A Place of Courage
By S. Romina Sapinoso
In a conversation last week with our special children’s mothers at Proyecto Santo Niño, I was struck by Cristina sharing her experiences with taking care of Chuy, her 11-year-old son who has a severe disability that developed shortly after he was born. Cristinita, as we fondly call her, told me how she lived from a place of fear after then baby Chuy’s release from the hospital to a much different place today. Back then, she wouldn’t sleep night after night, as she adamantly watched Chuy’s chest rise and fall to make sure he was breathing. She protested him being discharged from the hospital fearing that if something happened, she didn’t have the ability to resuscitate her precious child. Eleven years later, she is a true expert on how to handle with calm and knowledge Chuy’s frequent seizures, seizures that usually scare those who are not familiar with her son’s condition. Cristinita talks about living the day-to-day life and caring for him and two other children as she learned to surrender to the truth that God is taking care of her beloved son. She is one of the most joyful, kindhearted and faith-filled ladies at Santo Niño. Her sharing has gifted me with more to reflect on as I too contemplate how I have been living my day-to-day life and how I have been discerning recently. Hopefully, we have people and support systems, community members and mentors, who can lovingly point these things out to us on our journey. With help from trusted individuals, I noticed that there have certainly been moments when I acted from a place within me that is not grounded in God. Cristinita’s story led me to start noticing these moments in myself and to look at them more intently.
 
Prayer and reflection led me to the Second Letter of Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” In discernment, it is important to listen to our heart’s desires and hopefully find, inseparable from these desires, God’s deep desire for us. This is definitely easier said than done and it’s not because we are not searching deeply within ourselves and paying attention. It’s possible that we don’t notice where our natural reactions and feelings are coming from unless an incident or conversation like what I had with Cristinita occurs and we receive the grace to notice that our doubts and need for security are what grab us first and foremost in our discernment. We can then begin to curiously and nonjudgmentally ask whether our thoughts and leanings are coming from a place of courage or from our own unexamined fears and need for control. It’s quite a relief when we can shed light on these tendencies. It may happen little by little or all of a sudden but however way it does, this awareness hopefully creates more space around our discernment process. Instead of the usual “what-if-these-negative-things-happen” frame of mind kicking in, we can start imagining and asking, “What would my life look like if I discerned from a place of truth and courage within me? What may I find that the God of Love, the One I can trust with my whole being, has in store for me?” That feels light, liberating, and really quite exciting, doesn’t it?
 
Quaker and teacher Parker Palmer in his book, “A Hidden Wholeness,” says it well: “Every time we get in touch with the truth source we carry within, there is net moral gain for all concerned. Even if we fail to follow its guidance fully, we are nudged a bit further in that direction and the next time we are conflicted between inner truth and outer reality it becomes harder to forget or deny that we have an inner teacher who wants to lay a claim on our lives. As that awareness grows within us, we join in the potential for personal and social change that … is hidden throughout all of society.” Here, Palmer talks about progress, not perfection. I’m sure that many times before, you and I have touched our place of truth hidden deep within – the place where God has put our utmost Desire and which, whether we are always conscious of it or not, fuels every ounce of our being. It can get buried, no doubt, beneath many things and among them are fear, doubt and the need for certainty. Think of the most grounded people you know – Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, your parents or a mentor you seek wisdom from. Their lives were also filled with uncertainty and they were not exempt from the plague of fear. But somehow, they kept touching that place of courage and truth in themselves going back to it, over and over again. Because of that, their lives are ones lived out of integrity and their true calling. The more we remember this place of truth and courage within, the more we are able to tap into this place, the more we can live out of it in our discernment, decision-making and actions.
 
What would it be like for you to live out of a place of truth, courage and trust in God?
National Vocation Awareness Week –
Nov. 1-7, 2020
November 1 marks the beginning of National Vocation Awareness Week, an annual week-long celebration dedicated to promoting vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renewing our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations. The following videos feature Sisters of Charity at various stages in religious life as they reflect on their call to the Community. 
Giving Voice Hosts Diversity and Inclusion Encuentro
Giving Voice, a network of younger women religious from different congregations in the U.S., hosted a two-day Diversity and Inclusion Encuentro in October. Participants engaged in very challenging but deeply relevant topics such as racism, cultural responsiveness and mentoring. S. Annie Klapheke, along with other Giving Voice Sisters, shared their prayerful movements in a video created to honor those who have served, and continue to serve, as mentors in their lives.
Join Us
S. Tracy Kemme is hosting a monthly Virtual Discernment Group for Young Adult Women. The next discussion is Sunday, Nov. 15 from
7-8:15 p.m. on Zoom. To register email S. Tracy at tracykemme@gmail.com.
Faith In Film: "Francesco"
There is so much pain and suffering in our world today. Polarization has not limited itself to politics but has penetrated our social and familial circles. The filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky follows Pope Francis and documents his response to different crises around the globe, embracing each person he meets with God’s mercy, love and compassion. The film shows different dimensions of Pope Francis’ life – his mistakes from the past, his deep empathy for those who suffer and how he’s leading by example in forming bridges and speaking the difficult truth that we all need to hear for hope and healing to be possible.
Calendar
Nov. 1, 2020              
All Saints Day

Nov. 1, 2020
Visitation House Virtual Open House, 5 p.m. ET (To register visit

Nov. 1-7, 2020           
National Vocation Awareness Week

Nov. 2, 2020              
All Souls Day

Nov. 26, 2020        
Thanksgiving

Nov. 29, 2020  
First Sunday of Advent
With the help of S. Pat Wittberg (left), a group of Cincinnati area volunteers secured beds and bedding, lamps and desks from the Motherhouse’s Seton Hall for a “Reverse Yard Sale” for Guatemalan residents. The sale offered clothing, toys and small furniture items to those who had never experienced such choices and amenities before.
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 erin.reder@srcharitycinti.org.
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If you are interested in learning more about life as a Sister of Charity, visit our website at