What's in a Name?

The other day, I wrongly referred to last year’s place of ministry as a day shelter for homeless women.  Why is this wrong?  It’s wrong because putting “homeless” in front of “women” reduces them to a label, a condition, with the result being that their essence often goes unrecognized. Rather, I should have said they are women who are homeless…and who are so much more!

How do we label ourselves? Who am I? I’m a mother, sister, aunt, and friend, a lover of God, people, animals, sunrises and coffee.  I’m a Dominican Sister - specifically a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa. While each of these partially describes me as an individual, they are part of a much deeper truth that has slowly been revealed to me over the last several years.

I am Dominican, which is different than being a Dominican.  Being a Dominican sets me apart as an individual.  Saying “I am Dominican” speaks of essence.  Being Dominican draws me into the embrace of an entire family – sisters and brothers, lay and religious, across the globe - whose common mission it is to preach the Gospel message of Love and Mercy to whomever we meet, wherever we meet them, and in whatever way or walk of life to which God calls us.  Being Dominican impels us to preach, and not always with words.  Being Dominican is not a component of our lives but is how we live them, day in and day out, never in isolation, always founded in prayer, study and community. 

Have you asked yourself lately “who am I?”  Pray for openness to how God might answer! 

Kathy Flynn, OP

Whitefish Bay, WI


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