offer? First of all, a Catholic college has the conviction that there is truth. That there is a better way to live and a worse way to live. That there are things that are healthy for the human person, and that the human person is on a journey. We’re trying to become our best self – as St. Irenaeus says, “man fully alive.” So believing that people are on a journey and that they have to grow and learn is a huge part of the impulse for sharing wisdom through storytelling. Catholic colleges have that embedded in them – the kind of pastoral concern that would say, “How can we help the people of our time?” Well, the most effective way to help people is through story. It’s not through overt articulation of catechetical principles. And we know that from our Lord Himself who over and over again when he was asked a question would revert to telling a story. It wasn’t that he didn’t know the answers! He knew that story allows people to be safe, and also stories are fun and they're entertaining and they’re interesting and they’re memorable. Good “stuff ” gets stuck in you with a good story. So there’s the pastoral urgency impulse, and also the conviction that there are some good things to say, and that we have wisdom to share. Also, I think that though it’s tenuous now in Catholic colleges, some kind of connection to philosophy allows storytellers to frame their journey – in the sense of their stories having a beginning, middle, and an end. There’s a progression here. There’s a basic rhetorical concept that comes from the study of philosophy. And I think that Catholics – even though we’ve lost most of it…most of our kids don’t study philosophy anymore – but it’s kind of embedded in us as a people. Aristotle says a story is man in action, with events connected by necessity, where each event pushes the next event. You need some sense of philosophy to even understand what necessity is. So I think

Winter 2012

“I'm hoping that maybe Catholic education could be the place to bring back storytelling.”

that could be tremendously helpful insofar as Catholic schools are teaching any kind of philosophical tools. That will help. I think finally, in the end, the Catholic Church is a great tradition in the arts. We used to lead the arts. The Church used to be the place where people would come to see the best artistic work being done. You go now to Rome and you look at the Pieta and you look at St. Peter’s and you look at the Sistine Chapel, and the idea that the Catholic Church produced those things is mind-blowing to me today. But then, I go to Sunday Mass and I hear a lame hymn like “Gather us in,” led by Doris and Stan, who don't have good voices, and there’s somebody on the organ who can barely play… and the liturgical environment looks sloppy and blah – the altar server looks like he slept in his robe… There’s just no beautiful stuff left in the Church in the sense of the arts. The arts in the Church are awful. We have to call it what it is. I can’t believe that the same Church produced the Sistine Chapel. If we went to our pastors today and said, “Let’s build something more beautiful than this,” they would shake their heads and say, “We can’t afford that.” Well, you know what? The poor Church of the Middle Ages built the great cathedrals. They were worse off than we are, people! So we think we can’t do it anymore? Anyway, we’ve made a real bad turn in the Church in the last 40 years in saying that we should be imitating the folksy, the populist… For some reason, the Church decided at some point that folk music was the way that we were

CROSSROADS

going to go. You know, the rest of the world has moved on from that, and yet we’re keeping the '70s alive in the Catholic Church. It’s time to let it go! [Laughter.] Again, I think we’ve got to get some elitism back. This would be what I call the Abel impulse. In the Bible, Abel gave his first fruits to God. Cain gave the sloppy seconds. We want to give God our first fruits, the best that we can do – as a service to each other and as a sign. Jesus said that people will see the good that you do and give glory to your Father in heaven. I don’t think anybody who has strayed into a Catholic Church and has witnessed most Sunday Masses would give glory to the Father in heaven. They would say, “Why are these people here? This is so lame.” Yes, as one wag has put it, “How can we point ourselves to the Kingdom’s great Banquet, if its foretaste is spread out before us with all the beauty of a McDonald’s counter?” Exactly. The present pope said that the arts should create the climate for prayer. They should bring the entire community onto the same page. People are walking into the Church from their diverse lives, they’re confused, they’re running, they’re whatever…But when they come into the Church they should experience music that would put them all on the same page. What is that page? The pope says it's a dual sense of our own unworthiness and our need for God, and the sovereignty and majesty and glory of God. If we only have the first part – the sense of our own unworthiness – then people will go kill

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

37


themselves. They’ll be depressed. Right? On the other hand, if we only have the sovereignty of God, then people will be huffed and puffed up. They’ll think: “We’re on the winning team, and you’re not!” So we need both. The arts and the creation of the beautiful and the manifestation of the beautiful do that to people. I don’t see that happening in the Church these days. I was just at a Red Sox game last week. There’s more camaraderie in the crowd at a Red Sox game than there is at a typical Sunday Mass. And that's pathetic. But you can feel the camaraderie at a Red Sox game, and it’s tangible. And they even have rituals… Anyway, we have a long way to go before we dare point our finger at HBO and say, “How could you put that bad stuff out there?” We need to look in the mirror and say, “We are stuck in the banal and we are stuck in the cheap and the easy and the lame.” Somehow during the last few decades, it seems as though an allowable level of “Catholic shoddiness” has crept into almost everything: architecture, the way people dress for Mass, how they wander into Mass late, Catholic education…even the homiletics… Yes, the oratory is bad. I sometimes think, “What’s the deal, Father? Did you just think of that homily walking over here from the rectory?” So there’s no oratory – and that’s an art form. And the music is generally bad. It’s bad music badly done in most cases. At least it could be good music badly done or bad music well done! [Laughter] But for the most part we’re doing bad music badly done. And it’s inexcusable, this toleration of the mediocre… Pope Benedict said that when you look at the music in use in the Church today you have to conclude that the people of God are afflicted with the cult of the banal. That’s the pope saying that. So don’t give me a hard time! [Laughter]

38 CROSSROADS

formulas down people’s throats. That’s not what people want. And so at least insofar as pagan artists are sincerely trying to put their questions out there… John Paul II said they’re pursuing epiphanies of beauty, even if they wouldn’t say it that way. They’re trying to re-create their world as they see it in such a way that they’re communicating things like this: “This is what my world looks like. This is what it’s like for me to be a teenager in a broken family, and That's a great statement. And I think I’m trying to reproduce that in front of I have to say it’s true in my experience. I everybody, so we can see it together.” think maybe it’s because they’re more in Insofar as they are doing that, they are touch with their suffering than we are? doing a tremendous service. John Paul You know, we Christians see ourselves II said that the Church owes a debt of being victimized. Maybe they’re far gratitude to pagan artists of recent from God, so they’re suffering more years who have shown us with and that’s producing better stories…I compelling power what the world think there’s a great relationship without God looks like. I think that’s between suffering and art. I think that true. I think the pagans have shown us art is a way to survive. It’s a way to deal so well what the world without God with, or figure out, the world. Maybe looks like, that we Christians think we unfortunately, the have all of the answers, Christians are not so we’re not straining to showing well what the communicate or “I think world with God looks understand? Believe there's a like. me, art that comes from great the place of “I know all One last thing: the of the answers, so I’m pastoral urgency relationship now going to make a problem. If you see the between movie that tells you the world as the mission suffering field…like if you watch answers” isn’t art. It’s a Desperate Housewives whole different thing. and art. I and say, “Oh, my gosh, Flannery O'Connor think that poor souls. Poor souls. I said that Christian have to get to them art is a way artists wrestle in the somehow. I’m going to public square naked to survive. write a story that will with their demons and It's a way to get to them.” That’s wonder if they’re going probably an okay place to come out of it alive deal with, to begin. But think at all. How different is or figure instead if you watch that from this out, the Desperate Housewives mountaintop thing of and say, “You spawns of “We have it all together world.” Satan trying to poison and here it is”? That’s what makes so much my world and my Christian art bad. It’s kids!!!” That’s what I not about inciting see Christians doing. questions. It’s about More often than not, literally shoving our approach is not The evidence would seem to suggest that liberals are simply better storytellers than conservatives these days – in film, on TV, in literature, in newspapers, everywhere. It appears that liberals are funnier, darker, more adventurous, more able to live with – even revel in – ambiguity. If that’s at least somewhat accurate, why do you think it’s so?

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


compassion when we see errors, especially coming from Hollywood and the media. Our first response is to say, “You are ruining my world and my kids and my family!” So it’s anger. You don’t create good stories for people that you hate. So isn’t it funny that the pagans hate us less than we hate them? Because at least they’re creating story. What are we offering them? Angry screeds and lectures. Could part of the problem be that conservatives have a kind of overdeveloped inner moral censor that kills adventurousness in storytelling? “Oh, I can’t go there. That will be a near occasion of sin!” and so on. That’s a great point. I think another problem in why we’re not writing good work is that we are scandalized by sin. Jesus said blessed are they who are not scandalized by this stuff – you know, this human stuff. Flannery says what good is the Resurrection if there’s no need for it in the life in which we are living. In other words, you have to “go there” and show the effects of sin. Now, we have to figure out a way to create drama that shows the effects of sin, and sin itself, without being an occasion of sin. The secular people aren’t inhibited by that – and isn’t that our problem with them? You know, they show adultery in all of its so-called “attractiveness” and it becomes spectacle and it becomes problematic, because it’s a violation of the person’s dignity. Even the actor’s dignity – and actors do have dignity. But on our side, we don’t even want to know about the sin. Because we don’t even want to talk about sin. I was at a conference on Catholic writing at a Catholic university four years ago, and I asked the attendees this question: “How many of you would let your teenage kids gaze upon Michelangelo’s David in Florence?” They all kind of stared at me, and then one woman raised her hand and said,

Winter 2012

“I wouldn’t!” I said, “Okay, the problem is that you as a Catholic don’t know the difference between the David and pornography!” That’s the problem with a lot of us as Catholics today! Because the David is beautiful. Of that I am sure! It’s a great, great thing. But we’re so reactive in the Church right now. John Paul II said the problem is not nudity in art, it’s obscenity. Obscenity is nudity without story. So how about that from the pope? But how many Catholics do you know today who are kind of clinging desperately to be “the remnant” – how many of them would understand that? I find all of the time that Catholics say to me, “I want stories that are safe.” And I think, “Excuse me, the barbarians are coming over the mountains, they want to euthanize grandma, in case you’ve ever tuned in. So safe, cute, precious moments in film are not going to fill the bill right now!” But our people are clamoring for this fake stuff. It's what Flannery O’Connor called the overemphasis on innocence. And she said this overemphasis is inexcusable for Christians, because we are supposed to know what’s in the heart of men. If the storytelling is better on the pagan side, it’s because they accept sin and darkness. On our side, we are, in trying to survive… we’re denying the darkness. Now, I am not saying we need to

