Joannie Watson

About the Author

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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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 […]

Father Scanlan, Rest in Peace

Another pioneer in Catholic education has gone to his much-deserved reward. News came last Saturday morning that Father Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., President Emeritus of Franciscan University, has passed away. As an alumna of both Christendom College and Franciscan University, when I received the news, I thought back to the moment I found out that Christendom’s founder, Dr. Warren Carroll, had died […]

"The Adoration of the Magi" (detail) by Jan de Bray

The Courage of the Magi

January 6 is the traditional feast of the Epiphany, twelve days after Christmas.  I’ve always been intrigued by the Magi.  Their story forms the majority of Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus Christ, and yet there remain so many questions about these mysterious figures. Where did they come from? How did they know to follow the star? What did […]

Good King Wenceslaus and Christmas’ Call to Holiness

Most Christmas carols are about that first Christmas night or the celebration of Christmas today.  But one stands out as something different. In a way, the carol “Good King Wenceslaus” isn’t as much about Christmas as it is about what Christmas requires of us. “Good King Wenceslaus” always gets stuck in my head on two days: September 28 and December […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Balestra

St. Januarius, Christmas, and our response

Last week, the Italian Catholic church was given a shock—not because something miraculous happened, but because it didn’t happen.  Three times a year, a reliquary holding the blood of San Gennaro, or Saint Januarius, is removed from the case where it is held, and in the hands of the abbot of the chapel, the dried blood in the vial turns […]

What Will I Give Him?

Have you marked everything off your Christmas to-do list?  You would think with the longest Advent possible, I would have all my Christmas shopping, baking, and card-writing almost finished.  You would be wrong. Regardless of whether Advent is an entire four weeks or only three weeks and a day (like next year), I will always feel like I’m running behind […]

Waiting Together

If the Jews are waiting for the Messiah, and the Christians are waiting for him to come again… we might as well wait together. I heard a local rabbi express this a few months ago—he was paraphrasing a well-known Jewish philosopher—and it came to mind while I was reflecting on the season of Advent.  A large number of my neighbors […]

Have Yourself a Counter-Cultural Advent

Here we are once again, beginning my favorite season of the year: Advent.  It’s the longest it can possibly be this year, too, so it’s a good thing I like it. I’ve decided that Advent is the most counter-cultural season we celebrate.  I’m not only referring to the fact that the world seems to celebrate Christmas as soon as it […]

The Week of “In-betweenness” and the Kingdom of God

There always seems to be a feeling of “in-betweenness” during the last week of Ordinary Time.  We have just celebrated the great feast of Christ the King, which also signals the end of the liturgical year.  After the great feast we have the Thirty-fourth Week of Ordinary Time, but we’re awaiting the first Sunday of Advent.  In some ways, it feels […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

The Message of Mercy: Will it just be a passing fad?

As the Year of Mercy comes to a close in Rome and throughout the world, there is a tendency to move onto the next thing.  Throughout this year, I’ve gotten the question numerous times: “What’s the theme next year?” First, this year has been an extraordinary Jubilee Year, during which unique graces have been made available to us in extraordinary […]