Lumen Ecclesiae Press Interview with Founder and General Editor Sr. John Dominic Rasmussen O.P.

The article below is an excerpt taken from “And The Truth Shall Set You Free,” a weekly podcast series hosted by Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP. The producer of the series was GoLEDigital, a digital community created by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

For the Audio Presentation of this article, click here:

I am thrilled to have one of my best buddies in the whole world, Sr. John Dominic Rasmussen, with me today. Sr. John Dominic is the co-founder of Lumen Ecclesiae Press and one of the foundresses of our community. Twenty-one years ago, four of us banded together by the Holy Spirit’s guidance and began a community whose rapid growth could’ve only been predicted and imagined by God.

I have known Sister for years, even before our community started. I could tell you a lot about her life history. However, I don’t think she would appreciate that. So Sister, would you please share with our audience something about your life history?

For the Video Presentation of this article click here:

Sr. John Dominic:

My life history? Okay. So before conversion, is that what you’re looking for?

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Yes, yes.

Sr. John Dominic:

So I converted to become a Catholic when I was in high school, actually, and that took place when you taught me religion and challenged me.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

How do you like that?

Sr. John Dominic:

That’s right. Prior to that, I grew up in a wonderful home. I am originally from Nashville, Tennessee. My parents were very loving and good. We moved to California and were good, upright people. But practicing any sort of faith was not common. Going to church on Sunday was not a part of our daily life. We had looked at some private schools and settled on Saint Cecelia Academy. We figured I could kind of avoid the faith aspect if I got involved with sports and academics. So I did exactly that: I played sports. 

During my sophomore year, I took a morality course that you taught. I would challenge the things you taught. The more I challenged the truth, and the more I encountered the truth, the more I saw that the truth set me free. By the end of the year, I was baptized, had my First Holy Communion, and became a Catholic.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Sr. John Dominic as a student was very interesting. She did not really know much about faith, but she had an incredibly deep desire to know God for which she prayed constantly. She had a very strong, active mind that would know truth and submit to it with what I would call holy vulnerability when she would find him. So we would have our battles, and she would come out saying, “Now I get it. Thank you.” 

When did you decide to enter the convent?

Sr. John Dominic:

I entered right after high school. God really does answer our prayers. When I was younger, I was at a public school, and then I went to a Christian school. In this Christian school we had a weekly assembly and would sing this song about the end of times, and some people would be left behind. That scared me because I realized I had this exposure to the Christian faith. So, I would just open Scripture and read if I started having this fear, and I began to find peace just opening up the Bible and reading it. Shortly thereafter, I started saying this prayer every day, “Dear God, show me how to love you more.” And I believe that as I journeyed through those years, elementary school, junior high, high school, he was answering that.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Beautiful. As I mentioned, not only are you one of the foundresses but you are the founder of a publishing company called Lumen Ecclesiae Press. How did that come about?

Sr. John Dominic:

So I think all of this really flows from our Dominican Charism. Lumen Ecclesiae means “Light of the Church.” Jesus told us we don’t want to put everything under a bushel basket, we want to be able to spread it out. So we looked at how we could use technology and reach more people. I think that this is what St. Dominic did in his time. He was there as a canon, and then as he began to encounter people and encounter heresies, he wanted to bring truth to them. And thank goodness we don’t have to walk everywhere barefoot and that we don’t have to go over the Pyrenees. 

Instead, we are going to the airways, and we can reach more people. For someone in their car stuck in traffic, we can be there. 

We think about how to praise, to bless, and to preach. Well, how can we do that? We hope that our words, actions, and released publications will give praise to God. 

We know all of the many ways that we can touch people’s lives and bring blessings flow from our prayer life and from our contemplation we give to others. That’s where the preaching and teaching come in. When we try to understand where Lumen Ecclesiae came from, some might overlook or not care for the details. But I try to see and understand these details. 

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Right. We all have different gifts. We complement one another. But you have been involved in education for years and probably have seen many changes.

Sr. John Dominic:

Correct, I have. Being involved in education now for over 30 years and watching how things have evolved and changed, I wanted to find a way that we could bring the gifts and talents that God has so generously given to us in the many beautiful Sisters in our community and share them with more people. 

