Category Archives: NunsontheBus2018

Travel Log: Savannah

Travel Log: Savannah

Sister Cathy Bauer, OSB
October 30, 2018

When the rally ended at the State House in Columbia, SC, we boarded the bus to travel to Savannah, GA. On our three hour trip, we had lunch, shared stories, rested, and prepared for our town hall in Savannah.

A little after 5pm, we arrived at ConneXion Church and were greeted by Rev. J. Michael Culbreth. While we ate a light dinner, people began to arrive for the town hall meeting.  It was great seeing them to go over to check out the bus and many were taking selfies with the bus.

The town hall began at 6 pm with introductions and a dramatization of the 30 years effects of the passage of tax policies in the 1980s under President Reagan. Each sister had a part representing twenty percent of the population and another sister was the top one percent. By taking steps we were able to demonstrate who benefited and how the inequality grew. Then Sister Simone introduced the new tax law (passed Dec, 2017) and what will occur for each economic quintile, the one percent, and corporations. Also, with less taxes received, our federal programs that assist families and communities with necessities such as food and shelter will be cut.

The people attending the meeting shared what they are seeing here in Savannah. The first story shared brought tears as we heard that a local resident Ms. Ross  just died because she was unable to afford her asthma medication.

Others shared that population in the city of Savannah is 169,000 with 4,500 working individuals who are homeless. Tourism has taken the affordable housing and added many  low paying jobs. There was also much concern around education that the increase of private schools for those who can afford them has let the public schools to go down. Affordable healthcare at the general hospital and the need for Medicaid expansion in Georgia were also mentioned.

After this town hall, I believe Hope is people coming together.

View more photos from this event here.

Reflection: Back in the saddle during the last week of the trail to Mar-a-Lago

Reflection: Back in the saddle during the last week of the trail to Mar-a-Lago

Sister Michele Morek, OSU
October 30, 2018

This post originally appeared on the Global Sisters Report website. 


There is an old country song (really old — Gene Autry sang it) called “Back in the Saddle Again.” I was singing it as we boarded the bus Oct. 28 for the journey from Washington, D.C., to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Coming off a two-week break from the bus, I arrived pretty refreshed, but I was amazed to see Social Service Sr. Simone Campbell and her Network staff still cheerful and full of energy. One of them told me they get new energy from the weekly shifts of new sisters getting on the tour bus.

First, we gathered for brunch in Crystal City at the restaurant Jaleo, owned by the chef José Andrés, who organized food distribution in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The chef, who has 31 restaurants in North America and the Caribbean, arrived five days after the hurricane and worked with World Central Kitchen and 20,000 volunteers to serve about 3 million meals over three months.

After eating, we went out to find the bus. It was nice to see all the old-timers and Glenn the bus driver. The bus has a lot more names written all over it, covering almost every square inch until you get up to ladder height.

For about the first hour of travel, Sister Simone and her staff gave us the “Introduction to Life and Ministry on the Bus” speech and various practical directions (e.g., how to flush). We also had a Ceremony of the Beads in which we chose a bead expressing the hope we have for our week on the bus, explained our choice to the group, and put it on an elastic band around our wrists to wear the rest of the week.

After that, the warmth of the bus, the big brunch, and the three-hour bus trip called for a few naps — for those us not blogging, anyway. Our first event was a rally in Richmond, Virginia. In preparation, we all filled our swag bags with the Network newsletter, stickers and the cards that participants use to sign a pledge to work for the common good (a completed card gives one the privilege of signing the bus!) and headed out to meet the rally participants.

The rally was in a public plaza beneath a statue of Maggie Walker, the nation’s first African-American female bank president. She chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank of Richmond, which helped black people rise out of poverty after the Civil War. The next year, her newspaper, the St. Luke Herald, incited a two-year boycott of Richmond’s segregated streetcars.

The crowd of about 75 was very receptive. After an invocation by an Episcopal priest, one of the nuns, Dominican Sr. Quincy Howard of Network, gave an introduction to the Nuns on the Bus. The mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney, then spoke eloquently of what good leadership looks like, followed by the Rev. Jeanne Pupke of the Unitarian Universalist Church, a former Immaculate Heart of Mary sister, who talked about the current tax policy as the “mother of all inequality.”

Jackie Short, a black activist, entrepreneur and speaker for the Fight for $15 movement, spoke for a fair minimum wage, and Ali Faruk spoke of housing and business federal programs as investment in people. Former congressperson and political activist Tom Perriello praised the Nuns on the Bus and spoke of how the budget reflects our values. Finally, Sister Simone worked her usual magic on the crowd, convincing all that it is “we the people” who are responsible for the course of our democracy.

As always, I was struck by the hope in the faces of the people present, as if we were a roving team of cheerleaders who confirmed them in what they believe and value, who gave them a chance to get together with a group of like-minded people, and who provided a group of inspirational speakers from their own area who could speak to issues of concern to them.

And now what you have been waiting for: introducing this week’s Nuns on the Bus!

