Sister Dina Bato
Q. When I am not officially involved in work, or involved in ministry, you are most likely to see me … Reading.
Q. I am passionate about … Diversity.
Q. What the world needs now … Is acceptance of one another.
Q. Name one thing you miss about being a child. Being carefree.
Q. What would you like to hear God say when you arrive in Heaven? I’m so glad you are here.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?Arrogance.
Q. What is the highlight of your week?Friday
Q. What is your lest favorite chore?Cleaning the bathroom.
Q. Why did you choose to become a Sister of Providence?
Do you have half a day? Up until my early twenties, I honestly had never thought about being a nun until several people independent of each other asked me if I had ever considered it as a possible vocation. At the time of their inquiries, I was taking part in a full-time volunteer program at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Newport News, Virginia, where I lived in an intentional community with three other women on the parish property in between the parish school and a Dominican convent. Though my initial response was that the thought never crossed my mind, the questions would never leave me. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got I wanted to jump in and apply to the first community that I visited. Obviously, God doesn’t work that way. A number of people encouraged me to find a spiritual director, particularly one who is a sister, one who gets the process. I have had a few directors before who were priests, but they ended up getting transferred to other parts of the state. In conversation with OLMC’s pastoral associate, I was given a list of directors around the area. I said to myself, “I don’t know any of these people. Plus, people charge for this stuff?” In conversation with a parishioner not long after I was given the list, I was informed, “Sister Carolyn Bouchard is a sister, as well as a spiritual director. Why don’t you ask her?” I called her and asked if she’d take me on as a directee, and she agreed. Our spiritual direction relationship lasted four years. Two years into it, however, in 2005, she asked me if I would like to accompany her to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to witness final vows of one of the sisters, and I said yes. Coming here for the first time, I fell in love with the campus, but particularly, I was struck by the down-to-earth and loving way the sisters interacted with one another.
Q. What have you found in your ministry opportunities that has appealed to you?
I’m very thankful that discernment of ministries is a dual discernment, particularly toward one, or sometimes two, that brings out and enhances my gifts, talents, and passions. I have been gifted with an accounting degree, which has helped enhance my analytical skills. I’m also, however, a deep thinker and have a passion for learning new things, especially in the areas of theology and spirituality. Finding a ministry that helps to integrate my skills and my passions was rather difficult, especially in this day and age. As Providence would have it, however, I was able to find and obtain a ministry with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in the accounting office.
Q. Why would a woman today find living as a woman religious to be an attractive lifestyle choice?
I believe women would find living as a woman religious attractive because of the various opportunities for spiritual growth and the array of ways their gifts and talents could be used to serve the greater community. I think religious life provides the opportunities for women to explore who they are and how they can bring who they are to make the world a better place.
Q. What role does prayer have in your life?
It is essential. In prayer, I commune with God, which is vital to my being. Prayer keeps me grounded, keeps me honest, and keeps things in perspective. It takes on many forms, from journaliing, to Liturgy of the Hours, to art and mediation, to sitting in silence. For me, silence is the key to my prayer. It helps me be open to listening to God’s voice. It is particularly important in my ministry. Before I even begin my work, I find a strong need to spend some quiet time at the Catholic Center chapel. I honestly don’t want to know what my day would be like if I didn’t start it with prayer.
Q. How important to you is the community lifestyle the Congregation offers?
Community lifestyle is very important to me. It’s one of the main things that drew me to religious life. I really wanted to live in a community of people who wants to grow in its relationship with our loving God and out of that relationship, to help transform the world for the better. I know that’s a very broad statement. Much like a family, living in community isn’t easy. I find myself being challenged to look at things from different lenses, which helps me to embrace and come to terms with other peoples’ issues and giftedness … as well as my own. Community life is important because it shows you who you are and that at the end of the day, you are loved.
Q. How much influence does Saint Mother Theodore Guerin have in your life?
She influences my life a lot, quite honestly, particularly her way with words. Reading her story, especially how she interacted with her sisters and dealt with difficult situations very calmly, lovingly, and authentically, put things into perspective for me. Her encouragements and admonitions strike me to the heart whenever I read them. She knows the right words to say and when to say them. More importantly, I believe her spirit is very much alive around the Woods, so much so that when I’m open, I can’t help but hear her speak to my heart when I am there. One time I was upstairs (in Owens Hall) in the Formation area writing a lengthy theological reflection. After a few hours, I thought, “I have to get out of here. I need to go for a walk and kind of just chill out.” I walked through the tunnel that connects Owens to Providence Hall and headed toward Providence Center. On the way, I was going to bypass the Church (of the Immaculate Conception). Upon reaching the door closest to Mother Theodore’s interim shrine, I suddenly stopped. Looking at Mother Theodore’s shrine, I heard within my heart, “My daughter, come here, I have something to tell you.” That motherly feeling hit me then as well as other times when I came here on a couple of “Come and See” weekends. I’d see her picture and I’d get a couple extra beats in my heart. Initially, I thought, “Where did that come from?” In hindsight, I realized that I knew the answer. She and God have called me here.
Book: Anything that would broaden my understanding of Creation and Holy Mystery.
Movie title: 12 Angry Men (the classic version).
Movie types: action, drama, and/or romantic comedy.
TV show: Jeopardy, Glee, America’s Got Talent.
Recreation: Reading, writing, exercising, hanging out with friends, and the occasional computer game.
Hobby: Baking, playing music.
Sport: playing, none. Watching, tennis, football, the Olympics (summer and winter).
Music/song: I listen to all types of music, depending on my mood.
Animal: Dog (domestic), and tiger (exotic).
Pizza topping: Veggies.
Quote: There are several, but my more recent favorite is: “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.”
Time of Day: Evening.
Hero/Heroine: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Helen Keller.
Course in school: English.
Saint: St. Luke.
Sinner: Dorothy Day.
Least favorite food: Okra.
Least favorite course in school: Taxation.
Worst movie I’ve ever seen: I know this is bad, but “The Naked Truth.” Another one is
“Kingdom of Heaven.”
My best friend says I’m … One of the cheesiest people she knows. (And she says it with love.)
If I weren’t an SP, I’d be … I don’t even want to think about that right now.
Someday, I’d like to … write a memoir.