Editor’s Note: Sr. Meg Earsley, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and Overseas Missioner in formation, reflects on the interconnectedness, beauty, and diversity of God’s creation in relation to her calling as a sister. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt passionate about inclusion. Perhaps it was connected to the loneliness I experienced in grade school or, more likely, it was because of the attention my mother gave to people others may not have time for. Whatever the reason, I have grown up seeing beauty in diversity and in marveling at the uniqueness of each person. 

As I grew and matured, I learned about the dignity of the person. The understanding that each person is completely their own self, and created that way by God. That this dignity extends to each person regardless of what they look like, how they think, how they behave, or where they live. As you may guess, I embraced this whole-heartedly, and I seek to accept each person I meet as God’s beautiful creation, made just the way God wanted.

For me, being in the wider created community of nature reminds me of this incredible gift. To see the interconnectedness of various plants, insects, animals, and birds strengthens my realization that God really does have it all figured out. God places each of us in a place and time where we can grow to be most fully ourselves.

And even if we leave that place because of our needs and desires, God has placed that hope of new horizons in our hearts. Witnessing the great migrations of birds and butterflies is a testament that not all are meant to stand still. And yet, the mighty oak tree suggests that all are not meant to fly, but rather dig deep and stay where they are planted.

Right before I took my first vows with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (just a few months ago), I spent some time reflecting on what it really means to be a “Sister.” It seems that, in today’s society, it has become a title, suggesting that special honors should be given. Being a Franciscan, that just didn’t sit right with me. I spent time in deep reflection asking what being a sister meant to God. In the end, I understood the real meaning of this new part of my name. 

As a sister, it makes me a sibling to all. That means I have both a joy and responsibility to every human being to love them and care for them as family. Not as a mother or as a father, but as a sibling, an equal in the great big human family. Pope Francis speaks to this in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti when he says, “Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.”

It is a responsibility then for me, but also a joy because MY family is HUGE! Ethnicity, income level, geographical location, attitudes, opinions, beliefs … none of that is as important as the fact that we are all family. I can’t wait to get to know my family better!

Reflection Question: How can the mindset of being a “sibling to all” transform the way you live?