  • Benedictine Sr. Cathy Bauer
  • Social Service Sr. Simone Campbell
  • Dominican Sr. Quincy Howard
  • Dominican Sr. Mary Howard Johnstone
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Donna Korba
  • Agnes Sr. Julie Krahl
  • Daughter of Charity Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy
  • Joseph Sr. Beth LeValley
  • Agnes Sr. Clare Lawlor
  • Ursuline Sr. Michele Morek

[Ursuline Sr. Michele Morek is Global Sisters Report’s liaison to sisters in North America. Her email address is Follow her on Twitter: @MicheleMorek.]

Follow all of GSR’s Nuns on the Bus coverage.

View more photos from all events here.

Travel Log: Raleigh and Durham

Travel Log: Raleigh and Durham

Sister Julie Krahl, CSA
October 29, 2018

Raleigh, North Carolina

At 9:00 the bus pulled in front of a nice-looking, small business-type building, the Women’s Center of Wake County. Its nondescript look denied its role as ‘home’ for women looking for safety and stabilization.  With the leadership of Brace Boone, III the Women’s Center is a day program aiming to prevent and end the homelessness of women. We met welcoming staff working in rooms made beautiful and calm by the art and design. We saw spaces that addressed the physical and mental health concerns of the women, spaces that held safe their personal belongings, spaces for calm and comfort, spaces with a piano, spaces for eating plentiful and nutritious meals. We heard of programs providing clothing, cleanliness, coffee and laughter. We heard of ever-expanding resource and revenue sources for the program and the individual women; individuals, businesses, HUD.  There is no space or intent for the women to sleep inside, they are a day program.  Yet, women sleep outside at night.

And we met the women.  Dorothy and Kathy spoke of warmth, multiple points of ease and access to local resources connecting them to hopes and plans for recovering and for securing life.  And this was ‘home’ until then.  Our hour in that building brought us to know and feel that this was not a simple space but a thriving yet struggling community creatively and powerfully taking care of each other.  The Women’s Center of Wake County truly is a responsible program working successfully for the common good.  A program worthy of the support of our taxes.

We walked out of the building to a rally in front of the bus that featured inspiring talks from Brace, Sr. Simone, Sr. Donna, and Rep. David Price (NC-04). What we heard further highlighted the need for this program, the need for reasonable taxes for responsible programs.  We present further understood the need to vote for officials that have the willingness and courage to 1) work for progressive taxation and 2) expand programs that work for the common good of ‘we, the people’   And the bus grew with more signatures.


Durham, North Carolina

Our afternoon began with a sunny walk in a garden. It looked lovely and simple enough with a variety of trees and flowers and plants.  Then subtleties of organization became apparent: plowed rows of plants raised to efficiently improve the irrigation system, food plants in stages of harvest.  Then the inter-related complexity wowed us: solar panels on the green house, flowering plants for the bee hives across the street, compact and nutritious food sources, diverse vegetation encouraging volunteer care, old bicycle tires beautifully repurposed to support sunflowers and climbing berries, composting organic waste from the nearby food distribution center, a community contributing to and receiving many benefits.  Awesome!  And symbolically representative of the site we were visiting:  Farmer Foodshare.


It looked lovely and simple enough: cool building, neat trucks, and friendly people.  Then we noted the subtleties of organization: efficacious use of historical space, flexible scheduling and appropriate tools and resources to manage the ebb and flow of the bounty and the needs.  Then three women shared their perspectives with us and the inter-related, interdependent complexity of the three partnering social service agencies wowed us. With food access and food justice as paramount to their work, Gini Bell, Quisha  Mallette, Camryn Smith   explained how they organized the community to build pathways out of food insecurity.   They created a robust community-response to the multiple identified food challenges with avenues for cooperative economics.  It was expansive.  Gathering, storing, distributing local-grown and prepared foods; connecting farmers, neighbors, seniors, school children; educating for nutrition, sources of food, food tastes, ecology; remodeling and utilizing vacant neighborhood buildings; securing local and federal (ie. USDA) sources of revenue, employment, community involvement. The result—reliable, consistent access to fresh, diverse food provided and enjoyed by the community through their own ingenuity, efforts, and resources.

And we were awed. What a garden!  What powerful community action!  What a responsible program!


The nuns and the leaders walked outside, and with the crowd gathered, shared goals and new understandings of ‘we, the people’ successfully working for the common good. We encouraged voting to get reasonable taxes to develop responsible programs.   And the bus grew with more signatures.

View more photos from Raleigh and Durham.

NETWORK Responds to Week of Violence, Bigotry, and Anguish

NETWORK Responds to Week of Violence, Bigotry, and Anguish

October 29, 2018

After a would-be assassin mailed pipe bombs to 14 prominent Democratic figures, including the families of 2 former Presidents; after a gunman tried to enter a Black Church in Kentucky intent on doing harm but was unable to gain access so walked to the nearest Kroger grocery store and killed two people instead; after all of that, there was the terrible mass shooting of Jewish worshippers at a Pennsylvania synagogue.  It was a devastating week and we are still reeling from it.

