Home Entertainment The Catholic Culture Podcast: Episode 60

The Catholic Culture Podcast: Episode 60

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The Catholic Culture Podcast: Episode 60

Jan 8, 2020

Princeton University recently hosted and funded a very Catholic
event as part of its annual Being Human Festival. It was a
several-hour program dedicated to representations of St. Cecilia in
poetry, painting and music, exploring how a conversation between
these art forms can stir us to wonder and the contemplation of the
Divine. The day’s events included singing the Salve Regina and a
dinner in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast it was.

In the first part of this episode, Thomas and co-host James
Majewski lead a roundtable discussion in which event organizer Joe
Perez-Benzo, painter Andrew de Sa, and singer Emily de Sa look back
at the event and its humanizing/evangelizing effects on
participants. Joe explains how he was able to have an explicitly
Catholic event funded by an Ivy League university, and offers
suggestions as to how other Catholics can replicate this success
wherever God has placed them.

In part two, Andrew de Sa and poet James Matthew Wilson have fun
reflecting on an unexpected occurrence in which one of Andrew’s
paintings inspired a poem by James, which in turn inspired Andrew’s
painting of St. Cecilia (unveiled at the Princeton event). The
artists only became aware of this mutual inspiration after the

Part I

  • Overview of the festival and the event’s concept [4:32]
  • The religious demographics of the event [12:33]
  • The combination of poems and paintings holding audience
    attention [15:32]
  • Singing in a secular space filled with sacred art and the
    dynamic of the visual elements in conjunction with song
  • Andrew’s feelings around unveiling his new painting for the
    event [20:04]
  • Joe’s experience reading Latin classics at the places they
    describe or sites of their composition—ways of overcoming the
    modern isolation of works of art in a museum context [22:33]
  • Singing the Salve Regina in “mixed company” [27:25]
  • Getting the Princeton Humanities Council on board with the
    event, overcoming slight resistance [28:50]
  • Advice for hosting similar events in public spaces or at home
  • The involvement of the Carl Schmitt Foundation [40:12]
  • Emily de Sa and Ruth Swope perform ‘Jesu Sweet’ by Gustav Holst
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Part II

  • The providential influence between Andrew’s paintings and James
    Matthew Wilson’s poem [48:31]
  • Holding oneself open to inspiration and associations which can
    make an artwork more dense with meaning [54:46]
  • Theories of literary critics on the relevance of the artist’s
    intention to the viewer’s interpretation [57:17]
  • Distinguishing art forms in order to unite them [1:01:40]
  • Liturgy as the complete art from which the various art forms
    flow [1:05:44]

Photos and video:

Time lapse of Andrew de Sa painting his Flight into Egypt mural:

That painting inspired these lines in James Matthew Wilson’s
“Hasten To Aid Thy Fallen People”:

But every rising strain must strain indeed

To lend the form to what in truth is light,

And manifest peace as if it’s a deed

And give transcendence some arc of a flight.

The purity of every saint

Will be daubed on with sloppy paint,

And what no thought may comprehend or say

Must be taught in the staging of a play.

Those lines inspired Andrew de Sa’s painting of St. Cecelia,
unveiled at the Princeton event:

Joe Perez-Benzo helps tourgoers enter into the mystery of the
Incarnation as James Majewski looks on:

Emily de Sa and Ruth Swope perform Holst’s Four Songs for
Voice and Violin
in the beautiful Princeton University Art
Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYhryVUVlFI

Final panel with Joe Perez-Benzo, Emily de Sa and Andrew de


Poetry which inspired Andrew de Sa’s St. Cecilia painting:

Andrew and Emily de Sa’s website: http://studiodesa.com/

Andrew de Sa on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajdesa/

James Matthew Wilson’s website: https://www.jamesmatthewwilson.com/

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Being Human Festival: https://beinghumanfestival.org/

John Dryden, Alexander’s Feast: http://jacklynch.net/Texts/alexander.html

Carl Schmitt Foundation: https://carlschmitt.org/

James Matthew Wilson, The River of the Immaculate


This podcast is a production of CatholicCulture.org. If you like
the show, please consider supporting us! http://catholicculture.org/donate/audio

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