Category Archives: NunsontheBus2020

A Message from Vice President Biden to Nuns on the Bus

A Message from Vice President Biden to Nuns on the Bus

Sister Simone Campbell
October 23, 2020

On the eve of the final day of Nuns on the Bus 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden sent a letter in support of our efforts. Over the course of the last month the Nuns of the Bus have held over 60 Site Visits, Town Halls, Dialogues across Geographic Divides, and Rallies, and this letter comes from a place of gratitude for our being together and our commitment to making a difference in these challenging digital times. For me this letter expresses how former Vice President Joe Biden’s own faith is rooted in a commitment to the common good.

Read the letter below:

10.23.20 NunsOTB letter

Dear Friends:

It is a pleasure, as always, to extend my well-wishes and sincere congratulations to you on another successful tour. While it has looked and felt different than previous tours and  rallies, this milestone is no less momentous; your mission to bolster humanity and decency in our nation’s politics so that it may elevate those who face the greatest challenges, no less righteous. Your leadership reminds us that we a part of something bigger than any one individual. It matters a lot, and I wish we could be together in person to celebrate.

We’re living through a time unlike any in our nation’s history. As we continue to deal with a public health crisis which has laid bare historic inequities in our healthcare system and our economy, we are all called upon to dig deep and summon the courage do more than simply speak out––but to engage our communities, to practice gratitude and self-reflection, and to address injustices with real action. Your core values, carried out through your ministries, are intertwined in all you do, whether through the intention of prayer or your presence in the community. And at a time when our nation is reeling from multiple crises profoundly impacting the poor, the marginalized, and the vulnerable, your movement, rooted in faith, is a guiding light and a moral example of how we must conduct ourselves and engage one another with compassion. I am grateful for your leadership because scripture is clear: It’s not enough just to wish the world were better. It’s our duty to make it so.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send a special thanks to Sister Simone Campbell. You’ve been a champion of hope and an inspiration to me since the day we met. Despite the deep division that defines so much of our politics these days, there is no force more powerful than the love and compassion you bring to your mission to achieve peace and justice.

Each of you understands that this ongoing fight comes down to a basic universal truth that my father taught me––that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. It’s a simple proposition that you lift up with your voices and strive to see carried out in our laws, our institutions, and our hearts. I am grateful for your tireless efforts and the hope you’ve given to so many along the way. The world is a better place because of it.

Thanks again for all that you do. Jill and I pray that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy, and I look forward to seeing you all soon.


Joe Biden

In Cincinnati, a Discussion On How ‘Everything is Connected’

In Cincinnati, a Discussion on How ‘Everything is Connected’

Sr. Caroljean Willi
October 16, 2020

While offering a warm welcome to the Queen of the West at Network’s Oct. 16 town hall meeting in Cincinnati, participants also learned of the high poverty rate that exists in the city.

The opening prayer began with a quote from Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai that reminded us that we are called to be people of hope — even, and perhaps more so, in the midst of the turmoil that surrounds us.

Participants reflected on how the coronavirus has given us an opportunity to look at ourselves and remember that we all belong to each other. Pope Francis’ injunction that we have to move to the margins came up repeatedly during the discussions.

Racism and the need to confront it was a recurring theme. There was unanimity in agreeing that racism and inequality have to be dealt with at the systemic level, that it is a structural problem affecting our society negatively in our treatment of people considered “minorities.” Even the term “minorities” itself was called into question if we truly believe we are equally loved as children of God. This belief in the dignity of all people forces us to look at how all people in society are treated and be willing to speak up and act with clarity and integrity, to call out the injustices in our own backyards, but also to offer our time and efforts to find solutions.

One of the greatest challenges expressed was that of getting people to listen to what we are saying about the sacredness of all of life, referring not only to people, but to all of creation and the responsibility we have to care for it. Suggestions offered included the need to try to find at least one kernel of common ground with the person with whom you disagree, and also being sensitive to your audience and willing to enter into dialogue.

Whether discussing racism, immigration, climate change or the pandemic, Pope Francis’ words that “everything is connected” were a constant reminder that who we elect matters.

[Caroljean Willie is a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati who has a Ph.D. in multicultural education. She has extensive experience working cross-culturally throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America.]

This blog was originally published on Global Sisters Report.

The Dire Need for Health Care in Wise, Virginia

The Dire Need for Health Care in Wise, Virginia

Sr. Cecelia Cavanaugh
October 15, 2020

On Oct. 15, the Sisters of St. Joseph foundation day, I “visited” the Health Wagon in Wise, Virginia. I found our congregation’s values of meeting the needs of “the dear neighbor” incarnated in the mission of the Health Wagon, which provides medical care for the working poor in Appalachia.

