Category Archives: Nuns on the Bus

Faces of our Spirit-Filled Network: Sister Erin Zubal

Faces of our Spirit-Filled Network: Sister Erin Zubal

Sister Erin Zubal
June 4, 2018

How did you first learn about NETWORK?

I learned about NETWORK from the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland Social Justice Office when I first entered the community.  NETWORK has informed and educated me on many social justice issues, which in turn has empowered me to do advocacy work.

What inspired you to get involved and join NETWORK?

I was inspired to take action with Nuns on the Bus in 2016.  The goal of the trip was “to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with a message of inclusion.” Our world is in great need of this and I believe it is important to advocate for systemic change that seeks to address the needs of our brothers and sisters who are underserved. What better way to do this than travel the country to listen to the realities and lived experiences of people in our own communities—and then take those stories to our elected officials and encourage them to legislate for the common good.

What issue area(s) are you most passionate about?

Housing, healthcare and advocating for a faithful budget.

How does your faith inspire you to work for justice?

My faith has deeply inspired my work for peace and justice.  As an Ursuline Sister of Cleveland, the story and legacy of martyrs Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke and Jean Donovan have had a tremendous impact on my call to work for systemic change in our world.  Even though I was not yet born when the women were killed, their history and legacy shared with me by my sisters has formed and shaped me as a woman religious. We must continue the work of those who have gone before us—and be faithful to the call as women of faith, committed to contemplation, justice and compassion in all we do.

Is there any quote that motivates or nourishes you that you would like to share?

“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson

What social movement has inspired you?

The youth of our world who are standing up and allowing their voices to be heard on critical issues.  I am so inspired and filled with hope witnessing the good work of the next generation.

Erin Zubal is an Ursuline Sister of Cleveland. She currently serves as Guidance Counselor at Cleveland Central Catholic High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

Blog: It Seems a Little Odd

It Seems a Little Odd

By Marge Clark, BVM
September 26, 2012

At least 200 members, or supporters, of “Nuns on the Bus” continue our work to educate the public in-person and through press events, and to challenge members of Congress who had voted in favor of the House-passed FY13 federal budget.

On September 24, “Nuns on the Ferry” took the message to New York City. Blaire Bartlett, scheduler to Representative Grimm, agreed the week before to try to schedule a meeting, despite his packed schedule visiting the elderly in Manhattan- perhaps at 11:00, prior to the pre-scheduled 11:30 press conference at South Terminal, she would get back to me at the end of the week. She also arranged for our meeting at 2:00 at the Staten Island office.

The end of the week came, with NO call back.

  • 9:15 AM on Monday morning – I called from the train to be told she was in Brooklyn for the week.
  • 11:35 AM – Blaire returned my call, Rep. Grimm would be glad to meet in Brooklyn office at 2:00. (I communicated that we would have people meeting us on Staten Island, whom we could not reach before then. She said she would talk with him about another time and call back in 5 minutes.)
  • 12:30 PM – press conference on Staten Island – still no return call.
  • 2:00 PM – meeting with Aaron Ceder and David Carr at the Staten Island office.
  • 2:55 PM – I called Blaire on her cell phone. She said she would check again and call in a few minutes.
  • 3:30 PM – On the Ferry, Blaire calls to say there is no time to meet later, the Representative has a 5:30 event.

By the time Blaire phoned –we were back on the ferry; and had read Representative Grimm’s press commentabout “Nuns on the Ferry.”

His opening comment included, it was “a little odd that Catholic nuns who have dedicated their lives to serving God and the community are now focused on something as political as the Ryan-Romney budget.”

I found it a little odd that he went on to say what Catholic Sisters should be doing. It does not seem to be within his purview to determine that, which I expressed to Blaire.

Of course his desire for us is that we work against abortion, gay marriage and the like. I related to Blaire that St. Paul, in a letter to the first letter to the Corinthians (12: 14-26) said that we are all parts of the same body, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? … If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members yet one body” (19-21). Just as each person has different gifts and different callings; every organization has a different calling, and different gifts. There are many Catholic organizations that dedicate themselves to issues named by Rep. Grimm. Yet, far fewer are dedicated to the life issues of hunger, housing, child care, healthcare and other issues that provide life and health and development.

Blaire agreed to ensure a meeting between the Nuns and Representative Grimm in November, when Congress returns.

Blog: A Congressional Tribute to Sr. Catherine Pinkerton

Blog: A Congressional Tribute to Sr. Catherine Pinkerton

Jean Sammon
Jan 07, 2011

Congressman Dennis Kucinich must be glad to have former NETWORK Lobbyist Catherine Pinkerton back in his district.

NETWORK staff, and many of our members and partners in Washington, were sad to see Sr. Catherine Pinkerton retire in March of this year, and return to her community in Cleveland. I can assure you that she is not retired from working for social justice.

While visiting Catherine in Cleveland during the Christmas season, I just happened to see a leather folder embossed with the seal of the House of Representatives on her desk. It contained a copy of a speech that her Congressman, Dennis Kucinich, made in her honor in September, which is now part of the Congressional Record.

Read the tribute here.

Catherine told me that Rep. Kucinich came to see her at the Congregation of St. Joseph center earlier in the year when he heard that she had returned to Cleveland. Then in September, a staff member from his office delivered the copy of the tribute and read it aloud to her and several of her sisters. (He would have liked a larger audience, but Catherine, with characteristic modesty, nixed the idea of calling all the sisters together for that.)

Catherine and I spent some time discussing the current political situation in Washington and Ohio. Those of you who know Catherine can be assured that she is adjusting to this new phase of her life, and will be working on local and national issues with her community’s justice team.

Blog: NETWORK is Surrounded by Jesuit Energy

NETWORK is Surrounded by Jesuit Energy

By Casey Schoeneberger
November 16, 2010

Jean, Mary and I had the privilege of attending the Ignatian Solidarity Network Teach-In in Georgetown this past weekend. The teach-in is a gathering of Jesuit schools from all over the country who get together to learn and lobby on pressing human rights issues. This year’s ISN teach-in focused on immigration reform, climate change, and closing the School of Americas. This annual fall event is not only a chance to widen our exposure to crucial justice issues, and tell others about NETWORK, but to see old friends.

It is nothing less than fascinating, witnessing those whom I knew as fellow classmates in college educating their own students on how to lead lives that do justice. In just a few short years I have seen my fellow classmates go from students to young teachers and advocates, educating young people who one day will continue their own work on behalf of people who are poor and marginalized.

I’ll be honest and admit that I became a little disheartened by the recent election results, but this past weekend I found a renewed strength at the ISN teach-in. Individuals and schools were propelled by their faith background to come to D.C and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Groups traveled hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to have their voice heard and see policy in action, and I have the privilege to work and live in D.C, witnessing the policy-making process every day.

I’m encouraged not only by these students’ enthusiasm and lobbying efforts, but by the fact that they brought the gift of their enthusiasm here to D.C, giving me a renewed sense of hope. Elections may not have gone my way, but this past weekend, there were thousands of young people in D.C who did not allow themselves to become discouraged by the election, standing strong for those marginalized in our society.