CROSSROADS

wallow in smut, but I am saying you cannot tell the story of King David without his adultery with Bathsheba. And if you sanitize that because you don’t want your child to hear about that sort of thing, you have now sinned. Because God is the one who gave us these stories. So Christians who want to sanitize even our own scriptures – this is perverse. Here’s a related question which perhaps comes at what we’ve been talking about at a different angle: Essayist Tony Woodlief recently wrote a piece entitled “Bad Christian Art,” and in it he says this: “I’m convinced that bad art derives, like bad literary theory, from bad theology. To know God falsely is to write and paint and sculpt and cook and dance Him falsely. Perhaps it’s not poor artistic skill that yields bad Christian art, in other words, but poor Christianity.” Is there something to what he’s saying here – that the root cause of so much bad Christian art is bad theology? I think there absolutely is something to what he’s saying. It’s what I’ve been saying. I think theology that wants an overemphasis on innocence has rendered the Cross of Christ moot, redundant and unnecessary. And that’s not what we believe. The Church insists

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

39


– insists – that even the resurrected Christ must be portrayed with His wounds. This came down to us with a recent statement from Rome, if I’m not mistaken. They said no Catholic church is allowed to portray the resurrected Christ without His wounds visible. Why? Because we know that that’s the mystery of the Christian redemption – that God can take this stuff that has been so wounded, and purify it and render it holy and beautiful, and yet it still remains what it is. I’m not sure I even know what a

40 CROSSROADS

Christian movie is. What is a Christian movie? I know what a beautiful movie is. I know what a beautiful story is. But a Christian one? Does that mean somebody somewhere in it is overtly saying, “Jesus, I give myself to you” and “Help me, God”? Is that what that means? Because that doesn’t happen in A Man for All Seasons. So is A Man for All Seasons not a Christian movie? How about Song of Bernadette? How about Tender Mercies? Are movies like Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments not Christian movies because they don’t have overtly Christian lines in them? In the recent movie Facing the Giants, which made $45 million in the Evangelical Christian subculture, the main character reads a Bible verse and then kneels down in this field – and the next thing you know, he gets a new truck, he gets a new job, his team wins the football game and then his infertile wife becomes pregnant. I hate that Catholics are siding with this kind of Prosperity Gospel stuff that Evangelicals are producing – again, this oversimplified banality. In the arts, we should be better than that. But our people are in a reactive mode, and they’re saying, “I don’t want sex and violence in my entertainment, in my movies.” So I think, “So you don’t want it in your Bible either – is that what you’re saying?” No, it’s not that. It’s not that they don’t want violence, because The Passion of the Christ was a huge hit with the Christians, right? And that was a very violent movie. It’s not that they don’t want sex and violence; it’s that they don’t want objectification

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

going on. They don’t want thoughtless, gratuitous sex and violence. But I think we’re not even articulate enough to make the distinction now. Very often, I’ll recommend some of the very best movies I know of, and people will say, “I couldn’t watch that movie because…” I’m thinking of the recent movie, The King’s Speech, which won the Oscar. It’s a powerful film, very beautifully done. I actually got castigated by a woman who sent me an email for recommending this movie on Relevant Radio, because there’s a scene where the doctor has his patient, the king, yell the f-word, right? Because the doctor is trying to make the king connect with his anger and help him make use of it to cure his stammering. Anyone with a brain knows what’s going on in this scene. And this is a great example of the non-gratuitous use of anger. There’s another movie called Of Gods and Men that just came out of France. There’s an f-word moment in that film where this monk realizes he might have to die, and he’s so angry that he’s going to become a martyr and it’s out of his control, and he says this word, and it’s beautiful – because of the context and because he’s a monk. But for some Christians to be so superficial…You know, people do say that word! I mean how ridiculous are we? We need to be grown-ups. I find this clamoring for sanitized life on the screen to be perverse, and in Christians kind of disgusting. And yet I get it all…the…time. This is the line Christians give me: “If you had children, you would not go around talking the way you do.” No, actually. I understand that some material is suitable for little kids and some isn’t, and they have a developmental stage and we have to be there to protect them. But do you not let your high school junior son read Crime and Punishment because that’s a book about vengeance and murder? I don’t suppose you’d let him read that, but yet he needs to. He

Winter 2012


needs to read The Brothers Karamozov and watch Dmitri wrestle with Grushenka, because this is a story about lust and this is the human condition, and the Church has always recognized that these are great, great stories for us. But we’re in a very weird place right now. This would kind of be my message to people: be careful about oversimplifying the complex reality of being a disciple in the 21st century. St. Augustine says in The City of God that evil is taking a complex reality and making it simple, just because it’s easier for you to live with it that way. So if you’re a 21st century disciple, you were chosen from all time to live now, with the Internet, and with the 24-hour media cycle and with cable TV, and if you are trying to live like it’s 1823 in your house, you’re missing your moment. You were not meant for 1823, you are meant for today. So I think we need to be much more careful and we need to roll up our sleeves and accept our moment and then commit ourselves to having our part in it, instead of doing this cavedwelling thing. So does the homeschooling movement worry you – at least in terms of that movement’s ability to produce good storytellers? I think the homeschooling movement would be healthy if it actually tended towards producing pastorally-motivated apostles for this time. Insofar as kids coming out of homeschools are just raring to go to save the people of their time because they have been in some sense preserved from, say, the burden of guilt, or from these nightmarish situations that a lot of people are growing up in, and they’ve had a broader or different education… If that education is correct, then they should come shooting out of the homeschool, almost frothing at the mouth to go to USC, or to go to NYU, or to throw their hat in the ring at NBC or wherever. I

Winter 2012

don’t necessarily see that. We don’t get a lot of homeschoolers applying to Act One. In fact, I get homeschoolers telling me “I really want to be an actor, but I would never go to Hollywood or New York to do it.” What are you doing, then? What are you thinking? I had a mother come up to me not long ago. She said, “My daughter wanted to be an actress, but we didn’t want her to lose her soul. So we talked her into going to nursing school instead.” I’m sorry, but this is fear – which Jesus said is useless. Tony Woodlief also writes in his essay, “Bad Christian Art”: “I confess that the best way to deter me from watching a movie is to tell me it’s ‘wholesome.’ This is because that word applied to art is a lie on its face, because insofar as art is stripped of the world’s sin and suffering it is not really whole at all...if we remember that theology is the knowing of God, we have to ask in turn why so many Christians know God so weakly that they need such wholesomeness in order for their faith to be preserved.... This, finally, is what worries me, that bad Christian art is a problem of demand rather than supply. What if a reinvigorated Church were to embed genuine faith in the artist’s psyche and soul, such that he need no longer wear it on his sleeve, such that he bear to see and to tell the world in its brokenness and beauty? Would Christian audiences embrace or despise the result?” That’s very good. Honestly, I have to tell you that I have people in the Church who are furious at me for saying that they should be making entertainment and story choices that are forcing them to go on a journey, that are transformational. They don’t want that, and they are very clear about that. “We want stories that are nonthreatening,” they say. But that’s not what stories are for!

CROSSROADS

John Paul II said the Church has always accepted that there is a prophetic aspect to the arts. And we need that. What does that mean – a prophetic aspect? Prophets shake things up. If you encounter a prophet, you go away trembling and angry and you want to cut his head off, or you want to throw away your life and change. That’s what real prophecy does to you. So John Paul II says the arts have a prophetic aspect and that’s why the Church needs them. And yet I get Christians saying to me, “I don’t want to be shaken up. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to be uncomfortable.” Well, you know what? You’re living half a human life, then. And this fear problem is not helping. It’s making the world think that we Christians are irrelevant. You know, when I saw Facing the Giants – the movie I mentioned earlier – for the “isn't it first time, I was in the company funny that of a Jewish the pagans agent from hate us less Hollywood. We saw it at a small than we screening. And hate them? like I said earlier, Because at everything has least been bad for the main character they're until at the end creating of the film, he reads a Bible story. What quote and then are we suddenly he gets a new job, he offering gets a new them? Angry truck, his team screeds and wins the championship, lectures.” and his infertile wife becomes pregnant. So we get out to the parking lot

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

41


In your upcoming film, Mary, Mother of the Christ, you presumably had to write dialogue for the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God. How were you able to handle that without treacly sentimentality, etc.?

afterwards, and the Jewish gentleman says to me, “I want some of that Jesus stuff!” And he started laughing. On the way home, he said, “You know, what are they thinking? I know Christians who have cancer. So what is that movie supposed to be about?” He’s basically saying that this kind of a story is a completely illusory fantasy. I saw a movie made last year about Saint Maria Goretti by some Catholics. It was a short project. And they didn’t show the rape attempt. They also didn’t show her attacker reading porn before he assaulted her. They didn’t want to even put the idea of pornography out there. This is a woman who is declared by the Church to be a martyr for preserving her sexual purity, and you filmmakers have just stripped her of her story because you are not comfortable with the idea that there is that kind of evil out there. Well then, don’t tell the story of Saint Maria Goretti. Because you are not up to it. You can’t deal with Saint Maria Goretti right now. I don’t know which saint you could deal with. Because they’re all pretty gritty. We’re supposed to be gritty people. We’re supposed to be real people. We’re supposed to be earthy, not prudes. So we’ve got a ways to go.

42 CROSSROADS

My main concern was to have Mary be a woman of her time, a real person – Mary and Joseph both – and yet she is somebody who is in love with God and who believes…God is as real to her as you are to me. That was the kind of defining quality of Mary in the movie – that God is an everpresent, absolutely real presence. But she’s a woman of her time. She’s got sand in her sandals and she’s got aches in her back and she’s got hunger pangs, and she’s confused about some things sometimes. God says to her: you’re going to be the mother of the Messiah. But then he proceeds to give her no roadmap at all. And she’s 15 years old! So that quality of young people – they’re very eager and very humbled – that’s what I brought to the table. But also, they’re not talking in psalms! [Laughter] She says, “He likes figs!” “The Messiah likes figs???” “I don’t know!” The interesting thing about the script is that it becomes funny every time you hit that human meeting the divine stuff – which is in the presence of their little four-year-old in front of them at every moment. The mystery of the Incarnation – the human and the divine in one. There’s a moment in the movie where Jesus as a little boy – he’s 4 1/2 – is up on a hill, and Joseph, who’s 21, and Mary, who’s 19, are watching Jesus. And Joseph says, “I think he’s praying.” And Mary says, “He would be.” And all of a sudden Jesus turns around holding up a lizard. And he says, “Look mom, a lizard!”

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

And they just laugh. It’s this moment of: that’s the mystery, isn’t it. He’s the Messiah, he’s the Son of God, but he’s in a little boy’s body now and he’s growing. And little boys like lizards. And for Mary and Joseph to be the first people to get at that mystery of God taking on humanity – that’s what the movie is hopefully trying to show. You know, I’m bringing to it nine years of Catholic theology and philosophy, so it’s different. Also, my co-writer is Flannery O’Connor’s godchild, Ben Fitzgerald. So Ben is all about images, standing way back here with big picture images and poetry. So we’ll see what happens. It’s kind of an experiment whether Hollywood will let something like this make it all the way intact. I don’t know yet. I’m hoping for it. Is it true that Al Pacino is in the movie? Yes, Al’s playing Herod, Luis Mandoki is set to direct, Peter O’Toole is playing Simeon, and Julia Ormond is playing Elizabeth. I think they’re recasting Mary right now. It’s supposed to be shot in Jordan. But I just read in the papers that “Jordan is about to pop” – and I said, “Oh, no!” because we already moved the location from Morocco because of the Libyan war…So we’ll see. Pray for us. What’s your favorite screenplay of all time? I have favorites in different genres and different areas. There are so many good ones. It’s kind of like asking, “What’s your favorite color in the rainbow?” My all-time most enjoyable movie that I find so profound and it just grows with me is a movie called Giant which was made in the '50s. It’s directed by George Stevens, and stars Liz Taylor and James Dean. I just love that story. It’s about a family and it’s about a marriage. I don’t know what it says about me that I’m obsessed with Giant, but I know every line in it.

