Bringing Our Whole Selves
By S. Romina Sapinoso
I was at a Vincentian Family Gathering Conference on racial equity last month, and although that gathering wasn’t particularly about discernment, I found myself discerning about different aspects of my life as I listened to and pondered the information, shared experiences and vulnerabilities of Vincentian Family members around me on the issue of racism. One thing that stood out for me was the phrase, “being able to bring one’s whole self.” All of us come from a particular family, culture, language, and race. Part of the work of racial equity is for Black Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) to feel that their whole self is welcomed and embraced fully in the predominantly white communities and institutions that they move in.
This brought me to thinking about the questions I have had in my own discernment about religious, ministry and community life. What parts of myself have I, in the past, “softened” up, toned down or partly hidden/disregarded because I was afraid to not be fully accepted for who I am? Of course, there are things about us that we continuously learn and notice so we can, with God’s grace, stay open to God’s work in us and transform into the person God created us to be – our true selves. Part of our work is to be humble and open to what God is calling us to. But there can also be times when we need to pay attention and notice if the limitations we are encountering are not so much coming from God’s invitation but as a consequence of the -isms that are in play within ourselves and the institutions we live and move in. Racism, sexism, ageism are but a few of these that could disrupt our process and prevent us from “being and bringing our whole selves” into our discernment and the spaces we are discerning to be in.
Discernment, in and of itself, is personal yet communal. In my opinion, the same could be said about ways to address the -isms in our society today. It is not only very personal but also a journey that we walk with others in community. Being mindful and noticing what’s within and how the intersections of our identity (race, gender, culture, family background) affect our discernment is very important. Is this a place that encourages me to bring my whole being? Is this a process where, though the people I walk with, and I myself don’t have all the answers yet, there is a genuine desire to walk the path of equity and commit to it? Nobody benefits from a version of us that is only half there and not fully free to be. We all could use allies and trusted people that can affirm or challenge us when we want to give up parts of ourselves or distance from the work (whether consciously or unconsciously) to shield from discomfort or rejection. It takes a lot of courage to be true to who one is. Thankfully, so many saints, men and women in the past, have blessed us with their example that “bringing your whole self,” is the best and really, the only way for each of us to live the gifts that we are to our communities. Take courage and bring your whole self in your discernment process and be part of the world’s ongoing transformation towards equity.
Recommended Read: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
According to Wilkerson, understanding the issue of racism in this country could be deepened by looking at the caste system and how it operated. From an interview with NPR, Wilkerson says, Caste, "is the term that is more precise [than race]; it is more comprehensive, and it gets at the underlying infrastructure that often we cannot see, but that is there undergirding much of the inequality and injustices and disparities that we live with in this country."
Body, Mind and Spirit
An Ohio licensed massage therapist, S. Mary Fran Davisson currently ministers through the Sisters of Charity Spirituality Center at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. Read More.
Vocation Awareness Week
Vocation Awareness Week is Nov. 7-13, 2021! Throughout the week we’ll be taking a tour to different houses across the country to meet Sisters of Charity and hear about their ministries and the communities where they live.
You may have heard the phrase “Charity begins at home.” It often means that you should care for those closest to you before you go out and help others, it may even be used as an excuse to only focus on one’s family. However, for SCs, Charity begins at home in a different sense. Community living is a unique and central part of religious life. Commitment to one another through prayer, meals, fun, and the daily sharing of life together, nurtures commitment to the Gospel and enables them to be sent out to live the Gospel mission of Charity in the world.
“When I first started discerning more than 10 years ago,” says S. Tracy Kemme, “I really didn’t know any Sisters, and I had no idea what the day-to-day life of a Sister would look like in the 21st century. It was important for me to visit and spend time with Sisters in community and eventually to move in with them to try out the life from the inside. I received amazing hospitality and support, and eventually was able to say ‘yes’ to this call. For those who are discerning or may be even the least bit curious about religious life, we want to offer you the same welcome and support.”
Each day this week, beginning Nov. 7, we will publish a short video on the Sisters of Charity website ( or social media pages featuring a different Charity community. We invite you to come along – you are welcome here!
Upcoming Dates & Opportunities
National Vocation Awareness Week
(Nov. 7-13, 2021).

SC Discernment Group (Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, 7 p.m. ET). S. Barb Hagedorn will lead us in a reflection on SC Cincinnati founder, Mother Margaret George.

Self-guided Advent discernment (Sunday, Nov. 28-Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021). Use the following link:

Faith Sharing (Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, 7 p.m. ET). Advent scripture reflection with Brother John Barker, OFM, Ph.D.)

SC Discernment Group (Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, 7 p.m. ET). Sharing the fruits of Advent discernment.
Email S. Tracy Kemme at to get the Zoom link for any of the above SC discernment group and faith sharing opportunities.
E-Vōc is the electronic newsletter from the Vocations Team of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati for single women wondering what new thing God is calling forth in their lives. To join the E-Vōc mailing list, contact Erin Reder at To unsubscribe, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about life as a Sister of Charity, visit our website at