Individuality and Uniqueness of All

Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care

When we talk about Respect for Human Dignity at Felician Village, our value comes from a deep connection to the Franciscan tradition. It is also a core element of Catholic Social Teaching. Blessed John Duns Scotus, who we celebrate on Wednesday, wrote about the individuality and uniqueness of every aspect of creation. Each person has their own special characteristics, their own special existence. We are all uniquely important to God. Duns Scotus used the word “haecceitas,” which can be translated as “thisness.” I love that word. Each person, each tree, each animal, every bit of creation has its own “thisness,” its own special individuality. It’s a theme that helps us to understand why schools have individualized education plans for students who need extra help. It’s a value that guides us in individualized care for those who need assistance and medical attention. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another. And that’s just fine! We are not accidental, but are charged with divine power, based on the beauty of God.

Blessed John Duns Scotus defined God as inexhaustible, endless love. God’s love is infinite. It is boundless. Duns Scotus said that God’s love for us should teach us to have a loving response to those around us and to all of creation. The Felician Sisters have goals that align with Pope Francis’ statements in Laudato Si’, tied to the Franciscan tradition. Our response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor ties to the reality expressed by Duns Scotus that each part of creation, each person, each animal, each plant, is uniquely precious. Let’s continue to respect the dignity of others in all we do.

Blessed Angela: “Practice love of neighbor by being amiable and in general doing good to others.”

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