Stories of Faith | Sister Rovina
Sister Rovina was born in a rural Ugandan village. Besides the time she left to study pharmacy in the US, she has lived and worked in her home village where she blesses lives every day.
Rovina is a Catholic nun, and lives a life completely dedicated to Jesus Christ. At the young age of 16 (a time when most of us are deeply involved in our studies and social lives) she started preparing to become a Sister. She received her veil at the age of 18, and told me she never wanted or considered doing anything else with her life. “I didn’t know about college education. I just wanted to be a sister!”
So a Sister she became. And it was only then—after dedicating her life to Christ—that she allowed herself to think about education. She found that she was talented in the area of science and received a scholarship to travel to the US to study pharmacy. So she packed her bags and made the journey thousands of miles from home to Nebraska, where she dove into an intense program.
The culture shock alone could have easily been enough to break a person, but Rovina fought through feelings of loneliness and frustration. Simple American things like computers were foreign obstacles for her. “Every time I would figure out how to start an assignment on the computer everyone else would already be finished. It was very depressing!” Fortunately, Rovina found comfort in the words of a caring mentor who told her, “Rovina, you must develop a thick skin.” And that, Rovina said, became her motivation for the next 5 years. She had come for a degree in pharmacy and she was determined that she would not leave without it!
Not only did Rovina earn her degree, but when she returned home she started her own pharmacy and introduced the practice of pharmaceutical care (pharmacists caring for patients rather than just dispensing) in Uganda, changing the entire face of the profession in her country. “I told the students and the pharmacists in Uganda, ‘You aren’t trained just for dispensing. You are so much more! You are trained to care! When you are there, you help them. You save the lives of people.’”
In the time I’ve spent here with Rovina, I’ve seen her do exactly that. She works tirelessly at her pharmacy and at home to care for all of those around her. Her joy in her work is contagious. Her care is genuine, and her time is solely devoted to the service of others.
As I was interviewing Sister Rovina I asked if she ever feels like she needs more time for herself, and also how she makes time for the life of prayer she’s devoted herself to. Her answer was simple and powerful. Each morning she spends from 5:30-7:30 in prayer – offering her whole day to God. Every evening she again prays to thank God for the day. She explained, “Prayer guides, leads, protects, and carries you throughout everything you do. Prayer isn’t just words. It carries on throughout your day in your actions and in your way of living. Prayer is a union with God. You can’t separate your actions if you are in union!”
Rovina celebrated her birthday earlier this week, and you know what she asked for? Prayers. “If you pray for me, that will be wonderful,” she said. “I know God will bless me.”
My favorite part of the interview was when she kindly shared what her own birthday prayer reflection had been. She shared with me that she had meditated on how she had been fashioned by love. “God’s love brought me into being. I was created by love. My parents’ action of love brought me to life. People caring for me have nurtured me in love. The most important thing in life is love!”
“God is love. The moment you don’t love, God is out of your life. If you believe in love, you believe in God. If you believe in love, you can know God more than people who say they believe in Him but do nothing. If you believe in love, you live as one with God."