Dr. Teresa Tyson and Dr. Paula Hill-Collins shared the energy and insights that fuel their mission. As they repeated the phrase, “This is the United States of America,” they named staggering statistics: a life expectancy shortened by 20 years on average, high percentages for illnesses, addiction, lack of medical insurance of working people who are earning their way out of eligibility for Medicaid and into debt and preventable illness.

A Catholic sister working in Africa to provide medical care to people on the margins. A young woman growing up in the United States, dreaming of being a missionary doctor. Thousands of men, women and children, many standing in line for days to have access to free medical, vision and dental care. These three came together in extraordinary ways in a mission field, but not in an African country, as one might conclude.

Sr. Bernadette Kenny, a Medical Missionary of Mary, met Teresa in Virginia, Teresa’s home state. Sister Bernie was missioned from Africa to southwest Virginia in 1978 to provide health care to people who are medically underserved. Teresa found her missionary calling in staying home, earning her nurse practitioner credentials and inheriting the directorship of the Health Wagon in from Sister Bernie.

Teresa and Paula, the clinical director and Teresa’s partner in mission, call this being “covered by Sister Bernie’s cloak” (1 Kings 19:19). As they described their efforts to Sr. Simone Campbell, they repeated the refrain, “This is the United States of America,” and it echoed in my soul. This is not a country in the developing world. My city is in one of the wealthiest nations on the planet.

As Sister Simone spoke with Teresa and Paula, I heard another refrain: “innovation, innovation, innovation.” This includes the Health Wagon, bringing clinical care to those with no way to travel to two health care sites. Drones deliver prescriptions. Telehealth provides counseling. It demands networking — building collaborations across faith traditions, health and educational institutions, for example — and creatively meeting needs as they arise.

As I reflected on these refrains and the way they are enmeshed in the work of the Health Wagon, I thought of all the people I know in Philadelphia working for justice and dignity for every dear neighbor. Teresa and Paula are sustained by that which energizes them and moves them to relentless action. “God provides.” “God does not call without providing the means.” “This is the United States of America.” We can do this.

[Sr. Cecelia Cavanaugh of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia is the former dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at Chestnut Hill College.]

This blog was originally published on Global Sisters Report.

Bus Blog: Sojourner Truth House and The Dream Project

Bus Blog: Sojourner Truth House and The Dream Project

Caraline Feairheller
October 15, 2020

On Wednesday, October 14 the Nuns on the Bus went on two virtual site visits. The first stop was in Gary, Indiana with the Sojourner Truth House. At Sojourner Truth House, Sister Simone met with Sister Peg Spindler, the Executive Director, Pam Key, the Director of Client Services, Casaundra Hill, the Senior Case Manager, Twyla Burks, the Support Services Coordinator, and Angie Curtis.Established in 1997, Sojourner Truth House serves homeless and at-risk women and their children and underserved members of the community through providing a day center, food pantry, transportation, case management, and recovery classes. They focus on a holistic service delivery model that strengthens the mind, body, and spirit of the clients, and as Casaundra said, “there is no cookie-cutter service here. We go by what our clients need.”

Beyond meeting the needs of their clients, the Sojourner Truth House works to meet the needs of their community. In response to the murder of George Floyd they created a “Finding the Truth on Fridays” series that brings people together to share stories on the impacts of racism and encourage them into action. Sister Peg made sure to remind viewers, especially white viewers that, “the only Gospel some people ever read is that of our lives. We have to be actively fighting against racism in whatever form it takes.”

Late in the afternoon the Nuns on the Bus made their second site visit in Arlington Virginia with The Dream Project. Sister Simone was joined by Dr. Emma Violand-Sanche, Dream Project Founder and Chair, Lizzette Arias, Dream Project Executive Director, Belinda Passafaro, a Dream Project Case Manager, and Daniel, a Dream Project alumni.The Dream Project as founded in 2011 and empowers students whose immigration status creates barriers to education by working with them to access and succeed in college through scholarship, mentoring, family engagement, and advocacy building. Since its founding it has grown from providing 4 scholarships a year to 100 per year.

The conversation highlighted the importance of creating a community that is willing to shift gears and adapt to the uncertainty of Federal policy decisions. Both Emma and Belinda emphasized the traumatic consequences that come with an Administration that creates uncertainty around ICE, deportations, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Dream Project is mindful of its advocacy because, as Emma stated, “the cruelty of these policy decisions is felt by the people. We need to remember that these are someone’s daughter, or brothers, and parents. This is the time we need to vote and remember that our votes matter.”

