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 fact.
Photos and video:
Time lapse of Andrew de Sa painting his Flight into Egypt mural: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGRiLg2dTvc
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 Sa:
Poetry which inspired Andrew de Sa’s St. Cecilia painting: http://studiodesa.com/book
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/
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 Conception: https://www.wisebloodbooks.com/store/p96/The_River_of_the_Immaculate_Conception.html