Winter 2012


I think, though, that probably the young adults, and a good number of greatest screenplay of all time…I’m them are working. In fact, I think it going with Casablanca. I watched it would be very difficult to find a major production company or a studio or a recently with my husband. Every line is network place where there great, every character has an isn’t an Act One alum or arc in an amazing way, two or three present. every character makes a They’re all over town. I move. They’re all intelligible, they’re all went to a major studio for a thoughtful. meeting recently, Then in the and I was in the end, the main cafeteria, and all characters have of a sudden an to make such a Act Oner came hard choice. up and said, “The problems “Barbara! What of three little are you doing people don’t here?” And I amount to a hill of beans,” said, “I’m they say. I mean, in this pitching to some “I hate that generation it would be, executives here.” Catholics are “The problems of three And she said, little people are ALL that “Well, so-and-so siding with this matters!” [Laughter] But is working in kind of they make that great, great their office!” statement, “Where I have to Then, two more Prosperity go, you can’t follow.” And Act Oners came for Rick to leave Ilsa, and up. So there were Gospel stuff then she goes on and does three of them at that her duty. It’s an astounding one major studio. choice to make – even then, When we Evangelicals even with the Greatest started Act One are producing Generation. Everybody in 1999, we had wanted Rick to take Ilsa off no concept of – again, this with him, but he just can’t. those days ever oversimplified Because it’s a bad moral happening, where choice, and great there would be banality.” storytelling has great moral four or five Act choices. Oners over here or over there, or somebody’s on that show. But we have Do you see Christian writers, students now working on shows like directors and producers having more Hawaii Five–O, The Unit…and so many of an influence in Hollywood, thanks to Act One? others you can’t even keep track. This is going to be a stumbling block for some people, but we also have some Absolutely. A while ago, I would people on [one of the racier new have said that it’s hubristic of us to network shows which shall remain claim that we’ve had an impact, but we nameless]. Why? Because …I think have. Hollywood’s a small enough town that show is going to be something that a few thousand people, one way or other than what people think. On the other, can have a huge impact. And network primetime, it’s not going to be so, we’ve trained about a thousand

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

like it would be on Showtime or HBO. Hopefully, it’s going to be looking at the sexual revolution from Gen X’s eyes, saying what the heck was that all about? So there are three thoughtful Christians behind the scenes of that show, and it’s going to be interesting. But we don’t want to put the name of the show out there, because I know so many Christians that would immediately write us off – again, because of this problem of fear we’re having. They don’t understand that sometimes in the media today, when we Christians are still so much in the minority, the biggest thing we can contribute is what stays off the screen. You need people in the background who can veto things, who can find other ways. And maybe the victory was, “Wow, I kept the two 15-yearolds from sleeping together this weekbut I can’t say that, because that makes God want to throw up! I need to say it more cleverly, and in a way that can be heard, and more creatively.” But do we need Christians there trying to mitigate the darkness? Yes! We can’t facilitate objective evil, but if we can mitigate darkness, I think we have an obligation to. I think these are very interesting, complicated times. But I do know one thing. Any Christian who shows up at the gates of heaven alone does not get in. If you go in and say, “Here God, I kept my little three-member family safe and we lived in a cave…” That’s just not the Christian impulse. If you’re telling me you’re trying to protect your kids, okay, that’s one thing. But you should be preparing your kids just as much as you’re protecting your kids. John Paul II said this generation of Christians will have to atone for its failure to use the media to promote the Gospel. That’s our sin. You don’t use the media from the cave.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

43


Room At The Inn College-Based Maternity And After-Care Residential Facility On Belmont Abbey College Campus

The Abbey Makes National, International News With

First-Ever College-Based

Maternity Facility. Land donated by the monks of Belmont Abbey 44 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


On June 20, Belmont Abbey College held a ground-breaking ceremony to begin construction of the first college-based maternity and aftercare residential facility of its kind in the nation. The facility will serve single, pregnant college women who want to continue their educations throughout their pregnancy and beyond. News of the event made headlines in such diverse media outlets as the Associated Press, MSNBC, NPR, Rome Reports TV News Agency, The Huffington Post, EWTN, the Charlotte Observer, the National Catholic Register, and the Catholic News Herald. More than 200 people attended the ceremony, including Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life; David Bereit, National Campaign Director for 40 Days for Life; Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life of America; Jeannie Wray, Executive Director of Room At The Inn; the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte; Abbot Placid

Winter 2012

Solari, O.S.B., Abbot of Belmont Abbey and Chancellor of Belmont Abbey College; and Dr. Bill Thierfelder, President of the College. Putting the new maternity home on the campus of a Catholic college is a “bold move,” President Bill Thierfelder told the Charlotte Observer. He described the project as “a natural extension of pro-life philosophy.” “You’re not just talking philosophy anymore,” Thierfelder continued. “This is something real. You need to meet people where they are and help them to take the next good step.” The 10,000-square-foot home is being built on four acres of land donated by the monks of Belmont Abbey. It will be funded and operated by Room At The Inn, a Catholic nonprofit organization headquartered in Charlotte. The facility is being hailed as a new beacon of hope for an underserved population of young women who are

CROSSROADS

The facility is being hailed as a new beacon of hope for an underserved population of young women who are often presented with a false choice: either having their baby or getting their college education.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

45


often presented with a false choice: either having their baby or getting their college education. “Many young women in college facing unexpected pregnancies believe they have to give up everything to keep their babies, but they don’t,” said Room At The Inn Executive Director Jeannie Wray. “Room At The Inn can give these young women the opportunity to continue their educations, have their babies, make a positive impact on society and fulfill their hopes and dreams.”

“We not only say that we believe in the sanctity of human life, but we are willing to take a concrete action to support that and assist in protecting innocent life.”

Pictured from left: Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., Bishop Peter J. Jugis, and Father Frank Pavone

Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B.

Abbot Placid Solari described the monks’ donation of the land as an opportunity for the Abbey community to show the importance of “putting your money where your mouth is.” “We not only say that we believe in the sanctity of human life,” he told EWTN News, “but we are willing to take a concrete action to support that and assist in protecting innocent life.” Women can stay at the home for up to two years for free and don’t have to be Catholic or students at Belmont Abbey College to qualify. They can commute to colleges or universities in

46 CROSSROADS

Father Timothy Reid blesses the foundation of the new facility.

the greater Charlotte area or take transferable credits at the Abbey. The new facility will have two residential wings—one for maternity and one for after-care—that will be home to 15 mothers, 15 infants and 8 toddlers. Expectant mothers interested in Room At The Inn must go through

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

several months of counseling before being accepted into the free program, which Wray describes as “fairly stringent” and filled with classes and counseling to prepare young mothers with the skills they need to be successful in life. Required classes include parenting, cooking, meal

Winter 2012


News of the event made headlines in such diverse media outlets as the Associated Press, MSNBC, NPR, Rome Reports TV News Agency, The Huffington Post, EWTN, the Charlotte Observer, the National Catholic Register, and the Catholic News Herald.

.com planning, financial planning and a nondenominational Bible study.

A providential alliance; the birth of a life-saving idea In a recent interview with Crossroads, Abbot Placid described how the idea for the new facility was conceived: “When I was asked to join the Board at Room At The Inn [in 2001], they were in the middle of a strategic planning initiative to determine what their future direction should be. The strategic initiative showed, in a way that surprised some people, that the group that has the highest abortion rate is college-aged women. Yet there were no college-based programs for these women. That was the genesis of this project.” Soon thereafter, Abbot Placid told

Winter 2012

Room At The Inn’s Board that the monks of Belmont Abbey might be able to donate the land needed for the facility. Then, in 2004, after the development of a long-range plan, the Abbot spoke with his fellow monks, who agreed “this was something they wanted to do.” “We had the land and the project fit the mission of a Catholic college,” Abbot Placid says. “So the whole idea sort of grew organically out of the original strategic study.” The Abbot thinks the project will be beneficial for the Abbey community in a number of important ways. And although he has high hopes, he’s not expecting miracles—at least not right away. “I’m not expecting the entire College community to rush out and unanimously offer themselves. But there are volunteer opportunities,” he

CROSSROADS

says. “I think for our students, it will be another way to impress on them a proper and healthy response to the question of unintended pregnancies. “Concerning the abortion issue in this country, one of the best ways to attack the licensing of abortion on demand—in addition to pointing out its absurdity, and, I think, its opposition to the fundamental values of our country—is to provide concrete material support for women who are otherwise left with no resources and therefore feel they have no choice,” Abbot Placid maintains. “I also hope—and I think that it’s actually beginning—that other colleges and universities, whether they’re Catholic or not, will see what we’re doing here and do projects analogous to this on their own. “It’s the young people who give us the biggest hope for changing the current unconstitutional laws, I believe, on abortion,” Abbot Placid concludes. “Because I think young people are reacting to the emptiness of the generation who has pushed abortion as somehow a good thing for women. Younger people have seen through the falsity of that. And so the more they can be educated that there’s a better way to deal with this crucial issue, that may change things. These young people are the future. College students are the future.”

