One of the great things about the vocation of motherhood is the way it so often demands all your skills, virtues and especially creativity. Lisa Bergman’s story is a case in point. Being a woman of spritely mind, in love with Christ and his church, she determined to educate her children herself. As so many like-minded mothers before her have, she found the world wanting in the sorts of resources and books that suited her particular goals.
She hadn’t really intended to become a small-time publisher; all she wanted was a good book that would help her children to not only follow along with the Latin Mass, but to understand what the different parts of it meant. After seeking and finding not, she began to cobble together her own from various sources. Finally, she had the instrument of goodness she wanted.
Naturally when other mothers saw the book, “Learning to Follow the Mass” they asked where they could get a copy. This led the generous soul to upload her labor of love to an online, on-demand publishing service so that people could order their own copies, and St. Augustine Academy Press was born.
Before she knew it she was manning a table at a homeschool book fair offering a handful of long out of print treasures as well as a humorous work of her own. A priest stopped and picked up her Mass guide. Flipping through it he was notably intrigued. He then looked at her and told her that she needed to make it better and that he would help her learn how. This mandate came from one Fr. James Socias, vice president of the Midwest Theological Forum, producers and publishers of Catholic resources including the Didache catechetical series. He put her in touch with the editor in chief who proceeded to explain to her the tools she would need to take her Mass guide from humble to spectacular.
After that the Lord took her step by step via one person after another who came into her life and showed her what to do next. After learning many, many new things and working very hard a beautiful hardcover book was produced entitled “Treasure and Tradition”. And all this time let us not forget, she was continuing her work as mother: primary educator, mistress of household, nourisher of the family etc. etc.
Somewhere along the way Lisa had also encountered a holy woman long absent from the earth named Mother Mary Loyola. She found Mother’s work to be so beautiful, such a treasure for forming the hearts and minds of her children that she was compelled to bring it all back into print. The centerpiece of Mother’s work is undoubtedly “The King of the Golden City” and Lisa has restored it to its original beauty and produced a high quality hardback of the gentle allegory of preparing the little soul to receive Jesus.
There are many other wonderful titles over at the little publisher’s website. Some she knew to go looking for, others she stumbled upon, serendipitously in places like Ebay and Archive.org. I encourage you to have a good browse, especially if you have children in your life.
My favorite part about Lisa’s story, well after the obvious bit about divine intervention, is that this whole enterprise would not exist if it were not for the new technologies at her disposal. The Bergmans have no brick and mortar dedicated to this business. The public domain material is found online or salvaged from old copies and scanned in with a device that can pull the text from whatever page is placed before it. The book designs are uploaded to and produced by a printing company and sent to the customer from there. The bulk of their investment has been in time, with some cost for having hardbacks printed and going to conferences, a little software etc. This is truly a case of twenty-first century technology being used to do good, and it was a devoted wife and mother who did it.
Go and thank her at http://staugustineacademypress.com.