While the Sojourner Truth House and the Dream Project are divided by geographic region and provide different types of service to different types of clients, both organizations recognize the impact policies, such as a rent moratorium, have on their clients and are actively organizing to ensure that those in power are listening to their voices.

Watch the Nuns on the Bus site visit to the Sojourner Truth House to learn more. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.
Watch the Nuns on the Bus site visit to The Dream Project  to learn more. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.

Daring to Hope for our Nation

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” ( 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.

Discussing the Three C’s at a San Antonio Town Hall

Discussing the Three C’s at a San Antonio Town Hall

Sr. Bernadine Karge
October 9, 2020

Friday night, Oct. 9, found 77 folks on the bus at Network’s town hall in San Antonio, sponsored by the Intercongregational Leadership Group of San Antonio. The seven men on the bus were outnumbered 10 to 1 by women. Curiously, three of the seven were named James or Jim!

In the opening prayer, we called upon the fire of the Spirit to give us audacity and hope in this election season to engage in dialogue with others even though we may disagree with their viewpoints. Encounter, being together and seeking a future of freedom will enable us to be community.

Our animated interfaith exchange evolved into the three C’s: the common good, character and conscience. Most of the attendees lived in the San Antonio and Austin areas. As part of this wonderful multicultural, multilingual, multiracial world, they identified immigration as one of the key issues in which they are involved.


A health care worker adjusts a monitor on a patient's hand at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston Sept. 30. Texas ranks 50th in the United States for access to affordable health care. (CNS/Reuters/Callaghan O'Hare)

A health care worker adjusts a monitor on a patient’s hand at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston Sept. 30. Texas ranks 50th in the United States for access to affordable health care. (CNS/Reuters/Callaghan O’Hare)

The fact that Texas ranks 50th in the United States for access to affordable health care was raised by many as something they are not proud of as Texans.

Those who work in agriculture know the need to organize, cooperate and work to bring in the harvest. Care for the environment, care of the Earth, education and economic equity were also added to the common-good stew.

The character of whom we elect was raised as most important. Is there one who can see how our policies are the sources of suffering, inequity, grief and fear among the community? Is there one who can recognize those who suffer with empathy and compassion?

One of the nuns on the bus who recently returned to the United States after 50 years on mission in many African countries reflected on the blast of vitriol present in the public discourse in the United States. In this time of fever pitch, we need the ability to listen to another, to respect the human dignity of each person, to seek truth and to live with integrity.

“Be curious, not furious” was a slogan shared to be a means to encountering another without judgment.

As we moved on in our conversation, the word “conscience” came to the fore. We raised the fact that the issues of this time cross interfaith barriers. An integrated, holistic approach to honoring each human is possible. Each person has a conscience, whether they operate out of a faith tradition or not. Each of us can choose to show empathy. As someone remarked, “A little goes a long way.”

One thing that the COVID-19 rollercoaster has taught us is that we are all in this together. There is something we can do: Get out to vote and bring your friends. “Silence is violence.”

[Sr. Bernadine Karge is a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, who has practiced immigration law in Chicago for more than 30 years.]

Bus Blog: Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Alliance for Fair Food

Bus Blog: Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Alliance for Fair Food

Caraline Feairheller
October 13, 2020

On Thursday October 8, The Nuns on the Bus Virtual Tour had a site visit with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Alliance for Fair Food. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is located in Immokalee Florida and is a worker-based human rights organization that fights against human trafficking and gender-based violence. The Alliance for Fair Food (AFF) is a coalition of CIW, Interfaith Action, Student Farmworker Alliance, and Just Harvest that joined together to build collective strength and stand with farmworkers as they advance their struggle for justice and dignity. During the Visit, Sister Simone Campbell spoke with Nely, Julia, Silvia, and Cruz from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers as well as Uriel from the Alliance for Fair Food.

Organizing efforts for both the CIW and AFF begin with this question of “who has power?” Their work has taught them that by gathering together and targeting the massive food corporation who use their power to leverage farmworkers, they are able to make workplace changes such as increased wages and greater protections against violence. During the conversation Silvia emphasized how “gender-based and sexual violence continue to be a big problem in this industry. Through the Alliance for Fair Food we have been able to see a significant change in terms of protections and creating a culture where women are able to speak up without fear of retaliation.”