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

47


CAMPUS NEWS

Dr. Robert Preston 1931-2011

“Unfailingly a Gentleman” D

r. Robert Preston, Abbey alumnus, beloved professor of philosophy, and ultimately, president of the College (1995-2001), passed away on August 20, 2011. He was 80 years old. Preston was born in Richmond, Virginia on June 6, 1931. After graduating from Belmont Abbey College in 1953, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict, and then worked as a reporter and feature writer for the Richmond Times Dispatch. For a time, he was a Benedictine monk, and seriously considered the priesthood. After he discerned his true vocation, he went on to receive his doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America, and also did postgraduate studies at Harvard and Carnegie Mellon. During his distinguished academic career, Preston taught and served as an administrator at many colleges and universities, including John Carroll University, St. Louis University, Bellarmine College, Loyola University, Sacred Heart University and Benedictine University. In 1995, he was chosen to be president of Belmont Abbey College. His timing was providential. “It was because of his service as president, and because of his contributions on earlier, critical

48 CROSSROADS

occasions in the College’s history that Belmont Abbey College still exists today,” Abbot Placid Solari told The Crusader, the Abbey’s student newspaper. “He was quite a scholar,” Helen Preston, his wife of 53 years, said to the Gaston Gazette. “Universities invited him to look at their academic programs and to design for them some of their academic programs and their faculty handbooks. When he did his post-

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

doctorate work, particularly at Harvard, he concentrated on that. The different schools wanted his expertise.” However, Preston “very much made himself available for the students, as this was his mission, to be a teacher,” Helen Preston continued. Dr. Preston taught a full load of philosophy courses at the Abbey this past spring semester, and one of his students, Alexis Hess, shared this remembrance with The Crusader: “He did more than teach us that our moral choices would form our character. He also provided us with an example of a good man, a scholar, a father, and a husband. He spoke of his family and of his wife often during class, and you could tell how much he loved them. I feel so blessed to have had him as a professor.” Abbot Placid summed up the man and his remarkable life this way: “I have known Dr. Preston all of my life. I took his Ethics class in college. It stands out as one of the best courses I ever had. In addition to being a member of my family [Helen Preston is Abbot Placid’s sister], he was a teacher, mentor and model for me. Dr. Preston had a sharp and well-disciplined mind, a profound faith, a genuine humility, and a dry wit. He was unfailingly a gentleman.”

Winter 2012


CAMPUS NEWS

New Dining Hall Will Be A Delicious Addition To The Abbey Campus The new facility will double the Abbey's dining capacity On June 16, the Abbey broke ground on a new 13,000-squarefoot dining center. The state-ofthe-art facility will seat 350 students, doubling the Abbey’s dining capacity. It is being built on land adjacent to the Abbot Walter Coggin Student Commons, which houses the Abbey’s current dining hall. The new dining center is the fourth major capital project undertaken at the College in the last five years, including the $3 million-plus renovations to the College’s dorms, the Lowry Alumni House and the St. Joseph Adoration Chapel. The interior of the new dining facility is being designed in consultation with the Abbey’s food service partner, Chartwells, an award-winning leader in school dining services.

Winter 2012

“With the record growth the Abbey has experienced in the last five years, this is most welcome news for our students and the entire Abbey

CROSSROADS

community,” said Wayne Scroggins, CFO of the College. “The new facility will significantly improve our students’ dining experience, enabling us to serve delicious, nutritious meals more efficiently, and at an even higher level of service. It will also give us a new opportunity to explore continuous dining options, versus scheduled meals. So we’re all very excited, as you can imagine.” And there’s more good news for Abbey students: the College plans to convert the old Student Commons into a new Student Union, complete with flat screen TVs, game tables and more. The new Student Union will also be open 24 hours a day, giving students more time and space to study, to socialize, form clubs, and more. The Student Union and the new dining facility are both scheduled to be completed in time for the beginning of classes in the fall of 2012.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

49


FACULTY & STAFF

Abbey’s Director of Library Services Wins Prestigious Brubaker Award The Brubaker Award was established by The Catholic Library Association to honor excellence in the fields of scholarship, literature, and librarianship.

D

on Beagle, Director of Library Services at Belmont Abbey College, has won the 2012 John Brubaker Memorial Award for his article, “Integrating Digital and Archival Sources in Historical Research: Recovering Lost Knowledge About a Catholic Poet of the Civil War.” Mr. Beagle will receive the Brubaker Award, which is presented annually by the Catholic Library Association, in Boston in April of 2012. The Brubaker Award was established by The Catholic Library Association to honor excellence in the fields of scholarship, literature, and librarianship. The “Catholic Poet of the Civil War” to whom Mr. Beagle’s award-winning article refers is Confederate chaplain Father Abram J. Ryan. In 2008, Beagle and coauthor Brian Giemza published an acclaimed biography about the colorful poet entitled Poet of the Lost Cause: A Life of Father Ryan (University of Tennessee Press). The author of two other books, The Information Commons Handbook and The Life and Art of Ralph Ray (co-written with Abbey biology professor Robert Tompkins), Beagle has also published many scholarly articles. Donald Beagle received his Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan in 1977, where he won the Hopwood Writing Award. Early in his career, he worked for nearly ten years in Charleston, South Carolina, first as Regional Library Branch Head and then Head of the Main Library in downtown Charleston. In 1997, he moved to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte as Head of the Information Commons, and since 2000, he has held the position of Director of Library Services at Belmont Abbey College.

50 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


FACULTY & STAFF

Three Abbey Theologians Selected By Cardinal Wuerl To Participate In Special Conference Only 50 theologians from the entire U.S. were selected to participate Dr. Grattan Brown and Dr. Ron Thomas, both Assistant Professors of Theology at Belmont Abbey College, and Dr. Mark Newcomb, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Abbey, were selected by Donald Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, D.C., to participate in a special conference entitled The Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization. The conference brought together a select number of young Catholic theologians in the nation’s capital this past September 15-17 to discuss strategies to help reevangelize our culture. Only theologians who have received their doctorates within the last five years were eligible to be nominated, and only 50 theologians from the entire U.S. were selected to participate. Speakers at the conference included Daniel Cardinal Di Nardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston; Archbishop J.A. DiNoia, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Dr. Janet E. Smith, Professor of Moral Theology and the Fr. Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Issues at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Dr. John Cavadini, Associate Professor of Theology and McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame; and Father Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. One of the goals of the conference was to build relationships between leading bishops and the next generation

Winter 2012

Pictured from left: Dr. Ron Thomas, Dr. Grattan Brown, and Dr. Mark Newcomb

of theologians. By all accounts, it was a rousing success. “I think from the first day, we knew we were all part of something special,” says the Abbey’s Dr. Ron Thomas. “Everyone was sharing thoughts genially, and everyone seemed to be on the same page.” The main question participants at the conference were asked to consider and discuss was: What are the theological and academic parts of the new evangelization? “The papers presented at the conference were mostly about the best sort of evangelization in the teaching of Theology, which is to intellectually present the Faith in its fullness,” says Dr. Thomas. “There was a lot of talk about the Church Fathers—particularly about Origen and Irenaeus—who presupposed an integrity in the Catholic Faith. When

CROSSROADS

you teach out of the integrity of the Faith, you can’t help but catechize and evangelize.” “It was all very reassuring, because it confirmed we’re on the right trajectory in our teaching of Theology here at the Abbey.” The three Abbey theologians were encouraged by other reassuring signs as well. “All three of us were surprised and humbled by how many fellow attendees had heard of us and of Belmont Abbey College,” says Dr. Thomas. “And as the conference unfolded, our fellow attendees heard a lot from us, too. I think we made something of a splash [in the various panel discussions, etc.],” he says bemusedly. Thomas says the conference acted largely as a prelude to an upcoming Extraordinary Synod of Bishops (“a kind of small Vatican Council”) whose main subject is going to be the new evangelization of the Catholic Faith in the 21st century. Some of the questions and concerns raised at the conference will be incorporated into a Lineamenta —a document written in preparation for a special convocation such as the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops. “The conference was primarily an experiment—and it went extraordinarily well,” says Dr. Thomas. “It may morph into a follow-up conference or something else. At the very least, we now have a strong network of likeminded theologians and bishops going forward in concert.” In other words, stay tuned.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

51


FACULTY & STAFF

NOTEWORTHY NEWS

Faculty Accomplishments Dr. Reuben [Al] Benthall, Assistant Professor of English, was one of 18 faculty members selected from among 62 nominees to participate in a highly competitive, week-long seminar on Lyric Poetry, held in August at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D. C. Dr. Benthall’s paper, “What the Thrush Said to T. S. Eliot,” was accepted for publication in English Studies, a Journal of English Language and Literature. Dr. Kevin Bezner, Lecturer in English, along with Dr. Angela Miss, Associate Professor of English, and Dr. Joseph Pizza, Assistant Professor of English, have had their paper on the interdisciplinary aspect of our new Rhetoric course accepted for the upcoming 4C’s Conference (on College Communication and Composition) in St. Louis. Mr. Steve Brosnan, Associate Professor of Math/Physics, attended the Benedictine Pedagogy Conference and gave a talk on “Teaching Benedictine Values in a Freshman Symposium Course” at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Drs. Grattan Brown and Ronald Thomas, both Assistant Professors of Theology, and Dr. Mark Newcomb, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, participated in the “New Evangelization Project,” an invitation-only, national conference for young theologians, who have recently earned their doctorate. They were selected to speak alongside 15 bishops concerning how to evangelize the faithful. The conference, held in September, was hosted by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC. (See our story on page 51.) Dr. Grattan Brown gave two lectures on conscience in health care. The first lecture was presented to the monks of Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Oklahoma in July and the second was presented at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee in September. In August, Ms. Laura Campbell, Director of Teacher Education, arranged, under Belmont Abbey College auspices, for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for Catholic school elementary teachers to be offered at St. Gabriel’s school in Charlotte, North Carolina. 52 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Dr. Travis Cook, Chair of the Department of Government and Political Philosophy and Assistant Professor in that field, wrote an article entitled “David Hume (1711 – 1776)” for volume III of The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought. In September, Dr. Carson Daly, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, served as the Program Chair for the annual meeting of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars held in Detroit, Michigan. The theme of the conference was Catholic Social Thought and Economics. And, in October, Dr. Daly participated in Baylor University’s “Educating for Wisdom in the 21st Century” conference, speaking on “The Study of Rhetoric as a Stepping Stone to Wisdom.” Dr. Michael Hood, Professor of English, published a short story entitled “English Class” for the fall issue of the journal, Indiana English. Dr. John [Daniel] Hutchinson, Assistant Professor of History, completed his doctorate at Florida State University. Dr. Judith McDonald, Assistant Professor of Education, presented on “inquiry as a strategy” at the North Carolina Science Teachers Association (NCSTA) conference in November. Dr. Angela Miss, Associate Professor of English, edited the The Belmont Abbey Reader, which was custom-designed by the College’s Rhetoric Committee. (See our interview with Dr. Miss beginning on page 12.) The Reader is being used in the following courses: Rhetoric I, Communications Essentials, and will also be used in Rhetoric II. In addition, Dr. Angela Miss taught ten Rhetoric workshops for all those who are teaching Rhetoric I and II as part of the College’s new core curriculum. Dr. Rebecca Munro, Assistant Professor of English, wrote an essay on Othello, entitled “Othello, the Classical/ Medieval Synthesis, and the Platonic Concept of the Soul,” which was accepted for the Ignatius Critical Edition of the play. And, in October, Munro presented her paper, “It is Requir’d You Do Awake Your Faith: The Wisdom of The Winter’s Tale,” at Baylor University’s “Educating for Wisdom in the 21st Century” conference. Dr. Lisa O’Neil, Assistant Professor of Education, completed her Ph.D. at Gardner-Webb University.

