Virtue Program

The article below is an excerpt taken from Mind and Heart, a weekly podcast series hosted by Sr. John Dominic Rasmussen, 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:

James Kresta:

It’s such a joy to be able to sit down with you and talk about the Virtue Program and all that you’re doing with the Dominican sisters. Having been a former student of yours, it’s a little uncomfortable like I’m getting called down to the principal’s office, but this is one instance where I want to be here. As a former student, but also now as a father and as a husband, Natalie and I with our own kids have found this to be such a blessing. Thank you so much for answering the call and making this happen. Where would someone who’s interested in doing this? Where would they begin? 

Sister John Dominic:

There are the Virtue cards and then also there’s the Virtue chart pack which has four resources. The first one is Happiness is Living a Virtuous Life, and that’s an examination of conscience based on the virtue. Someone’s trying to see where my strengths and weaknesses are. The questions relate some of the sins and highlight a virtue that you could work on to help you to overcome that sin. The next one is the Remain in Me chart, which has a great overview. For example, if you’re preparing for Confirmation, you need to know everything, and it is all right there on the front. Then on the back side is the virtue tree, which shows how the virtues grow together organically. The other larger chart that opens up is called the Disciple of Christ Virtues Chart, and this is based on the moral virtues, or the Cardinal Virtues, and they’re color coded just like the Virtue cards are color-coded. With each of the Cardinal or Moral Virtues, it has listed related virtues, and then on the back side of the card, we have it according to age level. How you lead a six-year-old would be different as you may give advice to your younger brother, so we divide it between age levels to give examples of practical ways that that virtue could be cultivated and show practical ways to teach the virtue. They came up with this idea with the looks like/sounds like. What does the Virtue look like? What does it sound like? Naturally when you say look like, you have to give examples. The examples would teach kindness, and they ask the class, “What does kindness look like?” and the kids will get out of piece of paper. They would draw it and the sisters are looking at a classroom and there’s 15 different ways to show kindness here. 

For the Visual Presentation of this Article Click Here:

James Kresta:

You have the Educator’s Guide. Is that explicitly for teachers and principals, or can it be used at home?

Sister John Dominic: 

I recommend, if you want to get into it and dig deeper, you can get the Educator’s Guide. I think teachers need this to guide themselves. Even though it looks like a lot, it’s all color coded in charts and bullet points. I took all this information on St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summas. They’re big books and difficult to read, so I pulled out that information and put it together in the Educator’s Guide to help you dig deeper into it if you want to study it more. 

James Kresta:

You start with the Virtue chart packet, and then when you’re ready, you move to the Educator’s Guide. Where do you go from there?

Sister John Dominic:

Lectio Divina is this prayerful reading of Scripture that has been a tradition of the Church for centuries. What was beautiful is that this tradition was so much a part of my life, and now how can we make this accessible to you? How can I teach children? I took the Lectio Divina method and put questions together. For example, if it’s Advent, we take two readings every day at Mass. We would put that in a journal format where the students could read the Scripture reading and then there are questions to help them unpack it. The last one is a prayer asking Jesus, “How can I incorporate this into my life?” We also did the Life of Christ, which goes through all four of the Gospels and puts them together in sequence so that they can read the Scripture and ask questions. We also put artwork with every passage. Like with the Virtue cards, we did it looks like/sounds like, so there’s a picture of what this Gospel passage looks like so they can make this connection between this visual and the Scripture passage that we’re bringing together. 

James Kresta:

What are the age groups?

The Virtue Materials are available by clicking HERE.

Sister John Dominic:

I say about fifth grade, sixth grade, and up. I’m told oftentimes by adults, you know write to a fifth or sixth grade level, and then we’ll be able to do it too because we’re very busy. I hit every audience. Those are the ones that are published. On our website educationinvirtue.com, there’s also a section for educators. We’ll put a PDF of things that they can download and make copies of and use that in their classroom. 

James Kresta:

Talk about this ring and the necklace. What do you use these for? 

Sister John Dominic:

We all need a reminder. I need this reminder. This necklace is that reminder that I want to live this way. I want to desire goodness. I’m going to have this ring on that I can touch. You’re married to your wife. She wears the ring you gave her. You wear the ring. That’s a reminder. During the day, you think about your spouse. I wear the religious habit. I walk around. I get my rosary caught on everything. We need it. We’re flesh and blood. We’re body-soul people. We need these things touching on everything so it can be a part of life and how you live. 

James Kresta:

The practicality of this program, the everyday life implications of this are fantastic. It’s for real people. 

To Buy the Products Associated with this Article, Click Here:

If you are enjoying receiving content and resources from GoLEDigital, please click here. Your generous gift provides expanded opportunities for programming that can be shared more widely and frequently.


Want to Republish this Article? Request Permission Here

Request to Republish:

Share This Post On

By subscribing, you agree to LEDigital's terms of use and privacy policy.