When we look back and reflect on the opportunities and relationships in our lives, we can see God’s presence. That is the truth Rosa Sanchez affirmed with a laugh. “I’ve always been a Dominican at heart! My grandfather was born in the same province as St. Dominic – so maybe that’s why I’m a Dominican.”
Rosa’s family roots reach back to Burgos, Spain, yet her introduction to the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose occurred after her parents brought her to Los Angeles from Mexico. “My father and mother worked around Santa Teresita School and I remember helping them clean in the school.”
As a student at Sacred Heart High School, Rosa met Sister Benilda, an inspirational principal who became a dear friend. “Her love for God and faithfulness to her vocation planted a seed in me to also seek God .... and I fell in love with the Dominican charism and apostolate.”
Drawn to religious life, Rosa’s parents insisted she graduate from Immaculate Heart College before entering the convent. Rosa’s years as a Dominican postulant and novice were happy ones until an illness required her to leave the congregation. Later she cared for her aging parents and completed a successful educational career in Catholic and public schools. During these years Rosa “accepted God’s will and kept my vows in my heart.”
Over lunch with a friend, Rosa discovered a lay Dominican group in Eagle Rock. Again her heart was captured by St. Dominic’s spirituality and she entered their formation program. Rosa embraced her own spiritual development, focusing “especially on how to live my religious life in a secular world.”
After she retired, Rosa participated in a Habitat for Humanity program in San Cristobal de Las Casas. “I asked S. Helena if I could visit them for three days,” staying in the convent. “The presence of God was very obvious. I fell in love with their simplicity and dedication to their ministry. They live a simple life with joyful and loving hearts.”
After serving as a 2017 medical outreach translator, Rosa also attended the United Nation’s sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Inspired by the commission’s goals to empower rural women and girls, Rosa affirms gender equality, especially the right to inherit land and “step out of poverty.” It is a God given right and critical to indigenous women’s wellbeing.
A Dominican at heart, Rosa continues to serve “the young, the poor and the vulnerable,” with joy and conviction.