Winter 2012


FACULTY & STAFF

Dr. Joseph Pizza, Assistant Professor of English, who recently completed his doctorate at Oxford University, delivered a lecture to the Cor ad Cor Society (the United Kingdom’s John Henry Newman Society) on the importance of poetry in Newman’s conversion to the Roman Catholic Church and on his subsequent theological and cultural writings. He also delivered his lecture to an audience in Newman’s library, a National Trust historical site, in the English village of Littlemore. Dr. Sara Powell, Chair of the Education Department and Professor of Education, is working on the 3rd edition of Introduction to Middle School (to be published in January 2014), which continues to be the market leader in middlelevel preparation programs. She is also currently writing on-line teacher preparation modules for the Pearson Publishing Company. When complete, the project will consist of 32 individual modules, each with Belmont Abbey College listed as the author’s institution. Dr. Melinda Ratchford, Associate Professor of Education, presented The Titanic at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching symposium in Ocracoke, North Carolina from June 27-July 1, 2011. Ratchford, who fell in love with the history of the Titanic after reading Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, has given over 200 talks on the subject for groups from the ages of 4 to 104. She has also spent time at the site of the Titanic’s sinking as well as the location where the ship was built. Dr. Laurence Reardon, Assistant Professor of Government and Political Philosophy, wrote a book, entitled, The State as Parent: Locke, Rousseau, and the Transformation of the Family, which was scheduled to be published by the University of Scranton Press in the fall. Dr. Jane Russell, Associate Professor of Theology, presented “Abbess Hildegard of Bingen on Spirituality and Nature” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center’s The Spiritual World of Nature Series. Dr. Rajive Tiwari, Chair of the Natural Sciences Division, Professor of Physics, and Coordinator of the Physics minor, completed the index entries for his chapter in the book Science and Empire, was published in October. Dr. Randall Tobias, an adjunct faculty member in Education, spoke on “Education and Intervention for Effective Mental Health Practice” as a part of the program at the Area Health Education Center. Dr. Robert Tompkins, Associate Professor of Biology, who recently completed his doctorate at Clemson University, gave a talk, “Piedmont Prairies,” at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina in August. His paper, entitled “An outcrossing reciprocity

Winter 2012

study between remnant Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) populations in the Carolinas,” was due to publish in the Ecological Restoration Journal in December. And, The Life and Art of Ralph Ray Jr., the book he co-wrote with Mr. Beagle, received a Willie Parker Peace History Book Award in October. Dr. William Van Lear, Professor of Economics, wrote an article entitled “Economic Stagnation and the Fiscal Crisis of the State,” which was published in Challenge:The Magazine of Economic Affairs. Dr. David Williams, Chair of the Theology Department and Associate Professor of Theology, has been invited to deliver the New Testament portion of the Summer Bible Institute at the Oratory Center for Spirituality in Rock Hill, South Carolina on July 8-13, 2012. Mr. Joseph Wysocki, Assistant Professor of Government and Political Philosophy, presented a paper at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington on Deweyism and the educational regime depicted in the 2005 neo-noir film, “Brick.” And, in January 2012, Mr. Wysocki will deliver his paper, entitled “Congressional Responses to the State of the Union Address: New and Old,” at the Southern Political Science Association (SPSA) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Staff Accomplishments Mr. Donald Beagle, Director of the Library, won an award from the Catholic Library Association (CLA) for his article, “Integrating Digital and Archival Sources in Historical Research: Recovering Lost Knowledge about a Catholic Poet of the Civil War.” (See our story on page 50.) And, he also represented the Belmont Abbey College’s Father Ryan Archive at Montreat College’s Civil War Chaplains’ Exhibit (co-sponsored by the North Carolina State Department of Cultural Resources to celebrate the war’s sesquicentennial). Mr. Monte Monteleone ’71, Associate Director of Stewardship Relations, received the William Gaston Award from the Gaston County Commission in November. The award acknowledges the involvement, commitment and dedication of county citizens who volunteer their time and talents in community service. Charlie Martin ’70, Belmont Abbey College’s Alumni Association President, was also honored at this year’s ceremony.

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

53


FACULTY & STAFF

New Arrivals Sharon Allen has joined the Academic Resource Center as the Coordinator of Academic Support. James Botts has joined the Faculty as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. James earned his B.S. from the University of Central Arkansas, his M.S. from Illinois State University, and his Ph.D. from American University. Christopher Barrett has joined the Athletics Department as the new Head Coach for Men’s Lacrosse. Before coming to the Abbey, Chris spent eleven years at Limestone College. His first four years at Limestone were spent as a student-athlete, and the next seven years were spent as the Assistant Men’s Lacrosse Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. Chris was a member of the 2002 National Championship team at Limestone, where he received his B.A. in Physical Education. He and his wife, Lea Anne, reside in Gaffney, South Carolina. Lucy Conaway has joined the Office of Admissions as an Admissions Counselor. Lucy earned her B.A. from Furman University. Leigh Cooper has joined the Human Resources Department as the Payroll Supervisor. Mike DeWitt has joined the Athletic Department as the Head Coach for Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track. He comes to the Abbey from Ave Maria University, where he established and coached the College’s Cross Country and Track program. DeWitt was also the Head Coach for Cross Country and Track and Field at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside for 29 years. Along with his duties as a part-time college coach, he was a full-time Elementary School Teacher in the Racine (WI) Unified School District in the Intermediate Grades (4-6). He retired from the State of Wisconsin following the 2007 school year and continued to teach part-time in the local Catholic schools of his hometown of Kenosha, WI. He is an elected member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame in Cross Country. Over 125 of his athletes have earned NAIA or NCAA Division II All-American Status and six have gone on to become USA Olympic Track Athletes. DeWitt also served as a USA National Team Coach. His teams earned USA Track Coaches Association Academic All-American Status each year since it was instituted in 1990. He earned his B.A. in Geography and Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and his M.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University.

54 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Matthew Dunn has joined the Academic Resource Center as the Coordinator of Student Success. Matthew earned his B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. Jennifer Flaherty has joined the Athletic Department as the Head Coach for Women’s Lacrosse. Prior to coming to the Abbey, Jennifer coached lacrosse at Apex High School for two years and led Apex to a state championship. She was a varsity athlete at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she received a B.A in Exercise and Sport Science. Melissa Henderson has joined the College as a Mail Room Clerk. John [Daniel] Hutchinson ’02 has joined the Faculty as an Assistant Professor of History. Prior to returning to the Abbey as a professor, Daniel taught at Florida State University, and served as Director of Admissions at St. Bernard Preparatory School in Cullman, Alabama. Daniel holds a B.A. in History from Belmont Abbey College, an M.A. from the University of AlabamaBirmingham, and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. Anna Johnson has joined the Information Technology Department as a new Report Writer/Data Analyst. Before coming to the Abbey, Anna was a Database Specialist at the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities. Prior to her stint at WVU, Anna lived in Raleigh and was the Web Services Manager for the University of North Carolina–General Administration. She holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. J.R. Marr has joined the College as the Director of Campus Facilities, overseeing new construction. Marcus Mayllen has joined the Office of Admissions as an Admissions Counselor. Marcus is a native of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Before he joined the Abbey community, Marcus worked in higher education and also interned for a minor league baseball team. He received a B.A. in International Studies from Wheeling Jesuit University and an M.S. in Sport Management from California University of Pennsylvania. Elizabeth Medlin has joined the Athletic Department as an Assistant Athletic Trainer. Denise Rhodes has joined the Academic Resource Center as the Coordinator of Evening Services. Prior to joining the Abbey, Denise was a Senior Benefits Analyst at Cigna Health Care. She is an alumnus of Pfeiffer University, where she received a dual B.S. degree in Business Administration and Management Information Systems.

Winter 2012


FACULTY & STAFF

Andrew Rudd has joined the Faculty as an Assistant Professor of Sport Management. Andrew earned his B.S. from Lewis-Clark State College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Idaho. John Rutherford has joined the Finance and Administration staff as the Manager of Treasury and Student Financial Services. Prior to coming to the Abbey, John was a Controller for Training The Street, Inc., a small financial services training firm based in New York. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Appalachian State University, with a focus in Finance and Banking.

Felicia Williams has joined the Adult Degree Program as an Office Specialist. Spencer Wims has joined the Athletic Department as the new Assistant Coach for Men’s Lacrosse. Before coming to the Abbey, Spencer was a student-athlete at Limestone College. Spencer was a two-time All-American and competed in four final-four teams. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Limestone and resides in Belmont, North Carolina. Geralyn Wintering has joined the Information Technology Department as a Data Analyst/Report Writer.

Want to read more current news about the abbey on a regular basis? Sign up for our free e-newsletter BACRoads and receive updates via email! To sign up, visit www.bacroads.com, then click on the link labeled “Email,” which you’ll see on the far right side of the page underneath the aerial photo of the campus. Then, simply enter your email address in the box and you are on your way. You will need to activate the account. An activation email will be sent to the email address you provide. If you have any questions, please contact Jillian Maisano at JillianMaisano@bac.edu or (704) 461-6869.

PRAYER SUPPORT MINISTRY The Belmont Abbey Community has a team of volunteer alumni and friends all over the country who are committed to regular prayer. Prayer requests are circulated weekly by email. If you would like to volunteer to become part of our Abbey prayer circle or if you have a prayer request, please contact us at:

PrayerSupportMinistry@bac.edu Also, if you are interested in our Prayer Warrior project, matching you with our troops on active duty, please inquire at the above email address.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

55


SPORTS NEWS

Abbey Inducts Third Class Into Sports Hall of Fame

Pictured from left: Dr. Mike Reidy, Dr. Bill Thierfelder, David Buerkle, Angela Placona-Congelli, William Esser, Carl Bell

The greatest scorer in Belmont Abbey College men’s basketball history may not have happened without an assist from Cleveland County and the Wheeler Center. That’s what 2011 Belmont Abbey/Michael P. Reidy Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Carl Bell said after he was one of four members of that select group’s third induction class. When Bell was recruited from Reidsville to the Abbey, the Wheeler Athletics Center was barely a year old. “That new facility was a really impressive, convincing thing for me,” Bell said Saturday night after the 2011 induction ceremonies at Cramer Mountain Country Club. “Even today, when I was over there walking through it, it’s still impressive with all the new

56 CROSSROADS

offices they’ve put in there.” Bell says the Wheeler Center was the first place then-new coach Bobby Hussey took him on his recruiting visit in July 1971—this was shortly after Bell had roomed with Crest High star David Thompson during the East-West N.C. High School All-Star game in Greensboro. “Coach Hussey recruited me out of that game,” said Bell, who also considered Maryland Eastern Shore and North Carolina Central before choosing the Abbey. Hussey had coached Kings Mountain High to an impressive 65-7 record from 1968-70. That included terrific success against Thompson’s teams at Crest, even as Thompson would go on to become the player most

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

regarded as the best in ACC history at N.C. State. At the Abbey, with the help of Bell in his first recruiting class, Hussey became the Crusaders’ all-time senior college men’s basketball coaching winner with a 179-111 record in 10 seasons before leaving to take the head coaching job at Davidson in 1981. Bell was remembered for those seasons as well as his special bond with Hussey. “He was a great coach and a great friend,” Bell said of Hussey. “He used me to help him recruit other players.” Some of those players were there Saturday as Bell’s former teammates Clint Bryant, Curtis Carter, Carl Kennedy and Bobby Moran were among those in attendance.