In Immokalee, Florida there have been over 2,250 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Due to a variety of factors in housing, access to medical care, and transportation farmworkers are uniquely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as Cruz said during the site visit, “all our small actions add up to something momentous. Those small actions have meant a difference to farmworkers having their rights respected” One of those small actions the CIW is asking us to take is to sign the petition calling for the government to take the necessary steps to protect essential farmworkers.

Watch the Nuns on the Bus site visit to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers/Alliance for Fair Food to learn more. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.

Nuns on the Bus 2020 Tells Stories of St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center and Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP

Nuns on the Bus 2020 Tells Stories of St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center and Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP

Adrian Dominican Sisters
October 12, 2020

In the weeks before the November 3 national election, two stories related to the Adrian Dominican Sisters are among hundreds that are told by Nuns on the Bus 2020. Among the Nuns on the Bus is Adrian Dominican Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, United Nations Representative for the Dominican Sisters Conference. In addition, the story of St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center – founded in 2002 by Sisters Carol Weber OP, and Judy Blake, CSJ – was told on September 29, 2020, during a virtual tour by Nuns on the Bus.

Sponsored by NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Nuns on the Bus explores election-year social justice issues through site visits to social service and community agencies, town hall meetings, dialogues, state voting information, and short videos featuring “nuns on the bus” who are involved in social service and social justice issues.

In her video, Sister Durstyne speaks of her ministry at the United Nations and of her special concerns for the issues of equality for women, immigration, nuclear weapons, and climate change. She encourages voters to “make this election count” and to vote for candidates who will move the world forward.

During her visit to St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center, Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Director of NETWORK, interviewed Sisters Carol and Judy, as well as staff members Tiffany and Christine, who had participated in the Center’s programs.

Sister Judy explained the unique origin of the Center: a recurring dream that she experienced during a 30-day retreat. In response, Sisters Judy and Carol began a street ministry to the people of Flint.

The Center occupies a former grammar school owned by St. Luke Parish. Programs include a Wednesday women’s group; a food pantry; a hot meal program; a literacy center, which offers both adult literacy training and preparation for GED; an employment preparation program for men and women; and social enterprises, such as commercial sewing and lawn care, which enable graduates to further develop their skills and work ethic.

Sisters Judy and Carol told Sister Simone that, because of the pandemic, many of the Center’s programs have had to be adapted. Learners and tutors in the literacy program still work one-on-one, Sister Carol said, but now they meet via Zoom.

The Commercial Sewing Enterprise – which once produced items such as medical scrubs, lab coats, designer aprons, and stadium blankets – now focuses entirely on masks, Sister Carol said. To date, women in Commercial Sewing have made more than 13,000 masks. “We really try to help our community mask up,” she explained. “The ZIP code we’re in is one of the highest in Flint for COVID.”

While Sisters Carol and Judy spoke of the history and programs of the N.E.W. Life Center, Tiffany and Christine told their own stories: the impact that the Center has had on their lives.

Tiffany recalled discovering the Center while she was in the midst of depression, “on the verge of giving up.” Suffering from a back problem and unable to work, she heard about the food drive at the Center and brought some food from her own pantry. Immediately upon walking into the Center, she said, she felt love. “I felt like I’d been around there forever,” she said. She was invited immediately to the women’s Wednesday group, became involved in GED, and participated in the employment training class.

“Right now, I pretty much run the donations department and I love the community,” Tiffany said. “They helped me get out of that dark place. I’m just the giving-est girl now. I didn’t know I was that kind.”

Christine had always loved helping people and hoped to start a homeless shelter. She moved from Flint to Georgia but returned home when her grandmother – now doing well – was diagnosed with cancer. She came to the Center at the suggestion of her sister, who told her of the employment program. “Coming here, it just opened up so many doors,” she said. “Everybody was so nice…. I can actually live my life now. All of these wonderful, beautiful people are behind me.”

Both Tiffany and Christine are enthusiastic about continuing their work with the Center and helping with proposed programs, such as outreach to women suffering from abuse. “I’m looking forward to expanding this program, continuing this vision,” Tiffany said. “I would love to stay on board.”

Christine also expressed her joy at continue to work at St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center. “I look forward to working here,” she said. “I like helping people, seeing people with a smile on their face.”

Article originally published on the Adrian Dominican Sisters website.

Bus Blog: The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa

Bus Blog: The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa

Caraline Feairheller 
October 01, 2020

On Wednesday September 30, the Nuns on the Bus virtually visited the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa. The Center for Worker Justice (CWJ) was founded to unite low-wage workers in Eastern Iowa across race and immigration statute to achieve social and economic justice through education, direct services and community alliance. The CWJ prioritizes defending worker’s rights, improving housing options for low-income residents, and providing assistance to those affected by immigration policies.

