Nuns on the Bus 2012

Media Coverage

There have been many appearances on TV and radio (CNN, NPR, etc, etc.) And, of course, so many mentions in the print media (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine, etc., etc.) that we’ve lost count. Here is a small sampling of this media coverage.

Click here to see Sr. Simone Campbell on The Colbert Report!

Click here to see her on Bill Moyers & Company!

Stories from the Road

Stories/reflections from some who participated in local efforts in the following states:
Missouri | New York | Ohio | Iowa | Colorado

Missouri (Sept. 4-7, 2012)

Sr. Marge O’Gorman, FSM  (from an article she wrote for her congregation and parish newsletter)

The week of Labor Day, from Tuesday to Friday, a “Nuns on the Bus” van traveled over 1000 miles in Missouri to visit eight congressional representatives with the message that the Ryan Budget is an “immoral document.”

This trip was planned during the LCWR annual meeting in St. Louis, August 7-10. Alice Kitchen from Kansas City was in town to attend a Mary’s Pence reception before the conference. She was a classmate of Sister of Social Service, Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK.  Alice, a co-member of the Sisters of Loretto, met with Simone to get an okay and then planned the van tour together with Loretto Sister Mary Ann McGivern.  Missouri is one of the states that hosted a state Nuns on the Bus tour, modeled after the national nine state tour sponsored by NETWORK in June.

Frank Lyles

I believe speaking out against injustices always makes a difference if not in a bill or law in ourselves and the person we speak to. It shows the beautiful side of our human nature. It shows courage and enough love for another to stand up for him when he has no voice and cannot stand up for himself. As Bono, the leader of U2 said to politicians and faith leaders at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. in 2006, ending hunger is “not about charity; this is about justice and equality.”

One of the problems of solving poverty and hunger in the U.S. is that for too long we have looked at poverty as due to a shortcoming in the poor themselves rather than also due to a shortcoming in our policies.

Mary Poepsel  (Parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes)

During the very hot first week in September riding in a van across Missouri highways, I admit I had doubts about how the election would turn out. We riders talked about many things; the hunger in our communities, high rents, over-populated prisons, over-burdened military families, the crazy habits of our cats, Mother Church and our own life stories. We agreed there was only one party even remotely representing common people. Still, I wondered if Catholics in particular would see their way clear to follow a truly pro-life path and support the party with ideals to address the fiscal mess our leaders have wrought that would not punish the least among us.

Our little group climbed out of the van time after time to be met by other like-minded, dedicated folks waiting in the broiling sun. Sadly I’m not convinced we converted any of our federal Republican legislators, most of whom were re-elected, during our visits with their associates. They seem to hear and heed only those who agree with them that social programs and the people who rely on them are the problem. Republicans still point to the Ryan budget as the best solution despite the repudiation of the November election.

Alice Kitchen, Co member, Loretto

One particular episode on our Missouri NOTB trip around the state was in the southeastern town of Cape Girardeau on the west side of the Missouri river. We met with the staff of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R) 8th District. The people who joined us from her district were religious women, union workers, and ordinary citizens. One woman brought her two young middle schools daughters with her. They joined us in the session. She said nothing the whole time. Afterwards while we were getting our pictures with the Congresswoman’s staff in front of our van she brought her daughters up to me to say “thank you” for being present and witnessing to what you believe. In her community she cannot talk freely for fear of being ostracized. She works for federal probationers and in that role it is understandable that she cannot share her thoughts in the workplace but she went on to say she does not dare share her thoughts in her community with others. She wanted her daughters to see what religious woman stood for and see them express their voices with those in elected office. I will never forget that conversation.

Alice Kitchen’s more detailed version of the Missouri story (4 pages) is at:

New York  (Sept. 24, 2012 “Nuns on the Ferry”)

Mary Clark (Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign)

“The ‘Nuns on the Ferry’ action really helped reignite our coalition advocacy efforts on Staten Island, calling on Rep. Michael Grimm to put the needs of everyday New Yorkers first, before those of the already-well-off,” said Mark Hannay, Director of the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, and downstate coordinator for Restore the American Promise.  “Now in the literal wake of Superstorm Sandy which hit parts of Staten Island hard, we are continuing those efforts by calling on him to prioritize recovery and rebuilding efforts over massive spending cuts that will undermine the efforts of FEMA, New York State, and New York City to provide vital relief and assistance over the coming months. People feel very strongly about this now.”

New York  (Oct. 2, 2012, Johnson City & Hillcrest)

Amy Fleming

My reflection on the “nuns on the bus” journey:

#1 – the joy in having 60 individuals representing churches of different denominations, social justice activists and just interested individuals show up on short notice with great enthusiasm to hear from a group they heard about and had respect for.

#2 – the amazing outpouring of love, support and affirmation for all nuns as witnessed by those that responded by telling their stories, planned supportive actions and prayer services; sent letters, wrote articles, e-mails, added Facebook stories or simply turned out in droves to see them when they came to their towns.

#3 – the positive proof of what can happen when the media does cover social justice issues with more than just a minimum effort.

#4 – the pleasure of seeing eyes opened wide when they learned the facts vs. the myths of those who should be working for those Jesus called “the least among us” and those who do.

