National Catholic Reporter Feature

I was thrilled to see my first feature for National Catholic Reporter published last Saturday, March 21!

Read it here: Masses go digital with live streamed services; find out how to join

My favorite paragraph reads:

“This growing pandemic could, as this New Yorker article suggests, give rise to new forms of ritual and human behaviors — including religious rituals. In this new age of anxiety, Alonso, Erikson and other leaders have already begun to meet Catholics’ spiritual needs with creativity.”

“Age of Anxiety” is a reference to a famous work by one of my favorite poets, W.H. Auden. I included the line as a shout-out to Auden, and to my favorite journalist, Chris Hedges, who also loves Auden, and whose journalistic work continually inspires me.

Featured in travel series

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Fabulous travel writer Charish Badzinski invited me to be featured in her Rollerbag Goddess Global Communications series on lady travelers, published yesterday.

In the interview, I wrote about working in East Africa, living in Poland, and my subsequent travels. I write about what travel ultimately taught me: to trust, and keep moving.

Check out the interview and photos of my travels here:

Featured RBG | Sophie Vodvarka: Writer, Traveler, Creative

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

RBG: What travel experience has most transformed you as a person?

“I spent a year abroad after I graduated from college, during which I lived in and traveled to 10 different countries. During that year, I spent four months in East Africa with a refugee advocacy organization as a communications intern. During the internship I visited Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya and spent a week in South Sudan, which at the time was a semi-autonomous region of Sudan.

I remember I visited a doctor in the U.S. to get shots before I departed, and he told me “You need to learn how to take care of yourself.” He was talking about anti-malaria medicine, rehydration salts, and knowing basic first-aid. But he was also talking about the reality that the illusion of safety we cling to in America was about to disappear. I was about to step out into the stark reality of the world, and I needed to know how to keep my shit together.

The week in Kakuma refugee camp and in South Sudan was transformational because it made me realize how little I knew about the world, how ridiculously privileged I am as a white middle-class American, and it taught me that I could trust myself and to trust in God and the universe. I learned that I could walk through fear and reach the light.”

Compound of JRS Yei
The tukel I stayed in for a week in 2010 in Yei, South Sudan.