Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 16, 2021. As a sister of Saint Joseph, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, I, Sister Dorothy, have devoted my life to ministry, social services, and education, but I still enjoy jewelry and have three rings that I wear on a regular basis. Each piece holds symbolism that is indelibly etched into my heart and mind. After much reflection (and a request from Jennifer to share my story), I realized my rings certainly do have stories to tell. Theirs is my own story—a story as well-worn and lived in as these beloved pieces of jewelry.
My first story begins with my mother’s wedding ring. Not long before she died, my mother gave her ring to me. The engraving inside are the words “From me to you.” I discovered in my later years that these were the words my father always used when he gave gifts to my mother. This message was my father’s signature expression of his love for her.
I wear my mother’s wedding ring to remind me of my parents’ love for each other and their children. From their union of love, they instilled a passion for family and friends into my brothers and me. Wearing this ring reminds me of the good times and all the adventures we had as a family.
The second ring story centers on the ring I received when I received my doctorate in education. My brother gifted me a karat-gold signet ring engraved with my initials “DAB.” The ring is significant because it was given to me when I received my doctorate in education. The doctorate opened new and diverse educational avenues on the university level of adventures, friendships, and blessings that I cherish forever, and that ring is a constant reminder of them.
My third jewelry story involves the ring I received when I made my final profession as a Sister of Saint Joseph. This ring’s design is a three-strand braid and symbolic of the three vows, Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience, that I made when I became a vowed religious woman.
The design of this ring is simple, symmetric, and rich. Each strand of the braid is raised like a cord to stress the binding force of love. Designed in a Grecian style and as a band, the ring is meant to be reminiscent of a wedding ring, signifying the nature of the vows I made. Wearing this ring reminds me of the blessings and happiness I have experienced as a Sister of Saint Joseph.
While my rings may not be from high-profile designers like Kendra Scott or Marco Bicego, they hold a value that is priceless because of the memories. My rings tell a story that I carry with me; they remind me of who I am and those who have journeyed with me. They reveal their stories in time and prove that every piece of jewelry has the potential to be priceless if we research the heart of the story buried within.
The karat-gold signet ring given to Sister Dorothy by her brother when she received her doctorate in education degree.
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