Sr. Varley prays with paint

{mosimage}TORONTO - She may not be able to trace her ancestral roots to Group of Seven painter Frederick Varley, but Sr. Virginia Varley, CSJ, says that in the art world, “the name does me no harm.”

Digital revolution creates opportunities for religion

SHERBROOKE, Que. - There is a “digital revolution” transforming today’s mass media in ways that pose both risks and opportunities for evangelization, says a Quebec communications expert.

The Richard family’s love of music, each other, shines on CD

The Richard family`Some jokingly call them the Catholic Von Trapp Family. And there are similarities as Mary and Louis Richard, with their children Nicole, 21, Cecile, 18, Catherine, 15, Daniel, 13, and Anna, 10, do sing together as a family.

The Richards recently produced a CD of their own religious music — composed, arranged, performed and sung by the entire family.

Taking creative steps to healing

{mosimage}TORONTO - Before he walked into 6 St. Joseph House a year-and-a-half ago, Dave Evans was no artist. “I was getting drunk on the side of the street,” is how he describes his typical day as an addicted and usually homeless man.

Franciscan convent outdraws Mayan ruins

{mosimage}IZAMAL, Mexico - The Yucatan. To sun-starved Canadians the very name conjures up images of Caribbean beaches, a turquoise sea and ancient Mayan ruins. Lots of them. The Yucatan Peninsula is reputed to have one of the richest stores of archeological treasures in the world. It is populated by the Maya, the largest indigenous group in North America and the focus of Mel Gibson’s recent movie Apocalypto. Multitudes of Canadians visit every year.

Advent readings save us from twisted Christmas

TORONTO - When Kathleen Norris pulled back the curtain on what Benedictine life is really about in her ground-breaking 1997 book Cloister Walk, she wanted readers to know it’s not easy being spiritual. She wrote about loneliness and heartbreak and not knowing and just what it might feel like to haul one’s body off to chapel five times a day, every day, for the rest of your life.

Irish Catholic artist finds the ‘Undeniable Truth’

TORONTO - Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and to those non-Jews called the “Righteous Among the Nations” who helped save Jews at great personal risk. As a follow-up to this year’s Holocaust Education Week, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem will be hosting an exhibition of 33 works by the Catholic Irish artist Thomas Delohery. The show is titled “Undeniable Truth.”

Payback time for Choir School alumni

{mosimage}TORONTO - Kevin Hearn of the Canadian pop band the Barenaked Ladies, jazz singer Matt Dusk, tenors John McDermott and Michael Burgess and concert pianist Stewart Goodyear are all St. Michael’s Choir School alumni who have gone on to become successful musicians both here and abroad. As a tribute to the school for its 70th anniversary, they will all perform at Roy Thomson Hall Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. along with the Canada Pops Orchestra and the boys of St. Michael’s Choir School.

Toronto artist paints papal picture

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto’s Dr. Suan Seh Foo presented Pope Benedict XVI with a portrait he had painted of the pontiff at a private audience at the Vatican last December.

Lorraine Williams' two vocations

Lorraine WilliamsMARKHAM, Ont. - If Marshall McLuhan says you ought to be on the left bank of the Seine writing, perhaps you should book a trip to Paris and buy a leather-bound notebook. But that’s not what Lorraine Williams did after her famous English professor told her he thought she might have a career as a writer.

Not that she didn’t appreciate McLuhan’s encouragement of her very young self as she sipped wine at a reception following graduation from Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College in 1953.

Catholic poet captures essence of the city

{mosimage}Blaise Moritz’s poems recall an age when honest work gave shape and meaning to life. Moritz deals in both nostalgia and hope and, infused with a desire for justice, he is not afraid to deliver a barb where a barb is due.