Nevertheless, we join the country in offering our most heartfelt and sincere condolences to the family and friends of those 11 people who were killed in Pennsylvania and the 2 people in Kentucky.  No words can express how profoundly we grieve with you in your time of need.  We stand together as the nation mourns your, and our, loss.

At the same time, we condemn, in the strongest possible language, these senseless murders of 13 ordinary people, worshipping at Tree of Life Synagogue and buying groceries at the local Kroger store.  They were simply going about their day until two white men, fueled by anti-Semitism and racial animus, attacked them.  These innocent people lost their lives to hate and fear in a country founded on freedom, opportunity and religious values.

But our Catholic faith tells us that we are all created in the image and likeness of God.  No exceptions.  And as a result, every human being is imbued with an essential dignity that must be honored, respected and protected.  The hate-filled actions of the gunmen belie that fundamental truth.   Whether or not you are religious or have some faith-based beliefs, there is something profoundly wrong in society when people turn to violence against others simply because they belong to a different religious tradition or have a different skin color.  We condemn every action based on hatred, bigotry and violence.

Sadly, this is not the first time we have witnessed, endured and decried the presence and menace of such evil in our midst.  But this can be the last.  This is a time when the whole country can stand up and speak out against it.  This is a time when we must demand of our leaders and each other the guarantee of civility, respect and safety for everyone.  For our sake.  For our children’s sake.  For the sake of our country’s future.  We must not let this hatred, violence and division defeat us.  The only question is:  will we do it?  Or will we once again pay a terrible price for our silence?  People are fond of saying “we are better than this.”  Now is the time to prove it.

May God grant eternal rest to those who were slain.  May God shower peace and consolation on all those who mourn.  And may God have mercy on all of us if we fail to stand up to this moment in history.

Travel Log: Richmond

Travel Log: Richmond

Sister Michele Morek, OSU
October 28, 2018

I loved this event, which took place in a public plaza in Richmond beneath the statue of Maggie Walker, the nation’s first African American woman bank president. She chartered the St. Luke’s Penny Savings Bank of Richmond, which helped Black people survive financially and rise out of poverty after the Civil War. The next year, her newspaper, the St. Luke Herald, incited a two-year boycott of Richmond’s segregated streetcars.

The crowd of about 75 who had gathered for our Rally for Tax Justice were very receptive to our message.  After Sister Simone Campbell welcomed the group, acknowledging the deep sadness and fear of the country in the past week with the synagogue shooting and the pipe bomb scare, our speakers took the stage, including:

  • John Kerr of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Blackstone, VA giving an invocation
  • Sister Quincy Howard, OP, of NETWORK introducing the Nuns on the Bus Tax Justice Truth Tour
  • Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, VA speaking of what good leadership looks like
  • Jeanne Pupke of the Unitarian Universalist Church (and a former IHM Sister) talking about the current tax policy as the “mother of all inequality”
  • Jackie Short, a Black entrepreneur, activist, and speaker for “Fight for $15,” speaking for a fair minimum wage
  • Ali Faruk, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy board member who spoke of housing and business federal programs as “investment in people”
  • Tom Perriello, a former U.S. Representative and political activist who advocates for policies based on values; he spoke for Nuns on the Bus and the budget as reflecting our values
  • Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, who shared the message that it is “We the People” who are responsible for the course of our democracy.

As always, I was struck by the hope in the faces of the people present: as if we were a roving team of cheerleaders who nourished their beliefs and values, who gave them a chance to get together with a group of like-minded people, and who provided a group of inspirational speakers from their own area who could speak to issues of concern to them.

View more photos from this event here.

Travel Log: Washington, D.C.

Travel Log: Washington, D.C.

Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CSJ
October 26, 2018

The last day of the third leg was six days, saw us in six states, and held 15 events (with some stops on Capitol Hill)!

We ended our time together with a really delicious dinner in the rectory hosted by Father Patrick Smith, the Pastor of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.  Ernesto was the chef and he told me he also cooks for the school and uses fresh fruits and vegetables. He told me once the children got used to it, they really love it. Dessert was sweet potato and pecan pie! 

We went next door to the school for our Town Hall for Justice. This event was unique in that the staff traveling on the Bus with us, as well as three of the nine sisters who live in D.C. During the discussion time, it was interesting being with residents of the District because they talked about “taxation without representation.” On the road we heard from many constituents who did not feel represented, and these people are in fact not! 

After the presentation people were invited to sign the Bus. It was raining so everyone had to wipe their spot before signing. Earlier in the day the NETWORK staff had attached the names of the 887 people who had sent a donation for Nuns on the Bus. The sister with whom I live and I had signed a sticker, and I thought it would be neat to see it on the Bus. On that rainy night in D.C. I got to see our sticker and was so grateful to the community support that made the “Tax Justice Truth Tour” possible. 

We said our goodbyes and “ubered” off to the Stuart Center where we spent the night before making connections home.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to the staff and supporting players for a very enjoyable, inspiring and passion filled experience.

View more photos from this event here.