During the virtual conversation, Sister Simone Campbell was joined by the Interim Executive Director Mazahir Salih, the CWJ President Marcela Hurtado, the CWJ Vice President Kamel Elgiseer, the CWJ Leader Bijou Maliabo, the CWJ Leader and Board Member Margarita Baltazar and community organizer Mayra Hernandez.


Since its founding in 2012, the CWJ has had several campaign victories such as establishing the first Midwestern Community ID program for Johnson County. Community IDs are important as they allow for people to access library cards, open bank accounts, acquire medication, and create a sense of belonging.

The CWJ also works to raise the minimum wage. Mazahir Salih shared her story saying, “When I came to this country back in 1997, I worked as a cashier at McDonald’s and they paid me minimum wage which was $5.25. In 23 years, the federal minimum wage has only risen $2.” In order to combat this injustice, the CWJ organized that the county level to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. However, the state of Iowa argued that individual counties could not raise their own minimum wage, so the CWJ created and tracks local businesses that have committed to a $10.10 wage.

Beyond organizing, the CWJ also focuses on education. As CWJ President Marcela Hurtado said “we want to educate the community to know their rights!” as well as “educate our white neighbors, who may think we [immigrants] are all the same.” The immigrant experience is broad and those who are most vulnerable are those who do not have access to government resources and language accessible resources. However, as the virtual conversation demonstrated, the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa is about meeting the needs of the people and if there is a need they will respond.

Watch the Nuns on the Bus site visit to The Center for Workers Justice of Eastern Iowa to learn more. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.

Bus Blog: “What Am I to Do?”

Bus Blog: “What Am I to Do?”

Sister Cecelia Cavanaugh
October 01, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about “posture” these days. One of the “postures” I’ve pondered is leaning, specifically leaning in. At the first Town Hall in Erie, I watched all the participants pay exquisite attention to those who were speaking, either in a large group or in our break out groups. Perhaps because of computer volume settings or connections, many literally moved their faces and ears closer to the screen. I wondered if our human need for connection and tactile communication might have contributed. I marveled at how all those present at the Town Hall were truly present in their bodies as well as their spirits as they leaned in toward each other. Later that week, I attended the Town Hall in Buffalo. In addition to the attention I’ve already described, in my small group, we worked together to help one member think about how to respond to a particularly difficult conversation. Our listening and suggestions truly provided support and something and someones on whom she could lean. During this week’s Dialogue Across Geographic Divides, I marveled at the leaning in I witnessed among six women ministering in urban and rural settings in my home state. As each described the reality and particular challenges faced in her circumstances, the others leaned in and offered suggestions and resources. They really could not help themselves! They had to reach out, lean in and network. I found this very heartening and supportive.

This morning I gathered with a group of sisters for our three times a week prayer and sharing and the post-debate pain was palpable. I watched tear stained faces and listened to hurting questions and petitions. “Lord, have mercy!” “God, help us!” I felt my own constant question, “What am I to do?” resonate with the prayer and questions of my sisters.

Yesterday, September 29, was the feast of the Archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael. I listened to the first reading, so familiar to us who love the hymn “On Eagles’ Wings.” As I pondered God’s promises of safety, defense, prosperity, safety and long life, I returned in spirit to Matamoros, Mexico where I volunteered in the refugee camp created by the US “Migrant Protection Policy.” I wondered how my dear neighbors living in simple tents for over a year were experiencing the presence of angels. Then I recalled Michael’s name and question, “Who is like God?”’ and realized again my call – our call – to be “like God,” to be angels in this world. How is this about posture? Well, a memory helps me respond to the President’s words last night addressed to the Proud Boys, “Stand down; stand by.” Reading that they rejoice in this order and that they’ve already had patches made with the quote dismayed me. I prayed, who has asked me to “Stand by?” With whom and for whom do I assume such a posture?

When I was a young sister in formation, we took classes with George Aschenbrenner SJ. Discussing the vows, he told us that Saint Ignatius of Loyola urged the Jesuits to live the vow of celibacy or consecrated chasitity “like the angels.” Father Aschenbrenner exhorted us NOT to try to be bodiless cherubs flitting around, but rather to understand angels as “mighty, concentrated personalities, standing always in God’s presence, ready to do God’s bidding at a moment’s notice.” This is the sense I have of St. Michael, for sure. It describes the strength, dedication and focus of those I met in Matamoros – the persons forced to live there and all who minister to and advocate for them. I believe it is the posture I am being called to assume, into which I pray to grow. It describes the community I experience as a Nun on the Bus.