Mother Angelica is my hero. It’s a name anyone who works in media should know. Although small and unassuming, “she was the only woman in television history to found and lead a cable network,” says her biographer Raymond Arroyo. But before she was a broadcasting to millions in their home, she was just a small girl from a bad part of town in Canton, Ohio. I will give a trigger warning; Angelica’s early life was not a happy one. There is mention of child neglect and suicide in this post; proceed with caution.
Before Angelica There was Rita
Before Mother Angelica entered religious life, she was Rita Rizzo, a tough girl with a big attitude and bigger heart. Born on April 20, 1923 in Canton, Ohio, Rizzo had everything stacked against her. By all odds she should have died into the poverty she was born into. Her grandparents were Italian immigrants, her parents divorced, and even the Catholic nuns in here school seemed to look down on her. After her mother divorced her deadbeat father, they were left with only each other. Her mother, Mae Francis, fell into depression and Rizzo became her emotional rock at a young age. Between her mother’s breakdowns, rat-infested living conditions, and her own health problems, Rizzo never had a real childhood.
Halloween is in two days! While in America along with other countries, we celebrate by wearing costumes and passing out candy to children, the holiday did not originally start this way. Here is the origin of Halloween and a look at how other countries celebrate their passed loved ones.
The word Halloween originates from the phrase “Hallows’ Eve” meaning the night before All Saints’ Day. The holiday was founded by Pope Gregory III to honor the men and women who had high degrees of holiness or faithfulness. Catholics today still celebrate this holiday by holding a vigil the night before and going to mass on November first. Somewhere between the 12th and 15th century, the practice of dressing up as a favorite saint became popular. This is one of the many reasons we now use costumes during Halloween. Today Halloween has changed from being a religious holiday to honor the dead into a festive night to wear costumes, scare each other, and eat candy.
Dia de Los Muertos, Mexico
Cemeteries are decorated with flowers and candles.
Families keep watch over the graves all night long.
Contrary to popular belief, Dia de Los Muertos is not a Mexican Halloween. The holiday was first introduced by the Catholic Spanish as All Souls’ Day, a day in which all the faithful departed are prayed for and their lives celebrated. The indigenous people of Mexico were already celebrating their dead in their own summer ritual. According to their traditions mourning was seen as disrespectful, so they honored their ancestors by festivities and dancing. After the country converted into a Catholic culture, these Aztec traditions were included. Continue reading “How We Celebrate the Dead”→
This past week there was a display on the Admin lawn sponsored by the College of Art and Architecture and the organization For Freedoms. They asked students to write about what freedom means to them and what specific freedoms they want. There was a lot of talk on the nature of rights in general, but I want to focus on the rights granted by the First Amendment.
As a journalism student I am required to study the First Amendment, its origin, and how it has been used in history. As a US citizen, I think it is important to know exactly what our country can do for us, what we can demand of our country, and how we are protected from government overreach. Continue reading “First Amendment Heroines”→
Writing for this blog has opened me up to new thoughts and ideas. I am challenged to think critically about the issues surrounding women and humanity as a whole. I am a believer that in order to find solutions to problems, definitions are needed. What is woman? I told myself, “I know what it is to be a woman, at least I know that I am one.” Besides exploring my gender with science, I wanted to know what it means to be a woman from a philosophical point of view.
I recently went to a lecture about the nature of woman and was introduced to the works of Dr. Edith Stein. She was an early 20th century philosopher whose research focused on women, empathy, and “feminine” traits. As I researched her life and read her lectures, I found the explanation to what I hadn’t been able to put into words before.
The Jew, the Atheist, and the Believer
Stein was born in in 1891 in Breslua, Germany, which is now in modern-day Poland. She was the youngest of eleven children and her parents were devout Jews. She was very close to her mother and was considered her favourite. Life circumstances, including the death of her father, led her to become an atheist by her teens. “I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying.”
