Dominican Institute for the Arts
Dominican Institute for the Arts
www.diartsop.org
www.diartsop.org

Searching for Truth and Beauty. Preaching through the Transforming Power of the Arts
Searching for Truth and Beauty. Preaching through the Transforming Power of the Arts
Elizabeth Michael Boyle OP
In 2014 Elizabeth Michael Boyle was presented the Spirit of DIA recognition for her service to DIA. It was with delight we presented the 2010 Fra Angelico Award to our sister, Elizabeth Michael Boyle, Dominican of  Caldwell. Elizabeth Michael Boyle, OP is a Caldwell Dominicanand retired Professor of English at Caldwell College. 

She received her MA at Catholic University of America and her PhD from Drew University. She is a member of the Academy of American Poets.

A master of the well-honed word, Elizabeth Michael has authored Preaching the Poetry of the Gospels A Lyric Companion to the Lectionary (The Liturgical Press, 2003) which took first place award from the Catholic Press Association. Her second book, Science as Sacred Metaphor: An Evolving Revelation (The Liturgical Press, 2006) contains reflections on the liturgical seasons through the prism of science, using everything from evolution to string theory as poetic texts. Her latest publication, Gift Exchange (Pudding House Press, 20I0) is a chapbook of poems inspired by the arts.

Every poet, potter, pianist, painter, playwright, preacher, pliaist', photographer understands that contemplation precedes transformation. A definition of contemplation,
popularly ascribed to English mystics of the Middle Ages, is to take a long loving look at the real & and not avert our eyes.

Not just any look. Some looks can be cold, hard, rolled, jaded. It's a long loving look, the look that stays with/stands with; a look that ruminates' for days, months,
even years; a look that sinks deep, takes root until finally it lets go -- scales drop and all things are made new. And contemplation is a long loving look at the real: In a
world of imitation leather, faux pearls, rock climbing in malls, instant oatmeal, home trailers laced with formaldehyde and homeland security, finding the takes some looking.

Years ago Amos Wilder wrote:It is at the level of imagination that the fateful issues of
our new world-experience must first be mastered. Before the message there must be the vision, before the sermon the hymn, before the prose, the poem. Before the prose, the poem. 

When reading poetry, I find myself standing on tiptoe looking over the edge to see
beyond the words to the more they hold
       -the glint of light reflected off a well turned phrase
       -the wince experienced when unexpectedly convicted
       -the tear that wells up in solidarity, resonating within from some deep place

Listen to Sunt Lacrymae Rerum
In the forest where
no ear listens
the tree falls
without a sound.
So say the monolingual philosophers.
But the tree knows better.
In each shriveled leaf
uptorn root
and still-born blossom
the tree, like other poets,
hears distinctly
the music of the tears in things.
In one forest
no tree falls
without an echo
in song.

As we know, every inspiring poem and work of
provocative prose is a pearl of great price' truth, beauty,
wisdom formed out of those irritating grains of sand. We
listen:

Moving across the blank page
the sound of my pencil
creates a silence
the wake of a tiny ship.
The silence becomes a person
more real to me than myself
a companion looking over my shoulder
smiling a little at the poem
that has ceased to matter.
Nothing I shall ever write
can be more true
more trustworthy
than this faceless presence
beside
beyond
inexorably within.
The wise ones called you Unpronounceable.
He called you Abba.
Now they tell us to call you
Quantum Vacuum, Empty Fullness.
Whatever.
Language neither creates nor destroys
this moment
this moving stillness
whose white sails carry me
through darkest waters

The Bible and Literature

By Elizabeth Michael Boyle, O.P. and Carol J. Dempsey, O.P.

This interdisciplinary text pairs familiar biblical selections with compelling literary works of our time in ways that illuminate both. The multicultural range and contemporary relevance of the literary choices distinguishes this volume from traditional courses on the same subject.

The Bible and Literature is the third volume in the Theology in Dialogue Series from Orbis Books, ideal for combining core curriculum requirements in the humanities.
Poetry is very important to Sister Elizabeth Michael Boyle, O.P., Ph.D. Having taught it for most of her life, she sees its connections to a valuable life. In this film, Kirsten Whitt presents Sister Elizabeth through the poetry she so values in her life.

The Poetry of Dominican Life: An Evolving Revelation is a film by Kirsten Whitt about her experiences with Sister Elizabeth Michael Boyle, O.P., Ph.D. during the Spring of 2016 oral history project at Caldwell University (caldwell.edu/). Part of an ongoing project to support and promote the development of NationalCatholicSistersWeek.org