By Sister Janet McCann, ASC

A number of years ago, my brother, Tim, was standing outside of the building where he works in downtown St. Louis.

Somehow, he struck up a conversation with a guy across the street, who was also standing outside of the building where he worked. They discovered that they had similar jobs and responsibilities, and, as hard as it is to believe, they found out that they both shared the last name of McCann!

Believe me, even I couldn’t make this up!  Damien emigrated from County Sligo, Ireland, and yes, our ancestors lived there, too!

Ever since that encounter, Damien McCann, and his wife, Laura, and their children, John and Alison, often attend our family gatherings.

In December, Tim and Damien took a DNA test to prove scientifically if we are indeed related. We do not have the results yet, but in these weeks of waiting, I have been thinking about our country and our world, and the tenor of division and separateness that seems to overshadow who we are as a human race.

In John Philip Newell’s book, “A New Harmony, The Spirit, the Earth and the Human Soul,” there is this quote from Thomas Merton:

“We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. What we have to discover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.”

I think our families will be more than a bit disappointed if the DNA test shows that we are not related.

But this quote will serve as a great reminder that we already belong to each other.

I pray for our country, and our world. May we have the grace to look at each human being through this lens of unity and connectedness.