By Sister Janet McCann, ASC

“We’re not related at all.”

That was the message from my brother, Tim McCann, after he and Damien McCann received the results of the DNA test they took.

You might recall that Damien and his family have attended my family’s gatherings for quite a few years after he and Tim found out they share the same last name, work across the street from each other in downtown St. Louis, and that our relatives hail from the same county in Ireland.

“We’re not related at all” was not what we expected to hear, and simply does not match our lived experience because Damien’s family is already a part of us.

In these months of working with members of Lancaster Against Pipelines in Pennsylvania, a strong sense of community has been building. Who would have connected the Adorers with a grassroots coalition of Mennonites and Quakers, a smattering of people from other faith traditions, along with some who have no affinity for organized religion at all?

How could we have predicted that this great reverence for Creation and sacredness of Earth would put us in each other’s path?

“We’re not related at all,” we might have said at one time. But this simply does not match our experience. We are already a part of each other.

I recently attended a workshop on “unconscious bias” in which various speakers shared “heart-to-heart” stories from their perspectives as a Muslim mother and daughter, a refugee from Eritrea, a young immigrant and an African American woman.

“We’re not related at all,” they might have said, but the sharing of their personal experiences told us otherwise. We are one human community.

It’s interesting to see how rich and strong our lives can be when we respect diversity, honor what we hold in common, and live what we already are: one Human Community.

I know I can relate to that.