Winter 2012


SPORTS NEWS

Bell’s entire family also came for the ceremony—his wife Sherry and his daughters Timitra Wilson of Charlotte and Tara Bell of Harrisburg, Pa. Bell and his wife moved to his hometown of Reidsville six years ago after many years in Harrisburg, Pa. Coming back to this state also means Bell is eager to return to his old collegiate stomping grounds. “I hadn’t been back to the Abbey in about 15 years until this week,” said Bell, who scored 2,201 points in his career and led the Crusaders in scoring each of his four seasons. “But I intend to go to some games this season.”

… Remembers visit Another inductee who remembered their visit and decision to choose the Abbey was women’s soccer standout Angela Placona-Congelli. “I was a senior in high school who was excited about playing soccer somewhere in college,” said Congelli, now a science teacher at East Gaston High School. “I visited Belmont Abbey in February with my father and it was a

nice day and I just fell in love with the place. I’m so glad I did.” Congelli was honored as league freshman of the year, then was firstteam all-conference the next three seasons in a career that saw her rack up 52 assists and 29 assists. After her senior year, she was named conference and school women’s athlete of the year.

… Family success William Esser and David Buerkle were cousins from Lake Worth, Fla., when they came to play for longtime tennis coach Mike Reidy. Once at the Abbey, the duo became even closer and were incredibly successful in their sport. Both were allconference performers in singles and doubles, highlighted by a 10th place national ranking as doubles partners in 1995. “We were cousins, but we grew up like brothers,” Buerkle said of Esser, who was a year older than him. “I thank him for his example, his friendship and the moments we’ve

shared on and off the court.” Buerkle is now a tennis professional at Mitchell County Tennis Center in Camilla, Ga., and Esser is a partner in the law firm of Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein LLP in Charlotte.

… Presidential push Eighth-year Abbey president Dr. Bill Thierfelder spoke before the inductions about his belief in how sport and virtue can provide success on and off the field. “If a coach is not a teacher and mentor first, we’re lost,” Thierfelder said. “These coaches at Belmont Abbey College are teachers and mentors. “World class performance on the field is a virtue. But it’s only one of them. I think our teams are performing on the court and in the classroom as well as off the court.”

Permission to reprint story granted by the author, Richard Walker, sportswriter for the Gaston Gazette. www.gastongazette.com

Former Abbey Guard Signs Contract With ABA’s Carolina Cheetahs Richard Barbee becomes third Crusader to sign professional contract. Former Belmont Abbey men’s basketball guard Richard Barbee (2008-11) has signed a professional contract with the Carolina Cheetahs of the American Basketball Association. The Cheetahs are a member of the MidAtlantic Division and play their home games on the campus of UNC-Greensboro. Barbee, who was invited to the Charlotte Bobcats pre-NBA draft workout, is one of the most prolific scorers in school history, as he became just the fourth Crusader, and the first in 22 years, to score 2,000 career points in the Abbey’s

Winter 2012

84-81 upset win at top-seeded Queens in the opening round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament. He needed 15 points to reach 2,000 and finished with 19. His 2,018 career points are fourth on the school’s all-time list. The Virginia Beach, Virginia product is the school’s first four-time all-conference selection. He earned firstteam honors in 2009 and 2011 and garnered second-team honors in 2008 and 2010. He was the Conference Freshman of the Year in 2008. Only two other players in school history had been named all-conference three times. Barbee is the third Crusader to sign a professional contract, joining Alex

CROSSROADS

Pledger (New Zealand Breakers) and Chad Patus (AD UNIVERSIDAD DE OVIEDO-Spain).

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

57


SPORTS NEWS

REMEMBERING Joe McDermott By Bob Siebert ’63 Joe McDermott was a star center for Belmont Abbey’s basketball team in the early 1960s, and to the best of my recollection he was the first of Al McGuire's players to die. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend either the funeral or the reception held at the Columbia Inn, which he owned along with Harrigan’s in Montville, New Jersey. According to his son, Ryan, also an Abbey alumnus, there were approximately 500 persons at the reception, which caused me to wonder where they were able to park so many cars. In any event, such a large turnout is indeed a testament to Joe’s popularity and the number of friends he had and whose lives he had touched. Joe was one of my original roommates in room 303, on the third floor of the Administration Building (now Stowe Hall) in September 1959, along with Pat Doherty and Frank Doyle. Frank was hoping that our

58 CROSSROADS

fourth roommate would be from Alabama, but he was not disappointed when Joe arrived, since his older brother, Danny Doyle, was already a standout as a power forward. Joe came to the Abbey with fellow New Jerseyites and teammates Bernie Brennan and Joe Butts, who lived in room 305. His first order of business within a few minutes of entering our room was to evict me from the bottom bunk, possibly because he had a fear of heights. I had to put up with a lot of teasing, including the haircut Joe gave me with the letter “A” carved on the back of my head. Father John once commented years later that this was one of the funniest things he could remember. Joe was a student-athlete, and I emphasize the word “student,” since Belmont Abbey College is dedicated to the education of the whole man. We had no difficulty in earning our college degrees within four years. Joe had a unique cocked shot, which contributed to his being such an outstanding basketball player. His opponent typically would be up and down before he

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

released the ball, resulting in an easy two points. I went over with Joe to the Haid one night, which then served as our basketball arena, in order to take some free throws, where my performance was a miserable one-for-twelve. Joe, on the other hand, was the best foul shooter on the team, and he is known to have gone to the charity stripe after Hank Steincke had been fouled. At the time of our graduation in 1963, Joe owned the Belmont Abbey record for career points. He was a fifthround draft pick for the New York Knicks, and eventually he played for the New York Athletic Club. I remember one game at the New York AC where Joe sank a long shot from the corner with the ball touching nothing but net, after which he turned to me and said, “That’s for you, Bob.” Well, Joe, this is for you, and I only wish that you were still around to give me another haircut.

Winter 2012


SPORTS NEWS

Former Abbey Golfer Joe Campbell One Of 12 Competitors Selected For The Golf Channel’s “Big Break Ireland” By Chris Poore

Photo courtesy of the Golf Channel

Winter 2012

Former Belmont Abbey men's golfer Joe Campbell was selected as one of 12 competitors to participate in The Golf Channel’s latest installment of The Big Break, which pits six men and six women against each other to win an $80,000 cash prize and exemptions to participate on four professional circuits. This year’s series took place in Ireland. Campbell was eliminated on the fifth of 11 scheduled episodes. He competed as a member of Team Straffen. Filmed at The K Club in Kildare, Ireland (the venue of the 2006 Ryder Cup), the winner will be awarded two exemptions from the four exemptions up for grabs – which represent events on the LPGA Tour, European Tour and Ladies European Tour. Campbell, from Cheltenham, England, was a four-year starter for the Abbey golf team from 2007-10, winning the Conference Carolinas individual title as a senior in 2010. He was a first-team all-conference selection that year and graduated with a degree in business management. He is currently employed at the Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte.

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

59


ALUMNI NEWS

Talk About A Gentleman Whose Career Has Been

A Home Run. For the last 20 years, Jim Gates ’79 has been Library Director at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Crossroads recently lobbed a few questions his way, and as you’ll see, he hit our interview out of the park. Crossroads: How did you first get hooked on baseball? Gates: I have been a baseball fan all my life. My parents were both good baseball fans and all five children followed with a great love for the game. My father taught me how to play, with an emphasis on the fundamentals of the game, and my mother taught me out to keep score—a skill I now use professionally. Crossroads: What are some of your own most prized baseball souvenirs? Gates: I still have the program from my first major league game, a twi-night double header between the Minnesota Twins and the Washington Senators at DC Stadium in 1966. There are moments from that day that I still remember vividly. My parents are from the DC area and were Senators fans and although we traveled quite a bit, as my father was in the U.S. Navy, we came back through DC quite often. I also have a nice collection of baseball books, all signed by the authors as a “thank you” for the assistance we provided at the Hall’s library. Crossroads: What’s the best part of your job at the Baseball Hall of Fame Library? Gates: Having the chance to meet baseball writers and scholars from around the world on a regular basis rates among the work that I enjoy most. We also have the chance to meet baseball players, executives, and other celebrities who visit Cooperstown. I also enjoy having the chance to take care of the many treasures from baseball history, to ensure that they are available for many future generations of fans.

60 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Crossroads: The Library contains some three million items. If one of our readers—perhaps an old Abbey classmate—paid you a visit there, what would be at the top of your list for them to make sure they see? Gates: Wow, that all depends on what they are looking for. We simply have so much stuff. I am often asked which book is my favorite, and my answer is that my favorite book is the one I need to answer the next question. Crossroads: What artifact or document there still fills you with excitement or a sense of awe when you see it? Gates: The promissory note for the sale of Babe Ruth from Boston to New York, the minutes of the first owners meeting in 1876, the handwritten manuscript for Take Me Out To The Ball Game, are just a few of the items that I never get tired of seeing. Crossroads: What’s the quirkiest or most unexpected thing you’ve learned about baseball from working there in the Library? Gates: Basically, that baseball comes from a variety of stick and ball games which were played in Colonial America, and that these have evolved into...a variety of stick and ball games which are played today (Major League ball, College ball, Little League, Fast and Slow Pitch softball, Wiffle ball, etc.). Baseball is a continual evolutionary process, which is still in play today. The game we see on the field this year is not the same game that was played 40 years ago, and in another 40 years, it will have evolved further. The process never ends.

Winter 2012


ALUMNI NEWS

Babe Ruth memorabilia at the Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown

Crossroads: What’s the most interesting or unusual request you’ve received from an author or researcher? Who’s the most famous author or personality you’ve dealt with on a project? Gates: Our staff handles tens of thousands of requests each year. Everything from a third-grader with a homework project, to a Ph.D. candidate working on a dissertation, to players, agents, and executives. Sportswriters and broadcasters contact us quite often. The White House staff will call to check on facts when the President references baseball in a speech. And we also get calls from drunks at bars with $20 bets riding on the answer. We never know who is going to be on the other end of the line when the phone rings. Some of my favorites [questions] include: 1) “Can you send me everything you have about baseball?” (this was from a student); and 2) “Can you send me everything you have on Hall of Famer Jesus Alvarez?” This would have been easier had there been a player by that name, but no major leaguer ever had that name, and he certainly has not been inducted.

