Saturday, August 18, 2018


by S. Romina Sapinoso, SC Federation Apostolic Novice

Click HERE to learn more about Romina

Click HERE to learn more about the SC Federation

This blog post is late. It was supposed to be posted last Wednesday and as you can see, I’m just posting it now. Three. Days. Late.

It is late because after spending an hour each way on the New York City subway and teaching socio-
SC Halifax community in Queens: (L-R) S. Cathy Stare,
S. Mary Burns, S. Joan Dawber, S. Marie Sorenson
emotional topics to students from K-12 for the past six weeks, I come home, eat dinner and collapse in bed.

It is late because community is a wonderful thing I’ve been blessed with this summer and relationship building and spending time with the Sisters of Charity of Halifax that I lived with in Queens for almost two months was something I didn’t want to miss out on. It is late because there are so many Sisters of Charity Federation members in New York to meet and get to know.
with S. Teresa Kotturan, SC Nazareth in front of
the UN complex
July Call to Action Rally against family separations in Bayside, NY.

The tardiness of this post can also be attributed to the fact that besides sisters, I also formed relationships with other wonderful teachers, mentors and volunteers. We had one goal this summer: to make RYSA 2018 (Refugee Youth Summer Academy) a fun, learning-filled, and unforgettable experience for the approximately 100 youth from all over the world, all recent arrivals to New York City. This blog post is late because as a member of the RYSA 2018 community, I wanted to make
IRC RYSA 2018 staff at Central Park
during the first field trip
sure I participated as much as I can to give our new students an opportunity to be prepared and successful in their new schools this coming Fall. We firmly believe they have a rightful place in their new country and are gifts to our community. Based on the selfies, tearful hugs, laughter, and lingering goodbyes after graduation yesterday, I think we made goooooaaaalllll!!!

A local Colombian coffee and pastry shop
on Jamaica Ave always tempts me to stop in
for a little (or big!) treat.

This blog post is late because it took time to really listen to the spoken, and many times unspoken stories, experiences and ideas of young people, both students and peer mentors. There is no other way but to take those long moments of sitting and praying while trying to hold the sacredness of it all in one’s heart. My blog post is late because space was needed to try to understand what was behind the smiles and the resistance. What does the silliness or the somberness tell us of each person’s struggles? It takes mindfulness to pause. One hopes and prays that whatever words were spoken and the presence that one provided somehow gave these gifted young people a little of whatever they needed at the time of encounter.

This blog post is late because I savored every food from home countries that the students and their families generously shared with us and with one another. I drank in the sight of this diverse group of wonderful human beings proudly wearing the colors and clothes
With Giving Voice sisters: S. Melissa Camardo, SC Leavenworth,
S. Vicki Wuolle, CSA and S. Jeannie Humphries, OSU
from their culture and walking down the fashion show aisle during International Food and Fashion Show Day. I marveled at how many languages we can speak and instead of bringing confusion and highlighting difference, they served as bridges for understanding, laughter and love. My eyes filled with tears of joy as I saw the world as it could be: a glimpse of the Kindom of God on earth where we build longer tables, welcome everyone and appreciate how beautiful our diversity is.

It is late because even after 20 years as an educator, the opportunities and chances to become a better teacher have not ceased. The colleagues, volunteers, and students have both affirmed and challenged me to become better - a better teacher, a better sister, a better global citizen and a better human being. It is late because I accepted the challenge and am definitely committing myself to it for life. I couldn’t be more glad I did.
RYSA has been an affirming
ministry experience for me.

I must admit that this blog post is also late because in the midst of it all, I found time for connecting with new and old friends, sightseeing in vibrant NYC, trying new food experiences and vacationing.

This blog post is late. I’m not making any excuses. I’m just giving the myriad of wonderful reasons for it and why my heart is overflowing with gratitude this summer.

Click on the links below for videos:
RYSA 2018 partners with Trip Advisor #WelcomeHome
The International Rescue Committee's RYSA Program

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