Sisterhood implies a special relationship between women; it is a bond that is thicker than blood and unbreakable. Sisters take care of each other and help each other no matter the situation. Women need women. Some sisters grow up in the same home, and some mature on different sides of the nation or world. How we became sisters does not really matter. The fact that we are sisters is what is important.
I have always enjoyed a wonderful relationship with all of my sisters. My older sisters watched over me and helped to care for me. My younger sisters looked up to me for care and example. I love being with all my natural sisters. They help me to become a better person than I would be without them. They strengthen my memories of past times together. They love me and care about me. On a recent trip to Utah, I called one of my sisters and asked if she wanted to have lunch. She suggested that we call our other sisters who live locally. Since our sisters by marriage are just as loved as those by birth, we decided to call our brothers also. Almost all of my siblings in the area and their spouses dropped their plans for the day and met for lunch; those who could not join us had good reasons for not doing so. The group was not complete, but those of us in attendance truly had a wonderful experience. My sisters and brothers and their spouses are my dearest friends.
I moved to Alaska more than forty years ago and thus moved away from my sisters. When we first came to Alaska, telephone calls were very expensive and few. My sisters and I exchanged many letters and enjoyed our infrequent times together.
I am fortunate to belong to a Church where the girls, young women, and women are considered to be sisters because we are all daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. I survived many long years away from my natural sisters because I was surrounded by the sisters in my Church. These “sisters” watched over me and cared for me during illnesses and childbirth and rejoiced with me in my accomplishments. They are as important in my life as my natural sisters because they have helped me become who I really am.
I recently had the opportunity to have lunch with a group of sisters and had a delightful visit with them. We visited about many different topics from employment to pedicures and relished the opportunity to be together. We live in a different day than our pioneer ancestors who had the opportunity to join together in quilting bees and sewing circles, but we still have the same need to be strengthened by other women. Women need women.
I am becoming more and more aware that some women do not understand sisterhood because they have never enjoyed good relationships with their natural sisters and have not had the opportunity to enjoy sisterhood with non-natural sisters. Women need other women as sisters and friends to validate them as women in different roles.
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, spoke at a recent women’s conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The women in attendance included girls ages 8-12, young women (teenage girls), and adult women ages 18 years and up; all are considered to be “sisters.” “We as women can be particularly hard on ourselves. When we compare ourselves to one another, we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others. Sister Patricia T. Holland once said, `The point is, we simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another – or ourselves – so harshly.’ She goes on to say that there is nothing that is worth us losing our compassion and sisterhood over. We just need to relax and rejoice in our divine differences. We need to realize that we all desire to serve in the kingdom, using our unique talents and gifts in our own ways. Then we can enjoy our sisterhood and our associations and begin to serve.
“The fact of the matter is, we really and truly need each other. Women naturally seek friendship, support, and companionship. We have so much to learn from one another, and we often let self-imposed barriers keep us from enjoying associations which could be among the greatest blessings in our lives…. “
Sister Oscarson quoted Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley as saying, “Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young. And, hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old. It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.”
Concluding her talk, Sister Oscarson said, “In addition to enjoying all of these magnificent blessings, we have each other – sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been blessed with tender and charitable natures which enable us to render Christlike love and service to those around us. As we look beyond our differences in age, culture, and circumstance to nurture and serve one another, we will be filled with the pure love of Christ and the inspiration which leads us to know when and whom to serve.
“I extend to you an invitation that was issued once before by a Relief Society general president who said, `I invite you to not only love each other more but love each other better. May we realize just how much we need each other, and may we all love one another better….”
I am grateful for sisters in all walks of life. I have been blessed to have seven natural sisters who love me; I have also been blessed to have hundreds and thousands, even millions, of other sisters who also love me. I am very grateful to belong to a worldwide sisterhood of women, a sisterhood that is open to every woman who cares to join.