Stein was academically brilliant, studying German and history at University of Breslua, and later philosophy at Gottingen University. She was particularly interested in women’s issues and was a self-described radical suffragette. The subject of women in a professional setting and religious living became her focus later on in life. In 1915, she served as a nurse in WWI, where she was deeply disturbed by the sickness and death she witnessed. After a year, Stein returned to school and earned her doctorate summa cum laude with her thesis “The Problem of Empathy.”
Who knew four words could be so subversive, so controversial? With those four words, Ariana Grande changed her career, probably forever. These words show us that when it comes to power, especially the extreme power of a deity, gender matters. Gender really matters. You can’t just ignore gender when it comes to gods, artists, or U.S. presidents. Those roles are reserved for men, and when you dare to say otherwise, there will be backlash.
Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”
Ariana Grande’s version
If you have yet to see the music video for “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande, I would recommend taking a moment to view it at this link before you continue to read. This video is filled with imagery empowering to women. In my personal favorite part of the music video, Grande literally breaks the glass ceiling with a giant metal hammer. The video also alludes to many classic artworks, recreating them with Grande at the helm instead of a man. For example, the last shot of the video shows a new version of Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. There is also a depiction of The Thinker by Rodin, in which Grande sits in the same posture as the thinking man while men throw gendered slurs at her, trying to tear her down. It is through these gender-reversed images that the viewer begins the realize how infrequently women are shown in positions of power historically. It is almost difficult to recognize how little representation there is until you are confronted with images that you have, amazingly, never seen before.
I first came to UI in 2016. I was here for a semester and doing well academically but I was struggling with anxiety. After talking with my parents, it was decided I would go live with them in Mexico. It was a decision I wasn’t all too excited about, but I came to be grateful for the opportunities it gave me. I found myself in my mom’s home state of Guanajuato and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I was taking Spanish classes (a story that deserves its own post) and exploring the state’s beautiful capital city. But I wasn’t feeling all that productive. I wanted to do something meaningful so that I wouldn’t feel bad for leaving university. I was prideful and the cure for pride is humility.
That is when I found out about the Convento del Buen Pastor (Convent of the Good Shepherd), and I immediately knew I wanted to volunteer my time with them. Though their website hadn’t been updated since 2011, others confirmed that it was still open, and I was able to talk with the social worker on the phone. Buen Pastor is a church-run and state-sponsored foster home for girls and a women’s shelter that supports those in and outside of the state. The website describes their mission: Continue reading “Las Niñas del Buen Pastor (The Girls of Buen Pastor)”→
Hi! I’m Vicky, an aspiring journalist and student here at UI. Ever since I was a young teen, I’ve felt a special calling to help women and children. One of the biggest vices in society today is the devaluation of women and the gifts they uniquely bring to the world. With these gifts come unique struggles, especially regarding women’s health and pregnancy. I believe it is helpful to have a community of women helping women. By listening to all women’s voices, the values that come from our different cultures, the common goals we share, and even the differences we have, we are able to support and build each other up. This is why I decided to write for the Women’s Center, not only to share my opinion, but to share the voices of all women at UI.
Here’s a bit of my personal history and like all Latinos, it starts with family. My parents were both immigrants to this country. My mom came to L.A. from Mexico when she was two. My dad arrived in New York City from the Dominican Republic at the age of fourteen. They both joined the Navy, were stationed in Virginia, met at a salsa club, and had my brother and I. They are some of the strongest people I know, especially my mom. They fought to make their dreams a reality and in turn helped build a future for their children. They are my everything and they continue to teach me how to love with truth and compassion.
Being a Navy brat, I was given the opportunity to travel across the country and abroad. My favorite childhood moments are from when I lived in Japan–walking through the city, visiting temples, and meeting people from everywhere! I’m most happy when I am travelling and learning new cultures and I could not imagine living in one place for more than five years. Even though it’s sad leaving a place where I’ve spent time with a great community, I have been able to meet so many people from all walks of life.