Sr Rose Pacatte

From Telemedium, The Journal of Media Literacy

Vol 54, No 2&3. Published Winter 2007

Sr. Rose Pacatte [& Chris Worsnop] Receive the 2007Jessie McCanse Award

Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of the award that honors NTC’s co-founder Jessie McCanse, two eminent educators share the recognition, presented this year to Canadian educator Chris Worsnop, and Los Angeles–based Sr. Rose Pacatte.
In announcing the awards, NTC President Karen Ambrosh said, “This year’s recipients exemplify the high principles of excellence, dedication and innovation that the Jessie McCanse Award for Individual Contribution to Media Literacy represents. Both Rose and Chris consistently contribute deeply rich and thoughtful leadership to the field of media education.”


A Daughter of St. Paul, Sr. Rose is the founding Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Boston, and Director of its Los Angeles Western branch, where she has developed a first-of-its-kind educational facility that offers media literacy classes including most recently an accredited Master Teaching Certificate. She is a 1995 graduate of the Masters Degree Programme at the University of London, the phenomenal Research Center for Children, Media and Education directed by Professor David Buckingham (Jessie McCanse Award, 2005). Her impressive 11-page CV attests to the wealth and diversity of Rose’s contribution: from her books, film critiques and weekly columns to curriculum guides and workshops, and to her other media interests, including a passion for film, which has earned her a place in the Hollywood scene where she can be found as both critic and participant, author and film maker.

Last but not least, Sr. Rose may wear the serious habit of a Daughter of St. Paul but the smile, and the twinkle in her eye hint at the lighter side of Rose, her delightful sense of humor and willingness to play…as seen in her appearances on Network TV’s “Last Comic Standing”  and recently as one of “The Hundred” of “The Mob”. Is it a coincidence that both of our awardees this year complement their deep and serious dedication to media education with the lighter touch?

The Award ceremony for Sr. Rose took place in Hollywood among her cherished California community of film makers and Catholic communicators on the occasion of the prestigious Gabriel Awards. Ross McCanse, son of Jessie McCanse and himself a distinguished producer-director, presented the award as spokesman for his mother’s legacy in a moving personal tribute. Representing the National Telemedia Council were NTC President KarenAmbrosh and Executive Director Marieli Rowe, who said, in her introduction: “Sr. Rose is a most amazing valuable human being, so grounded in a deeply scholarly understanding of media education and a sound pedagogy, all comfortably aligned in her faith. She is a most worthy honoree for the award named in honor of Jessie McCanse.

Sr. Rose Shares her Vision...

The one compelling force that has driven my life since I was about eleven years old is the quest for meaning, that what I would do with my life would make sense, and that it would matter. The quest led me, while still in high school, into religious life in the convent as a Daughter of St. Paul. Here I discovered that the mission of the Daughters of St. Paul is to use the communications media–what are now the press, film, radio, televison,  DVD’s, the Internet-to spread God’s Word to all. In 1984 my community modified our rule of life by adding a significant article to our Constitutions; Number 25 reads in part:

The education and formation of the audience to critically discern the messages communicated through traditional mass media and emerging forms of social communication are important media formation and education projects to the Daughters of St. Paul.

What this meant became startling clear to me a few years later in 1990 when I heard Elizabeth Thoman, founder of the Center for Media Literacy, speak at a Catholic  communicators conference. All of a sudden spiritual, educational, practical, and experiential aspects of my life’s work began to integrate. This encounter led me to the media literacy conference in Guelf, Ontario and on to the University of London’s Institute of Education for a Master of Arts in Education in Media Studies degree in 1995. The rest, as they say, is on-going history.

As my co-honoree, mentor and media literacy education colleague, Chris Worsnop, wrote, “Media education is a quest for meaning. Much of the value of a quest lies in the search itself as well as in the achievement of the goal.

My vision is that this quest for meaning that takes place on the story-telling media landscape be increasingly shared through media literacy education in our living rooms, class rooms, and pews. To be part of the quest and to journey with others on this continual search for meaning through communication is energizing and fulfilling. Even as meanings are contested, media literacy education creates a peaceful, safe space for authentic dialogue between all people of all cultures, creeds, and