Know Thy Self

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Who do you think you are?  For many of us, our first association with this question might not be a pleasant one, having heard it as a sarcastic comment directed at us or another person.  But, another way to hear this question is as an inquisitive invitation to know, understand, and explore who you are.   

Knowing ourselves is a lifetime journey and a process of self-reflection and self-awareness. Our fascination with understanding ourselves and others is evidenced by the popularity of such personality assessment tools as the Enneagram Personality Test and Myers Briggs Type Indicator.   We are curious to know how we and others “live, move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) We have a great longing to get to the bottom of who we and others are, to understand all that we see and hear around us.  We want to make sense of our feelings, thoughts, and experiences.  We want to know what our strengths and growth edges are, why we do things a certain way, what motivates and influences us, what challenges us, what our social preferences are, and the list goes on.  Are we introverts or extroverts?  Do we like structure or spontaneity?  Are we motivated by achievement, belonging, power, or adventure?  Do we prefer social outings or quiet environments?    

When we know and accept who we are, we are better able to fulfill who we are meant to be and not who we think we should be.  Knowing ourselves makes it easier to embrace and value our gifts and the gifts of others, and what we bring to the table to share with others. When we feel secure in knowing ourselves, we are also better able to accept and appreciate the gifts of others. By knowing ourselves, we can also gain clarity in how we are called to “live, move and have our being.”  

We invite you to take some time to get to know yourself better.  Spend time in whatever way the Divine best speaks to you and is present to you—in nature, prayer, quiet contemplation, journal writing, music.  Be open to whatever emerges as you reflect on the stirrings in your heart.  Follow your own path and as the psalmist proclaims, “to thine own self be true.” (Psalm 23:3) 

As you reflect on who you are and wonder if God is calling you to become a religious sister,  we invite you to contact us. Together, we can listen and discern how God is calling you to live, move, and be in this world.  Be gentle with yourself and remember, “Who we are is God’s gift to us.  Who we become is our gift to God,” a modified quote from Eleanor Torrey Powell. 

We are offering a FREE Come and See weekend, Called by Name: A Discernment Retreat, at our Motherhouse in St. Catharine, Kentucky, September 8-10, 2023. Give yourself the gift of time to reflect on who you are and how you are called to be by joining us in the hills of Kentucky.  For more information, click here or contact Sr. Mai-dung Nguyen. Click here to register. 

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

3 responses to “Know Thy Self

  1. Thanks for this reflection sister Mary Ellen . I hope it reaches more people, and especially those who make decisions to become a nun, priest or get married.

  2. Great blog Mary Ellen, thanks. Makes me think of one of my favorite Merton prayers about knowing yourself too, his ” Prayer of Unknowing.” Just one thing, why not mention how to explore being an Associate as well as being a Sister?

    A Prayer of Unknowing By Thomas Merton
    My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.

  3. You expressed this search clearly and made nice connections. Thank you for a wonderful blog.

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