Gates: While there is no degree program which would point one in this direction, the basic liberal arts education is the foundation for so much in our society and this has been instrumental in providing me with the skills I use every day. I still remember professors [Dr. Robert] Jones, [Dr. Eugene] Thuot, and [Mr. Jack] Hanahan always pushing to make me work harder and to seek out more. Never accept anything less than your best was the basic mantra in those classes, and while I may not have fully appreciated this when I was a student, I surely do today. I also try to pass this along to our young staff and to the college interns who work for us each summer.

Crossroads: Who are your baseball heroes? Has working at the Library heightened your appreciation of them? What can one discover about one’s heroes there that they can’t find anywhere else? Gates: Growing up, I became a big Baltimore Orioles fan—yes, the past decade has been painful—and Brooks Robinson was my favorite player. Since coming to Cooperstown, I have had the chance to meet and work with him on several occasions and he has proven to be a gentleman and reinforced everything I thought about him growing up. Crossroads: Looking back, how did your Abbey education prepare you for your fascinating job? Were any monks, professors or other mentors at the Abbey instrumental/influential in your chosen career path?

Winter 2012

Crossroads: Did you learn any lessons here at the Abbey that you still apply in your job or in your daily life outside of work? Gates: I spend quite a bit of my time reading, editing, factchecking, etc., and the writing skills I learned at the Abbey stay with me today. My classes in English, History and Political Science all stressed writing and research skills, and that is what I get paid for these days. So yes, I appreciate all of these lessons from my days at the Abbey.

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

61


ALUMNI NEWS

Johnnie Lowry Her Memory Will Always Burn Brightly In Our Hearts Alumna Johnnie M. Lowry ’81 passed away in January of 2011. She left many friends among Abbey alumni, staff, faculty and students who grew through her encouragement. She was devoted to the spiritual values of the Abbey and felt nourished by the serenity she found here. The Lowry Alumni House was built and dedicated to Johnnie in 2007 as a result of her generous financial contributions. Additionally, by leaving a gift to the College in her will, Johnnie’s love and support of Belmont Abbey College will continue as her legacy. Johnnie Lowry took a nontraditional route in higher education. She launched a banking career in Gaston County in 1956 and rose, through hard work, impressive judgment and solid integrity, to the level of Vice President with the Bank of Belmont and was later a Bank Executive with Wachovia. She entered college as an adult student and graduated from Belmont Abbey College in 1981 with a degree in Business Administration. After graduating from the Abbey, Johnnie earned an advanced degree from the prestigious Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University. Throughout her life she was an avid reader, a motivator and connector, an aficionado of finance and politics and an adventurous traveler. She was the first laywoman named to the Belmont Abbey College Board of Trustees and was an enthusiastic

62 CROSSROADS

volunteer whenever called upon. In recognition of her professional accomplishments, the College honored her with an honorary doctorate and a place on the Abbey’s Wall of Fame. Throughout her life she not only held dear but also exemplified the Abbey’s motto, “that in all things God may be glorified.” In recognition of Johnnie’s contribution to the quality of life of the College, an elegant, mid-afternoon tea was held during homecoming in the Lowry Alumni House, sponsored by Linda and Jack Steck ’67, Carol Brooks, ’10 and the College. The tea was attended by alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Johnnie from Gaston County, Florida, Georgia and Ohio. At this tea, it was the Abbey’s opportunity to tell about Johnnie’s impact on campus. Abbot Placid opened the tea with a prayer and a heartfelt expression of appreciation of Johnnie’s presence and influence on campus. Dr. Thierfelder followed by recalling very clearly the day that Johnnie surprised him by saying that she wanted to build an Alumni House. He was overwhelmed by her generosity and understood her desire to see a welcoming place for Alumni to return to, thus keeping our Abbey community more cohesive. He also emphasized the far-reaching impact Johnnie had on the College for years through her support of athletics, the Abbey Theatre, study abroad programs, computer science, the art

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

film series and her endowed scholarship to help students endeavoring to integrate academics and athletics. Dr. Thierfelder was pleased to display the 2011-2012 Academic Catalogue and its dedication to Johnnie. Other speakers included the President of the National Alumni Board, Charlie Martin ’70, who also represented the City of Belmont and spoke of Johnnie’s leadership in civic issues. He noted that, as Vice President of the Bank of Belmont, Johnnie was often the first person people met when they moved to town. She set up his first account years ago when he came to the College. Closing the program was Johnnie’s longtime friend Linda Steck who announced that a book by Dr. Gail Roberson has recently been dedicated to the memory of Johnnie. The book, Where Fairies Roost, outlines a life of harmony with nature. The opening lines of the dedication sum up Johnnie’s influence: If you are lucky enough, once in a lifetime someone comes along who touches you so deeply that your inner flame is set ablaze, and you are rekindled to burn brightly once more. Johnnie Lowry was that someone for me and she ignited in me the will to pick up the pieces and continue despite all I was enduring. JOHNNIE WILL BE MISSED.

Winter 2012


ALUMNI NEWS

Blind Abbey Alum, Lawyer Urges Disabled Students To

Follow Your Dreams By Jolisa Canty Writer for the Sunshine State News

Blinded by a baseball that struck him in the head during a high school game just before his junior year, attorney and disabilities advocate Richard Salem stood before a crowd of disabled teenagers and urged them to work to overcome any obstacles while pursuing their dreams. “Listen to those who can help you,” Salem told the Richard Salem ’69 youths, comparing the challenges of a disabled student learning to become a leader to his own experience of learning downhill skiing despite his blindness. “A dead leader is no leader at all.” Salem was a featured speaker at the 12th Florida Youth Leadership Forum at Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium, with the theme of “Leaders Building Leaders.” The youth leadership forum is a four-day program cosponsored by The Able Trust and The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. It’s designed to teach Florida high school students with disabilities about career planning and leadership through workshops, social gatherings and mentoring opportunities. The youth leadership forum is only one of numerous Able Trust efforts aimed at fostering the success of students with disabilities. According to a news release, the group has awarded more than $27 million since 1990 to individuals with disabilities and nonprofit agencies throughout Florida for employment-related purposes, enabling thousands of those with disabilities to enter the work force each year.

The Able Trust youth programs are intended to help reduce the dropout rate and prepare young adults for life beyond high school. “We are a foundation that plays a key role in providing grants to community organizations that teach students how to construct resumes and give interviews,” said Susanne Homant, CEO of The Able Trust. According to Salem’s website, Salem graduated cum laude from North Carolina’s Belmont Abbey College in 1969 and from Duke Law School in 1972. Salem is the founding partner of the Tampa-based Salem Law Group and manages an active business and governmental practice. In addition to the Florida Bar, he is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Blind Lawyers Association, and the International Bar Association. Salem said he hopes his participation in events like this one will help the trust continue its work. “This is my time to help others and build bridges for others to succeed,” he said. And that success requires constant effort, he told his audience. “Your job as a leader never stops,” he said. “You never know who’s watching” … “Give it your all, give it your best,” he concluded. “And follow your dreams.”

“Give it your all, give it your best and follow your dreams.”

Permission to reprint story granted by the author.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

63


ALUMNI NEWS

Wish you were here.

Homecoming 2011

64 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


ALUMNI NEWS

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

65


ALUMNI NEWS

“OPERATION 1200” A SUCCESS!

1400

Begins! The Office of Alumni Relations Thanks to you, our Alumni Family, the Office of Alumni Relations met our OPERATION 1200 goal of acquiring 1200 alumni donors last fiscal year. Your gift helped us to achieve a 15% alumni participation rate—a record percentage for the College, and, the national average. We are so very thankful to you. Alumni participation is very important to a college. The percentage rates often serve as the decisive factor for foundations and corporations making funding awards. In addition, several national publications rank colleges and universities by the overall satisfaction of the alumni in their alma mater, using participation rates as their gauge. We are striving to improve your Alumni Association, and we are working to achieve an even higher alumni participation rate. We are dedicated to serving you and to meeting your needs as alumni. Our office, in conjunction with the Alumni Association Board, is determined to redirect our efforts and to provide you with the programs and events

66 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

that interest you. We welcome your feedback and hope you are encouraged to share your thoughts with us on how we can serve you better. Please continue to help us as we kick off a new campaign, “CHALLENGE 1400.” We’ve been challenged to acquire participation of 1400 alumni by May 31st, 2012. With your help, we can meet and possibly even exceed this goal. Any gift, of any dollar amount, will help us meet our goal. Watch for campaign details to roll out over the next few weeks. Should you wish to renew your alumni support before you receive CHALLENGE 1400 information, you can always donate through the College’s website at www.belmontabbeycollege.edu and click on the alumni tab. God bless you and we look forward to working with you this year.

THANK YOU ALUMNI FAMILY!

Winter 2012


CLASS NOTES

Provided by The Office of Alumni Relations

These notes are based on information gathered from April, 2011 through October, 2011. They reflect information from alums and friends of Belmont Abbey College.

52

Hugh Shine ’52, of Waltham, Massachusetts, is a writer and is currently working on a memoir.

65

Reginald “Reggie” Wright ’65, of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and his wife, Joan, are excited about the high school graduation of their oldest grandson, Grant R. Wright, who will attend Auburn University. And, Reggie says hello to all of his J.P. Smith Accounting classmates.

68

Brady “Buddy” Guin ’68 retired from his position as Principal at Mooresville High School in North Carolina. He is currently working on his second career as a part-time business broker.

71

Charles Bush ’71 retired for medical reasons from the Virginia Beach Police Department in August 2002 after 25 years of service. He is a member of the Secular Carmelite Community of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

71

Thomas MacAvoy ’71 writes: “We arrived in Italy on August 28, 2011 and it’s been hot as the dickens since we stepped off the plane. Area orientation occupied our time the first week, driving permits the second, housing the third, etc. We accepted a relatively spacious (without furniture) ground-floor apartment and moved in last Friday. We’re actually about 10 miles NNE of Naples, in Gricignano, a

The MacAvoys in Italy small rural town. Our household goods will follow in September. Our VW is here so we’ve made several day-trips to local attractions, eg. Downtown Naples, Mt. Vesuvius, Herculenium, Pompeii, Isle of Capri, Amalfi, and Rome. There's still lots to see…. My oldest son, Sam, is in Navy OCS in Newport, Rhode Island.” (Pictured: Mr. & Mrs. MacAvoy in Italy.)

78

A. Andrew Turner ’78 teaches Social Justice at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. He and his wife live on a farm in southern Maryland.

84

Donald Dorsey ’84 recently started a new job as the Assistant Controller with The Duffie Companies in Silver Spring, Maryland.

89

Tanya (Goria ’89) Lebold and her husband, David, are pleased to announce the arrival of their son, Blaise Thomas, on April 14, 2011. Mom, Dad and baby are happy, healthy and blessed.

90

Valerie (Paluszak ’90) Giggie and her husband, Michael, are pleased to announce the arrival of their ninth child, Nicholas Casimir, on April 7, 2011. And, in May 2011, Valerie graduated from the Education for Ministry program for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The Giggies reside in Granger, Indiana.

