On Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, members of the Sisters of Charity Community welcomed Romina Sapinoso (pictured, right) into the Canonical Novitiate. The following Q&A is an opportunity to get to know Romina, her interests and what drew her to religious life and the Sisters of Charity.
How did you come to know the Sisters of Charity?
I was very active in a young adult ministry at St. Pius, my parish in El Paso, Texas. It was a very vibrant community. At the time I was looking for a speaker on local poverty, and my parish priest suggested contacting S. Janet Gildea [she and Sisters Carol Wirtz and Peggy Deneweth started a clinic in the colonias]. I was also at a time of transition and didn’t have a direction where my life was heading. I asked Fr. Henry Beck, the Neumann Center priest at UTEP, if he would be willing to do spiritual direction. He said he couldn’t, but knew a Sister who might – S. Janet Gildea! A few people pointed me in her direction.
What attracted you to religious life?
The community aspect of it really drew me to considering religious life and thinking that this might be a lifestyle that could support the kind of life I want to lead – which was more involved in service and justice and putting yourself out there.
If you could spend an afternoon with one Sister of Charity – living or deceased – who would it be?
I’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of the older Sisters but I went to China this summer with S. Janet Gildea. While there I was picturing S. Rose Cheng when she was young. I would have enjoyed spending a day with her in China, then, when she was younger and could tell us about the hospital, how she became a Sister, and more.
What are your hobbies/interests?
I like photography. I have a camera, and like to photograph people. I also enjoy reading and cooking for others.
What is one skill you would like to learn?
Languages. I speak Spanish, Tagalog and English, but I would love to have the skill to learn languages easily.
What’s your strongest personal attribute?
I think your strengths are also your weaknesses. I’m stubborn and outspoken which at the same time could also be my weakness. I get so passionate about certain things!
Name one of the most defining moments in your life so far and why?
One thing that shaped my spirituality and faith would be attending Jesuit institutions and having gone through the 19th annotation retreat, which was most intense. That really turned around my relationship with God, and how I saw my relationship with God. Being introduced and more aware of the justice part of our faith really moved me forward.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ve been a teacher for a long time and in my classroom you’d know they are my students because they talk about the environment, fairness and equality, discrimination, stereotyping and challenging gender stereotypes. I definitely see myself continuing along those lines in justice education. I would also want to do some direct service. You don’t want to get so out of touch that you don’t know what it is you are fighting for.
But, I remain open to the possibilities. When you are in discernment you can’t think in five years this is where I am going or what I am doing. I have to be honest and open.