I’ve spent my entire life in sisterhoods. Lucky me, right?

It all started with my two younger sisters. The three of us share the same first part of our hyphenated Marienames, and so our names are a daily reminder for us that we are different individuals of one brand of personhood. Throughout our blissful childhood years, we shared and we dared, we laughed and we cried, we lived and we learned, always within our little musketeer trio.

In kindergarten, my first and to this day best friend taught me that sisterhood has the power of extending beyond humans I am related to. This amazing lesson was deepened in 5th grade at CFG, the German Catholic all-girl Gymnasium that my sisters and I attended.

Upon completing my 10th grade year, I moved to the beautiful Georgia mountains half-way across the world. Living in a girls dorm for two years, I realized that sisterhood extends even father – it reaches all the way across the ocean, fundamentally different cultures, and seemingly mutually exclusive life-styles. I’m still very much in touch with my first-ever roommate and the other fellow Lady Eagles. Thank you, Rabun Gap family, for being my first family in America.

During my first year of college, I got to know yet another side of sisterhood. at Smith College in Northampton, MA, us Smithies did everything together: we lived together, cooked and ate together, studied and dreamed of a better world together, went hiking and skinny-dipping together, attended concerts and political rallies together, went on road-trips together, danced through the night and practiced yoga in the morning side-by-side, got all strong and emancipated together, and at times even made out, love, and marriage plans with one another. While transferring to Georgetown in order to study linguistics was the right decision for me, I will always be proud to be able to call myself a Smithie.

Once arrived on the hilltop in the nation’s capital, I initially thought I’d have to bribe fellow Hoyas into standing in for my sisters abroad and far away. Wrong, so wrong. My sophomore-year roommate from Australia was the first one to start the trend and soon, our neighbors next-door and across the hall and from upstairs and downstairs and the building next to ours and eventually all across campus joined in the morning brunches, the study parties, the volunteering for various community service programs, the wine and cheese afternoons, the margarita dinners, the smoking and drinking, the midnight snacks, the movie nights, the concerts and theater visits, the relationships chats, the jogs to the monuments, the joint PMSing, the chocolate cravings, the stress-relieving dance sessions, the traveling, the engaging in true dialogue with one another, and the sharing of our deepest passions and concrete plans to make this world a better place.

This past week, one sister from each of the different eras made her way out to Germany to stay with my family and me for a bit. While all of us have grown and deepened and expanded since we last saw each other, we’re still sisters, still absolutely loyal to one another in being passionate human beings. Ever since my worlds were fused here in my childhood home over the course of the last days, this house tells an even deeper story: Sisterhood is what you make of it, no matter whether you have blood or world ingredients at hand. So make it yours, and make it shine, because it’s rooted in a spark that once burning, sets the entire world on fire.