Sr. Nancy Usselmann is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, women religious who live and communicate Christ within the media culture. She is among the #MediaNuns who engage the popular culture with Gospel values. Even before becoming a Sister she was a lover of books, movies, pop music, and Jesus Christ, so nothing better than becoming a #MediaNun!
Sr. Nancy is the Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles, which is a center that encourages and develops media mindfulness in culture, education and faith formation. She is an international speaker, writer, film reviewer, and blogger for Be Media Mindful and CatholicMom. Sr. Nancy is an award-winning author of “A Sacred Look: Becoming Cultural Mystics” a theology of popular culture published by Wipf & Stock Publishing. She has degrees in Communications Arts and a Masters in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Sr. Nancy is also certified in Catechetics and Media Literacy Education and is a Media Literacy Education Specialist.
In her 30 years as a Daughter of St. Paul, Sr. Nancy has worked extensively in the creative aspects of social media development, advertising, radio and television production, marketing, retail management and media administration. She has given numerous workshops, film retreats, and parish missions around the country on media mindfulness, digital discipleship, cultural mysticism, living virtuously through social media, and faith formation and the media to youth, young adults, catechists, teachers and media professionals. She is a member of NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education), SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communicators), CIMA (Catholics in Media Associates), and a contributing theologian at THEOCOM (Theology and Communications in Dialogue) sponsored by the Vatican and USCCB.
Sr. Nancy is also a member of the Daughters of St. Paul Concert Choir, giving an annual cross-country Christmas Concert tour in numerous cities every Advent season. The Sisters have over 25 recorded more than albums and their music is on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and other streaming outlets.
-Digital Discipleship: Becoming Cultural Mystics: How can we integrate our faith within a media culture? By becoming mystics! Through theological reflection and critical engagement we can discover the needs of humanity present in the art of pop culture. To become inculturated evangelizers today, we are called to take a sacred look on what is expressed in the culture about humanity’s longing for that something more, for the supernatural, for God! Only then can we propose the true joy of the Gospel!
-Living Virtuously Through Social Media: Social media's use for information and self-expression can sometimes become an outlet for angry rants, misinformation and indiscretion. Media mindfulness is built on the foundation of critical inquiry, bringing one's values into conversation with the media messages. But what do we really value? Are those values congruent with the virtues? Virtues are habits of being that promote respect as the core of a happy life. How can we live the good life within a digital culture? This is an interactive workshop with AVs and discussion. Participants will go away with valuable tools for teaching virtues within a media context.
-Media Saints: Living Mindfully in a Digital World: Saints are celebrities for Catholics. Getting to know their stories can help us live mindfully and engage critically in an increasingly pervasive digital culture. Participants will learn 17 applications to Media Mindfulness by praying the “Litany of Media Saints.” This presentation will assist faith formation personnel to integrate spirituality and an appreciation of the saints with our popular media culture. Sr. Nancy will present the “Litany of Media Saints” and explain a media spirituality and how praying the media helps us integrate our faith lives with our entertainment experience.
-Media Mindfulness for a Digital Age: What does it mean to live our faith in this digital age? What are the promises and challenges of today’s media content and technologies? What is the Church’s official position regarding the media? Learn the skills of media literacy through a media mindfulness methodology and how they can help you navigate, discern, and enhance all your media experiences and teach others to do the same.
-Restlessness in a Mediated World: Why do we sometimes feel restless in a digital world of endless friend requests and transforming technology? What do our relationships really mean? How can I be my authentic self in a digital culture? Living virtuously in our media world requires us to be authentic disciples of Christ knowing how to navigate the culture by being media mindful. Together we will discover how we can be happy followers of Christ through a media mindfulness strategy and so live the good life that we all desire!
-Heroism in Superhero Movies: What these Stories tell us about Life and Faith: Everybody loves superhero stories and Hollywood loves to deliver. What do these movies say about the human need for communion, redemption, hope, and the universal struggle between good and evil? Using the method of theological reflection participants will learn the media mindfulness methodology to bring these pop culture artifacts into conversation with our faith experience and articulate the mysticism of heroism that encapsulates our media culture. Through the use of visuals this presentation provides concrete praxis for media literacy within faith formation.
-Philosophies of the Media: Every person follows a particular way of “seeking wisdom.” The media also have their emphasis on a way of viewing the human person, life, faith, reason, and moral choices. This talk helps us look deeply at the philosophies communicated to us in the media and allow us to become critical and engaged seekers of wisdom in this digital age.
Cinematic Retreats/Parish Missions
-Everyday Mysticism: Growing in Union with God: Living our relationship with God in a media culture can be challenging, since we find it hard to be silent with all the digital messages that surround us. But we are all called to be mystics! What does it mean to be a mystic today? How can our media experience provide the opportunity for us to recognize God's grace at work in the world and in our lives? Together we will delve deeply into our call to be mystics within the popular media culture and so be a leaven for good in our society thirsting for beauty, goodness, and truth. Topics addressed: A Mystic: Who Me?, Superheroes: A Mysticism of Heroism, Cultural Mysticism: Evangelizing Today
-"The Way": Cinematic Pilgrimage: Take a virtual pilgrimage on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela using the film, The Way. This retreat/parish mission guides participants on a spiritual journey through prayer, Scripture, film and reflection. A truly unique spiritual experience!
-The Shack: Cinematic Retreat: Using the film The Shack as a catalyst for prayer and reflection, we delve together into the deeper meaning of the film and its message for our lives. Connected with Scripture and Catholic prayer experiences, this retreat is like none you made before!
-Cinema Divina Retreats: Based on the ancient form of praying the Scriptures, Lectio Divina, this retreat uses film as the text to reflect upon along with the Scriptures. Popular film speaks to humanity's deepest longings and these are brought to prayer as we evaluate our own profoundest desire for God. Using popular films we enter into the culture’s art as a way to communicate our yearning for God.
Other Topics for Youth and Young Adults:
- Tuning in to the Top 10: Pop Music and Media Mindfulness
- The Prayer Process: Why Pray?
- Our Friends, the Saints
- and more!