Winter 2012

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

67


CLASS NOTES

Provided by The Office of Alumni Relations

94

Christopher Skinkle ’94 and his wife, Alessandra (Tona ’95), are pleased to announce the arrival of their second child, Thomas Christopher, on September 12, 2011. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 21 inches long. Thomas joins sister, Emma. The family feels very blessed.

Patrick and Kellen. The family resides in Salisbury, North Carolina.

02

Michele (Sander ’02) Richardson and husband, Steve, are expecting their second child this fall.

05

William “Billy” Kennedy ’05 and Lisa Brown '07 were married on June 25, 2011 at St. Mary, Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Church in Georgetown, South Carolina. The wedding party included Julie Anne Baunchalk ’07, Mary Kate (O’Rourke ’07) Duncan, Brian Gray ’05, Christian Meale ’05, Emily (Carl ’07) Stocker, Andrew Welsch ’05 and Erin (O'Neill ’05) Welsch. Also in attendance were Jay Condon ’69, Brian Guild ’05, Janeen Paprota ’05, John Rossi ’06, George Stocker ’06, Eduardo Travino ’10, Heather (Woody ’06) Travino, and Rolando Travino ’05. Lisa and Billy reside in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

98

Andrew Simcox ’98 writes: “I am pleased to announce my wife is pregnant with a baby boy. The baby is due January 20, 2012. Our daughter Emma, who is 2, is very excited to meet her baby brother, when he comes into this world. And, I also completed my M.B.A, with an emphasis in Information Technology, from the University of La Verne in California.”

00

Jane Kessler ’00 and Brad Ridge were married on April 17, 2010 at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Belmont, North Carolina, followed by a reception at Stowe Manor. Abbey Alumni in attendance were Urata Koshi ’00, Angela (Cooke ’00) Allen, and Jennifer Montgomery ’00. Jane and Brad have relocated to Milford, Ohio, just outside Cincinnati.

05

Miranda Newhart ’05 married Gary Milstead on July 7, 2007. Miranda is currently working as an Administrative Assistant at the Law Offices of Wallace and Graham in Salisbury, North Carolina.

01

Donna Vadakkekara ’01 and her husband, Joseph Sebastian, are pleased to announce the arrival of their second child, Peter, on April 3, 2011.

02

Chris (’02) and Brynne (Stubbs ’04) Beal are pleased to announce the arrival of their third son, Brendan Benedict, on July 27, 2011. Brendan joins two older brothers,

68 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

07

Daniel Cayton ’07 and Teresa Evans were married on June 25, 2011.

07

Jennifer Stritch ’07, of Mount Holly, North Carolina, is working toward her M.A. in counseling at Lenior-Rhyne University.

Winter 2012


CLASS NOTES

Provided by The Office of Alumni Relations

10

Jessica Calabrigo ’10 began the masters program in clinical psychology at Middle Tennessee State University this fall.

10

Adrian Mendoza ’10 began the masters program in psychology at the University of Memphis this fall.

11

Sixta Hall ’11 began the Clinical Mental Health Counseling masters program at Winthrop University this fall.

11

Deana Rambert ’11, of Charlotte, North Carolina, writes: “It is with great joy that I send you this email to inform you of my acceptance into Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary this fall. The decision was quickly made after answering approximately 1000 personality questions and several personal interviews. We were told that it

would take about two weeks before hearing anything. To God be the glory, my answer was sent to me in two days! God gave me the answer a few years ago actually. Yes I believed it was a wrap, but we had to follow the entry process. I send my deepest gratitude to you for your assistance in this awesome assignment in my ministry and career development. Special thanks to you, Dr. Elliott, for our Testing and Assessment class. I actually enjoyed answering the questions and wanted to see the results right away. I can hardly wait to learn more. Also more great news: I have already been offered an opportunity to complete an internship with a LCSW, CEAP field Supervisor. By no planning of my own, our paths crossed and we began to share our passion for counseling others. She expressed how she would love to have me work with her. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I see so many things unfolding for me for the better. Here’s a saying I got from Joyce Meyers Ministries that sums it all up, one that I have found to be very true: ‘If you do what you can, God will do what you can’t!’ Amen!”

A Historical Reunion Dr. Francis Murray writes: “This photo was taken at the meet and greet with some of the College’s professors in the Library during Homecoming Weekend. It is quite historic because Dr. Michael Fitzsimmons, who is seated to my right, and Dr. Daniel Hutchinson, who is seated to my left, were both students of mine. Michael graduated from the Abbey in 1971 and earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is an acknowledged French Revolution Historian, having published half a dozen books, and is a Distinguished Research Professor in the History Department at Auburn University at Montgomery. Daniel graduated from the Abbey in 2002. He went on to earn his M.A. from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and recently earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University. He just returned to the Abbey as an Assistant Professor of History. Both have made presentations in various forums; Daniel did long before receiving his Ph.D. I did have a

Winter 2012

Reception in the Gallagher Room years ago for Mike when his first book was published by Harvard University Press. This shows the kind of talent that has come through the Department of History at the College. With Daniel now on our faculty it seems to me things have come full circle from my standpoint!”

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

69


CLASS NOTES

Provided by The Office of Alumni Relations

In Loving Memory 1935 – George Albright, Richmond, Virginia – May 18, 2011 1938 – Edith Darwin, Gastonia, North Carolina – July 16, 2011 1940 – Lee Dukes, Charlotte, North Carolina – June 19, 2011 1941 – Charles Bellis, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania – June 16, 2011 1947 – Vincent Del Raso, Boca Raton, Florida – September 8, 2011 1947 – Reon Hillegass, Norfolk, Virginia – July 7, 2011 1947 – Dr. Robert Hull, Charlotte, North Carolina – October 8, 2011 1948 – Maurice Casey, Virginia Beach, Virginia – September 19, 2011 1953 – Dr. Robert Preston, High Point, North Carolina – August 20, 2011 1956 – Alan Jones, Bowie, Maryland – July 26, 2011 1957 – Samuel Hagley, Jr., Palmyra, Virginia – May 11, 2011 Samuel’s sister writes: “Samuel J. Hagley, Jr. died on May 11, 2011 at his home in Lake Monticello, Virginia at the age of 75. He was born on March 28, 1936 in Charlotte and raised in Belmont, N.C. Sam was blessed with a loving family…Jerome, Sam’s son, summarized some of his character traits in this way—‘Dad never met a stranger, always had a warm, loving bear hug for people. Dad liked to have a good time and made sure everyone else did as well. Dad was an intellectual – he earned a patent while working in the chemistry lab of a major textile company. He was never without a cross-word puzzle and/or a paperback book novel in his back pocket.’ Sam had a unique sense of humor, was loved by all who knew him. He was one of a kind and will be missed. Sam will forever be with us in mind, heart and soul. We love you!” 1957 – James Robinson, Sparta, North Carolina – February 20, 2011 1959 – Norma Grayson, Gastonia, North Carolina – May 15, 2011 1964 – James Waters, Atlantic Beach, Florida – April 15, 2011 1966 – James Magner, Freehold, New Jersey – December 6, 2010 1966 – James Murphy, Stony Point, New York – July 25, 2011 1969 – Jerry Ware, South Dartmouth, Massachusetts – May 26, 2011 1972 – Andrew Boyle, Timonium, Maryland – October 20, 2010 1973 – Allen Stowe, Charlotte, North Carolina – April 18, 2011 1975 – Vernon Best, Dallas, North Carolina – May 10, 2011 1978 – Jeffrey Martin, Lorton, Virginia – September 1, 2011

70 CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Winter 2012


Benedictine Hallmark of Prayer St. Benedict founded the Order of St. Benedict. His devotion, longing, and love for God inspired him to write his Rule in the early Sixth Century. In chapter 20 of The Rule on the Reverence at Prayer, he directs us to pray in the following way: "If we were to ask a favor of a powerful man, we would only speak to him with humility and reverence. With how much greater reason should we present our requests in all humility and purity of devotion, to the Lord God of all things? And let us bear in mind, that we should be heard, not for our many words, but for our purity of heart, and our penitential tears. (Mt. 6:7) Our prayer, therefore, should be short and pure, unless by chance it is lengthened by the inspiration of Divine Grace. Let all prayer, however, made in common be short, and when the sign has been given by the Superior, let all rise together." The reference here is taken from the book The Rule of Saint Benedict published for Saint Benedict Press Š 2007. Following is my reflection on the theme of the prayer and the Benedictine Hallmark of Prayer. Prayer is a beautiful and polite way to talk to our Maker. Prayer is a way to cultivate our personal relationship and friendship with God. Prayer is the way to connect to God. Prayer is our direct link to God's Kingdom. Prayer is the quality time that we spend in the company of God and feel closeness to Him. Prayer is to praise and thank God for His beautiful Creation and for His merciful protection of us. Prayer is to ask for God's blessings, guidance, and direction to lead us on the right path and to be true to ourselves and to others. Prayer is the time to ask from a pure heart for God's forgiveness for our wrongdoings and implore His mercy. Prayer elevates our spirituality and inspires us to help those in need and brings us closer to God because serving the needy is to serve God. Prayer cultivates the love of God's Creation. Prayer puts us on the path that leads to our Maker. The Love of Jesus Christ and longing for Him and to be with Him are the primary goals of a Benedictine monk and are attained by leading a life of prayer and community service. Prayer is the most important part in the daily living of a Benedictine monk. Prayer is also the way of life for the Benedictines. The daily Vigils, Lauds, Midday Prayer, Mass and Vespers are when the Benedictines pray together with the community to invoke God's blessings, during which times prayers are offered for the welfare of all people and for the peace in the world. The true devotion of the monks during prayer leads the congregation into the spiritual and beautiful sanctuary of the Divine. The daily life of prayer fills the heart of a monk with the Love of Christ and the people so profoundly that he sees Christ in every person and feels love for every person. That Love of Christ and the people is manifested and is contagious on Benedictine campuses and can easily be felt in the campus air. Churches and chapels are central to the Benedictine higher education. On Benedictine college campuses, students, faculty, and staff are warmly and graciously welcomed by the

Winter 2012

monks to join them in their daily liturgies and Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Monks become the guiding lights of the spiritual lives of the members of the campus community. Students develop as whole persons - in mind, body, and spirit. Sports, including intramural games, are an integral part of the students' formation as whole persons. Students form not only as young scholars but also grow in spirituality with strong commitment to their faith and community. Benedictine hospitality extends not only to the Catholics, but also to the students, faculty, and staff of all faiths working on their campuses. The earnest commitment of the Benedictine monks to foster education, as well as their life of prayer and Lectio Divina, profoundly inspire and help all members of their community to grow spiritually. Gireesh Gupta, Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems, Belmont Abbey College

CROSSROADS

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

71


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Charlotte, NC Permit No. 3609

100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Rd. Belmont, NC 28012

onks?

got m

Belmont Abbey College - Crossroads Spring 2012  

Belmont Abbey College - Crossroads 2012