Joannie Watson

About the Author

Joannie Watson

Joan Watson was born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, but college and graduate school took her to Virginia, Ohio, and Rome. After graduating from Christendom College with a B.A. in History and Franciscan University with a M.A. in Theology, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to be part of the explosion of Catholic culture in the middle of the Bible Belt.

She has been blessed to work for Dr. Scott Hahn at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia at Aquinas College. She is presently the Director of Adult Formation for the Diocese of Nashville. When she’s not testing the culinary exploits of new restaurants or catching up on the latest BBC miniseries, she’s FaceTiming with her eight nephews and nieces and enjoying her role as coolest aunt. She likes gelato, bourbon, and the color orange.

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Living the Joy of the Gospel

Pope Francis speaks frequently of the need to go out to the peripheries.  While this can be interpreted many different ways, I recently I saw this lived out—not in the “peripheries” of the inner-city poor or on the faraway soil of a foreign country, but smack in the middle of Hollywood. Let’s face it. When it comes to places we […]

The Sacrifice of a Smile

I have been reading a lot of St. Josemaría Escrivá lately, as well as a daily meditation based on the spirituality of Escrivá, and I am often struck how often smiling is mentioned. St. Josemaría’s spirituality is based on the notion that we can all become saints in our ordinary lives, with our ordinary jobs and responsibilities, amidst the ordinary […]

Meat: To Eat or Not To Eat

In many dioceses next week, the bishops have chosen the waive the Friday requirement to abstain from meat in light of St. Patrick’s Day. Since St. Patrick’s Day is not a solemnity in the United States, the requirement to abstain is not lifted unless a bishop chooses to do so in his diocese, which is the prerogative of the individual bishop. […]

Learning to Carry Your Cross

Four years ago, I was in the middle of a rocky phase of life.  I was moving apartments, there were major changes at my workplace, and a priest who kept me sane was suddenly transferred to another mission.  There was change in my personal world, my work world, and my spiritual world. Lent was still several weeks away, but I […]

Reclaiming Carnival

We are in the midst of the season of Carnival right now.  It will culminate next Tuesday on what various cultures call Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. Like another upcoming holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, this is a festival of the Church which has been stolen by our secular culture that’s obsessed with eating, drinking, and making merry.  To say […]

Love Your Enemies

I was reading a book about the parables the other day, and a statement by the author struck me – not because I didn’t know it, but because I realized that it had ceased to be revolutionary for me: “Only Jesus insists on loving the enemy … He may be the only person in antiquity to have given this instruction.” […]

Confessionals

Moments of Grace

Bob Ross came up in conversation the other day, as cultural icons are wont to do, and I quoted his famous quip, “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.”  I pointed out that while it sounded nice, it wasn’t very theologically correct.  Of course I make mistakes—sins—and they’re not so happy. One of my priest friends came back with St. […]

The Theology of Bob Ross

What is the deal with Bob Ross?  A cultural icon from the 80s and 90s, Bob Ross is a painter best known for his fro, pet squirrel, and crazy ability to turn a line of paint into a pine tree.  How does a guy who paints landscapes on public television gain a cult following? I remember my sister watching him […]

"The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity" (detail) by Velázquez

The Church’s Weighty Call to Women

It is an odd time to be a woman.  Never before have women had the freedom and opportunities that I have; at the same time, never before has the identity of woman been so confused.  It is no surprise, then, that Pope Francis has called for a “theology of woman.” The purpose of the Women’s March on Washington still remains […]

The New Home Prepared for Us

Most of my musings about theology and spirituality come in the middle of ordinary tasks, and the story behind this post is nothing different. One morning over the Christmas holiday, my sister’s husband and I were emptying the dishwasher from the night before and putting all the dishes away in the cabinets.  I realized that Patrick knew exactly where everything […]