National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Inside NCR
Issue Date:  April 2, 2004

From the Editor's Desk

New and notable

The agenda has been so full in recent months that I’ve kept putting some in-house matters on the back burner. So it’s time to introduce you to two people who recently joined us in the newsroom.

Benedictine Sr. Antonia Ryan came on board in October as associate to opinion editor Margot Patterson.

Ryan, who received a degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a master’s in church history from St. John University, a Benedictine school in Collegeville, Minn., recently took first vows at the Benedictine Monastery of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kan.

She brings a broad interest in literature, linguistic precision and a fierce attention to detail to the job of helping Patterson shape the paper’s opinion section.

She has attracted the attention of the local media in recent months. A feature on her journey to religious life appeared last September in the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press. More recently she was featured (along with two of her recipes, one for Peanut Noodle Bowl and another for Black Bean Enchiladas, in the food pages of The Kansas City Star. She lives with four other sisters in Overland Park, Kan., and told the Star interviewer, “I love to come home and see what’s there and make something from it -- like an artwork.”

Of her path to religious life in an age when so many see such distress in the church, she said, “I love God and I love religious life. I love being part of the tradition. I see the church as both human and divine. The human part has a lot of sin in it, but it also has a lot of beauty. We can never forget the fact that it is divine; both of those are part of the church, human and divine.”

~ ~ ~

Some of you already may have met by telephone Tara Harris, assistant to the editor. Harris graduated magna cum laude in history from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., where she was a member of Phi Sigma Tau, the philosophy honors society.

It is not unusual to see her plowing, for pleasure, through some intimidating tome, and she has a breezy way of peppering conversation around the newsroom with historical perspective.

Her favorite historical period is early modern Europe. History, she says, “resonates in events today; read a newspaper today and it’s basically the same as 100 years ago or 200 years ago. We don’t learn from it because we don’t know it.”

As assistant to the editor, she is primarily charged with bringing some order to the chaos of this office and in many ways has already worked a mighty miracle. Those of you who have received timely correspondence, or had phone calls returned right away, thank Tara. My notes to myself and phone messages aren’t getting lost as often these days.

She also has brought great order to the once wild and unkempt third-floor library and reference magazine shelves. The only time I’ve discovered her mildly grumpy is when the Chiefs lost in the first round of the NFL playoffs.

~ ~ ~

A group of mostly Mexican miners are in a tough struggle with CW Mining Co. in Utah. They are being helped, as Melissa Jones reports, by San Rafael, a nearby Catholic mission (see story). Information regarding San Rafael’s efforts to help the miners can be obtained by calling the mission’s mother parish, Notre Dame de Lourdes in Price, Utah, (435) 637-1846.

-- Tom Roberts

National Catholic Reporter, April 2, 2004

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