Daring to Hope for our Nation

Sister Susan Rose Francois, CSJP
October 15, 2020

Four years ago, it was my honor and privilege to be a Nun on the Bus. You remember that election, I’m sure. I was on the bus from Janesville, Wisconsin to Cleveland, Ohio. Along the way, I met some amazing people and heard incredible stories about the joys and struggles of our sisters and brothers across the country. My leg on the trip ended at the Republican National Convention where we passed out lemonade to attendees and asked them three questions:

  1. Who is difficult to talk to about politics in your family and why?
  2. What concerns you about the election?
  3. What gives you hope for our nation?

Four years later, I still remember those conversations. As I wrote in 2016, “‘Our diversity is our strength,’ one man from Wisconsin told me. ‘It can be scary, but over time our country will heal based on our strong values.’ Another from Tennessee said, ‘We have overcome a lot before as a nation and can do it again.’”

For that to be possible, we need to bridge the growing political divide. We need to sweeten the sour conversations in our body politic, in our families and in our communities. We need to talk with people with whom we do not normally engage. If we want to mend the gaps and reweave the fabric of society, then we need to move beyond trading barbs, attacks, and presumed facts, and focus instead on our hearts, probe our fears, and dare to hope for our nation.

Sadly, the divide has deepened and the gaps seem even wider today. I believe that this 2020 election comes at a critical time in our nation’s story. The theme of the 2020 Nuns on the Bus Tour is therefore quite fitting: Who We Elect Matters. For this reason, I decided to get back on the bus this year to talk about how I feel called to be a multi-issue voter.

In many ways, the voter I am today is because of my Mom. My Mom knew in her bones that who we elect matters in the lives of real people, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. She taught me to care for life at all stages, to promote human dignity and the common good, and to bring all those concerns into the voting booth (or onto the pages of a mail-in ballot, as the case may be).

I hope you participate during our 2020 Nuns on the Bus tour or find time to watch events that have been recorded and saved online. However, most importantly, I pray that all voters will take this election seriously, follow their conscience, and vote for the common good.

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP is a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace and a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph congregational leadership team. This reflection was originally published on Sister Susan’s blog “At the Corner of Susan and St. Joseph” (www.susanandstjoseph.com). You can also find her on Twitter, tweeting a daily prayer for President Trump at @susanfrancois.

This story was published in the Fourth Quarter 2020 issue of Connection magazine. Read the full issue.

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