I think what’s motivating this is being able to reach people and to bring the truth to them so that they can, on a personal level, have the same experience that I did. It is important to see that the truth truly sets you free.

So, how do we do this? Well in today’s world we are living in the age of technology, and we are going to build technology platforms to spread the good, the true, and the beautiful to others. It would be hard to have everything fall under the umbrella of Lumen Ecclesiae, so we came up with GoLE.Global. We do not want to stay in just one part of the world – we want to use technology to go everywhere. So we will use print, audio, and visuals to reach people. We want to be accessible through any means of accessing and consuming content because we recognize people do this in various ways. It is split up into the following three separate sections for learning: Vocations, Education, and Culture.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Beautiful.

Sr. John Dominic:

Everything with virtue is interrelated in those areas. We’re trying to figure out how we can reach every soul, and we talk about the importance of silence and the interior and exterior noise because technology is filling up our days. You may think you are silent, but you are not silent because you’re on the device. So we have been intentional about creating, on the publishing side,  Lectio Divina journals. There are also the Life of Christ Lectio Divina journals which teaches people how to meditate and how to go to that silent, quiet place to encounter the word of God. We have those journals, which are on Advent and Lent, among other things, so that people can really spend time focusing on Scripture.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Could something like this be used perhaps in both a traditional classroom and homeschool and even by an individual doing his or her prayer time in the quiet of a chapel, in the quiet of their bedroom, or wherever they might pray?

Sr. John Dominic:

It can be used by anybody, anywhere. We have classes that oftentimes start in seventh grade in school, and by the time eighth grade graduation comes around, kids have gone through and meditated on the life of Christ. More and more, we’re getting schools that are incorporating this into their curriculum.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

How widespread is this becoming now?

Sr. John Dominic:

Well, Education in Virtue is in over 400 schools.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

My goodness. We can’t be everywhere, but we are trying. 

Sr. John Dominic:

This is another way we can do it. Lectio Divina is also one part of that, as well as teaching about virtue through the Virtue program so that virtue becomes the lexicon of the entire school. You would be surprised how simply using that language changes the culture of a school. You can go from saying, “You’re the meanest little girl that’s ever entered my classroom,” to saying, “Come here dear. Let’s figure out ways that you can be more kind or more affable.” Under Lumen Ecclesiae Press, we have Disciple of Christ Education and Virtue, and we also have Disciple of Christ, Education in Faith. 

There’s a particular logo that we use for both of those, so if anyone sees it, they know that those materials were created by the Dominican Sisters. Lastly, Disciple of Education in Faith is more on catechesis, so that is where we have evangelization and catechesis materials.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Beautiful. So you are covering K-12 and Catechist materials as well?

Sr. John Dominic:

Yes. Right now the first published work is called Echoing the Mystery: Unlocking the Deposit of Faith in Catechesis. It is answering the question a catechist is asking, “What do I need to teach, or what do my students need to know?” It is an amazing resource for anyone to learn the faith, and especially so for RCIA teachers that are teaching the faith.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

Beautiful. I love this. I wish I had this when I was teaching you. I might have been able to get you to have converted much more easily!

Sr. John Dominic.

Yes. It is a great resource, and there is a lot more to come.

Sr. Joseph Andrew:

There is a lot more to come, that is wonderful! Please keep this in your beautiful prayers as we, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, strive to come into your homes, your hearts, your children, your friends, your parents, and everyone else. We strive to touch every single person as Sr. John Dominic has so beautifully expressed because each of us desires to know and love and serve God. This fits into every single human heart. 

Sr. John Dominic, I really want to thank you for being with us. It’s a great treat to have you here. We work well together; you organize my thoughts for me. Remember to go to the website GoLEPress.com and order these resources. With them, your whole life will become more complete and free because the truth does set us free. Thank you. God bless you, God’s mercy and goodness to you, and thank you, Sister. Thank you to each of you. God bless you.

About:

Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP is a Foundress and Vocations Director for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Her podcast “And The Truth Shall Set You Free” can be downloaded every Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST from iTunes. The podcast can be seen on YouTube at Go_LEDigital.


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