Like many spiritual teachers across all the major faiths, Sister Joan Chittister believes that the soul is an intrinsic part of our being -- but this outspoken Roman Catholic nun defines it a little differently than some. As Sister Joan tells Oprah in the above video from "Super Soul Sunday," she believes that the soul you're born with isn't necessarily the soul you have later in life.
As Sister Joan defines the soul, it is all about recognizing the beauty of life. "It's layers of consciousness. It layers of awareness," she says. "The more life that you let in, the more life you will have, and then your own soul does grow."
The way the soul evolves, Sister Joan explains, is similar to how life itself unfolds: slowly and deliberately. This concept is poignantly articulated by French novelist and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his 1942 memoir, Flight to Arras, which includes one particular line that has always stuck with Sister Joan.
"Exupéry says someplace something like this. He says, 'To live is to be slowly born,'" Sister Joan cites.
The reason some people seem more soulful or as if they have "more" soul than others, she adds, is because they have grown their souls during their lifetime. "There's no magic age; 18 doesn't do it, 21 doesn't do it," Sister Joan says. "It's a process."
"I don't have the same soul that I had at 6," she continues. "I have a soul now that's thicker, deeper, warmer, broader, brighter, wiser than ever before."
Also from the interview: Sister Joan explains what all major religions have in common.