Sisterhood: What does it mean to be sisters?
Sisterhood among Catholic sisters and nuns is a powerful, Spirit-filled experience. I’ve been thinking a lot about sisterhood after having been home at the IHM Motherhouse for a couple of days. I was with a group of sisters doing some planning for our community’s retreat/celebration days this summer. Throughout the meeting and at supper following our meeting I was overwhelmed with the bond of sisterhood. It’s something that I never even imagined prior to being an IHM Sister. It’s not easy to define or explain, but let me try to put words around what it feels like.
Sisterhood is …
- always having a home, a real home
- knowing that your nun has your back
- being part of something bigger than yourself, bigger than the sum total of individuals
- falling in love with God and mission, and falling in love with how God and mission are expressed in your sisters
- sharing the deepest things of the Spirit with another sister or group of sisters
- praying together, laughing together, grieving together, working together
- the sparkle in the eye of a sister that lets you know that all will be well
- mentoring one another in religious life, ministry, and prayer
- having a common history and shared core values
- daring and risking together for the sake of the Gospel
- becoming more yourself than ever
- relating to one another with great tenderness
- being in real, tangible community even when ministry takes you to away from your sisters
- holding all things in common with your sisters
- being held up by your sisters’ prayer when you can’t find the strength to pray
- having sisters in heaven who keep watch over us
- working through disagreements, misunderstandings, failings without forgetting that we belong to one another and to Christ
- being willing to lay down your life for your sister
When people ask me what it’s like to be a sister, how we are different from other people committed to God who pray and do good works, this is what I want them to experience, this sisterhood, this dynamic of how we are with one another which is incarnate in how we are with the world.