Sponsors: The Broome County Council of Churches Peace with Justice Committee The Justice & Peace Resource Center Citizen Action

New York
(Oct. 16 Rochester)

Sr. Beth LeValley, SSJ

As people – beyond our planning – poured into our Mercy Center breakfast beginnings and missioning prayer, I thought it is “All of Us on the Bus” – and so it was.  All were cheerful, flexible, marveling at the deep, meaningful, challenging talks by our local “poverty” program leaders at each stop. We were joined at times by representatives from the offices of Representatives Louise Slaughter and Tom Reed, and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand all donating Constitutions which were handed out along with other materials.

We also handed out information on the importance of voting and we purposely chose this week at it preceded a major organizing effort by The Children’s Agenda for the Children’s Sabbath on returning the child care funding to the 2010 level.  And many signed letters on this. (We went to Albany last week to deliver 2000 plus letters to staff of our majority Assembly leader Silver and majority Senate leader Skelos and to Governor Cuomo – a huge success….with so many parts feeding in.)

The people of St. Michael’s provided both fine food and an unexpected tour of their magnificent church. Our two key notes at their lunch were two priests, one an icon in the Hispanic community, another new and serving our migrant neighbors. Many good questions, much note-taking and deep pondering occurred. Our first of two “formal” buses was the last to arrive at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse for the final meal and ending prayer – and so the people led in the end – and continue to suggest what might be next.

Phyllis Tierney, SSJ

Dr. John Ghertner, a local physician who is a strong advocate for immigrants’ rights, offered to drive his 12 passenger bus for us on October 16.  He was deeply moved by what he witnessed as Sisters and others who work with persons in poverty in our Rochester area shared their stories.  He followed up by writing an Op Ed which appeared on the Rochester D & C Website and was later printed on the Feedback page of our Rochester CITY newspaper.

The quote I like best:

“The Nuns on the Bus have taught me that poverty is a crime. The criminals are our politicians and we aid and abet this criminal activity. It is our responsibility as citizens to support the needs of everyone in this country and not let a single child go to waste. These are our children. And now I consider these Nuns are my Sisters.”

For more on the Rochester events, see

Ohio (Oct. 10-15, 2012)

Carren Herring, RSM

I only intended to ride the Ohio bus for 24 hours because of my schedule and took one change of clothing. When I got on the bus and heard stories like the woman who just wanted to learn enough so she could read her mail, seniors who were in safe, low/moderate income housing, the dad who had been a Head Start child and is now a successful father of a family, I called home and asked others to cover my responsibilities so I could ride the 1,000 miles in 5 days.

I experienced the gratitude of people for the work of sisters over many years throughout the State of Ohio. I was awed by the hospitality we received at each stop and grateful for all the support of people who made the trip possible. We may be old, but we have power with the people and are a sign of hope in these dark times.

Judy Miller

I feel the mission and calling of the Nuns on the Bus is not to put their emphasis on politics but on those who are affected by the politics. As I joined the nuns on a Friday evening in Toledo, Ohio for a tailgating gathering before two local high school football teams were to play, I saw them greet every person they passed in the parking lot, hand out special stickers with the Nuns on the Bus logo, converse and pose for photos with several people in the crowd. They even made the local news as one of them tossed a football with some of the students. There were about 10 sisters of various orders that certainly were an inspiration to all who saw them that crisp, fall evening.

(See news article and video at

Iowa (Nov. 1, 2012)

Jeanie Hagedorn, CHM

The Iowa Nuns on the Bus trip began with a Eucharistic Liturgy celebrated at the Iowa Capitol, appropriately on All Saints Day!  A group of about 75 supporters, including a few elected officials, shared communion to begin the journey. What a fabulous start to a whirlwind day!  Groups of cheering supporters greeted us at three central Iowa sites standing in strong solidarity with sisters and our advocacy for the poor. (In the wake of Sandy we were all delighted that Sr. Simone arrived in Des Moines ~ and she was delighted that we got her back to the airport for her return flight!)

Colorado (Nov. 13)

Sheila Durkin Dierks

The day-long journey of two small buses along the front range of Colorado was a courage-builder for the folks who rode.  Even though most of us are in the senior category, we all still need the occasional boost that Simone Campbell and her energy brings. The public events in Colorado Springs and Boulder which brought out the press and a large gathering of supporters of social justice causes were encouraging to those who gathered round.

At the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, men and women who use their services, all with back packs and grocery carts, commented that they think no one really cares what happens to them and it’s great to have someone show up and talk for the crowd and cameras about everyone’s right to decent care.

Maureen Flanigan CoL (and Nuns on the Bus driver)

Simone Campbell Executive Director of NETWORK, wildly popular 2012 Democratic Convention speaker, and Colbert Report guest, visited the Denver-metro area November 12th and 13th.  The events were organized and carried out by members of the Nuns on the Bus steering committee, Sr. Anna Koop, Lisa Reynolds, Sr. Mary Kay Brannan, and Sr. Mary Catherine Rabbitt from the Loretto Community in collaboration with many others.

At their September Communities in Common gathering, these members expressed a desire to engage in social justice actions which would express the Gospel values of serving the poor and marginalized. As the Spirit would have it, the Denver religious community was invited to participate in a Nuns on the Bus activity here on the Front Range through Andrea Pasqual, a former intern with Network who now resides in Colorado.