A Day in the Life – S. Romina Sapinoso
By Megan Simmermeyer, Communications co-op
S. Romina Sapinoso (holding sign) poses with fellow Sisters and IJPC staff at the Flying Pig Marathon, May 2017.
National Vocation Awareness Week (Nov. 5-11, 2017) celebrates religious vocations across the country, and encourages everyone to reflect on the vocation they are called to pursue. The “Day in the Life” series explores the varied ministries of five Sisters in Formation and offers detailed accounts of what these Sisters do on a daily basis. Each woman featured in the series has answered the call to be a Sister of Charity, and each has a story to share.
A day for Apostolic (second year) Novice S. Romina Sapinoso varies. Depending on her ministry sites for the day or whether there are special events, her weekdays are more atypical than typical. Sharing a specific day in her life, S. Romina describes her activities from the beginning, when she wakes, to the close, when she finally falls asleep.
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2017, at 6:25 a.m., S. Romina woke up to an alarm and, still in her pajamas, made her way to the Novitiate House’s prayer room, where she was joined by her housemates for community morning prayer. During that particular day, S. Nancy Bramlage led the house’s prayer. After, S. Romina prepared for the day.
Her Wednesdays are split between two sites: Catholic Charities Refugee Services in the morning, and the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) in the afternoon. On this particular day, after packing her lunch, she left the house around 8:15 a.m., giving herself 45 minutes to reach Catholic Charities. “The class I teach starts at 9 a.m.,” she says, “but the traffic on I-75 is quite unpredictable. Last week, I made it two minutes before the start of class. Thank goodness I already reviewed the lesson the night before.” That day, however, the traffic wasn’t too bad, and S. Romina listened to NPR for a bit before switching to an app called “News in Slow Spanish Latino.” Though she doesn’t have Spanish class until Thursdays, she enjoyed the practice that the app allows, while also hearing the daily news.
Arriving at Catholic Charities with 10 minutes to spare, S. Romina prepared for her Wednesday class—English as a Second Language, Level 1. Typically, her class hosts 18-20 students, but that Wednesday found only about 15 people in attendance. Since starting this position in February, she has met a variety of students, who come from all over the world—countries like Nepal, Syria, the Congo, Mauritania, Dominica, Guatemala, and China. “It is a little challenging in the beginning to get my students to speak and practice the things we are discussing,” S. Romina shares, “but once they have built a rapport and trust with me and the people in class, they become more than eager to volunteer and are enthusiastic about participating.”
S. Romina dismissed her class at 11 a.m., and spent a short time writing feedback for her session. After she finished, S. Romina headed to the Peaslee Neighborhood Center where IJPC is located. She arrived at the center a little before 11:30 a.m., and was greeted by the lobby receptionist, Ms. Bebe. S. Romina says, “[Ms. Bebe] always has a warm smile and greeting for me, even though I only started at IJPC a couple of weeks ago.” For lunch, S. Romina joined her fellow Sister of Charity Andrea Koverman, who is a program manager at IJPC, and several other members of IJPC’s staff.
After lunch, S. Romina read from her copy of a nonviolent program curriculum that she and S. Andrea were looking to use for a Nonviolent Cincinnati initiative study group. The process reminded her of a Just Faith program she used to lead for her former parish in El Paso, Texas. When she was finished reading, she spent the rest of her afternoon discussing upcoming IJPC events with S. Andrea, as well as attending the weekly staff meetings, which she feels honored to attend. “It is always good to be informed about what the whole organization is working on in the areas of peace, immigration, human trafficking, and the death penalty,” she says.
Leaving IJPC, S. Romina returned home, where two of her housemates informed her of the fall sale of gently used items occurring at the Motherhouse. Knowing the proceeds of the sale would benefit the Sisters’ EarthConnection ministry, and that she would find great deals, S. Romina headed over to the Motherhouse for a short time. Later, at 5 p.m., she met three Sisters at Mother Margaret Hall for a dinner date. The group headed downtown to Giovanni’s, an authentic Italian restaurant that was a favorite of one of S. Romina’s companions.
S. Romina returned home at 8 p.m. All her housemates were gathered in the living room, and they swapped stories from their day. After an hour, S. Romina retired to her room where she answered emails, checked the news and Facebook, and settled in for evening prayers and a short spell with Harry Potter y Piedra Filosofal, the Spanish version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which S. Romina says helps her practice Spanish.
Around 10:30 p.m., S. Romina called it a night, forgoing the opportunity to watch the Golden State Warriors versus the Toronto Raptors game. “Despite my desire to see Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson in action, I open[ed] my Give Us This Day book, [did] the evening prayers, and [went] to sleep,” she says. It was a day well spent.
S. Romina notes that while her days can be long, and she sometimes regrets her late nights, she enjoys the variety, especially her interactions with her housemates, co-workers, and students. “I am in the middle of the intro/extroversion spectrum,” she says, “and I do enjoy being with people, but at the end of the day, it’s nice to have some time to myself.”
Her journey in joining the Sisters of Charity Community began about 10 years ago, on Halloween night. She had met S. Janet Gildea to invite her to speak about local poverty during a meeting of Just Faith, as well as to see if S. Janet might be interested in becoming a spiritual director of her parish in El Paso, Texas. S. Romina says, “I met [S. Janet] that evening and thought she seemed like somebody who could walk with me with the questions I was starting to explore, though not necessarily about entering religious life. That was far from my mind.” But S. Romina says she has always been drawn to a life of service, even during her time in college in Manila (Philippines), and the meeting with S. Janet sparked her desire to know more.Now a Second Year Novice, S. Romina looks forward to the “path of goodness and surprises” that life as a woman religious will bring. “So far,” she says, “it has brought me growth, stretching, and an opportunity to flex my faith and trust muscles. It has also brought out creativity and hope in the way I approach life.” Though the life as a woman religious is not without challenges, S. Romina has faith in where God is leading her as a Sister of Charity.