Nuns on the Bus Campaign in Media Spotlight

They have been thrust into the media spotlight, much to their consternation, but Nuns on the Bus took to the road to highlight US government budget cuts and the devastating impact these cuts will have on those struggling to make ends meet.

Through a nine-state bus trip organised by NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby group, Catholic sisters sought to increase the public’s awareness of the House of Representatives’ budget passed earlier this year and how it will severely affect the poor and vulnerable. 

The bus stopped at local offices of legislators who supported that budget as well as at Catholic sister-operated ministries that serve low-income individuals and families.  For example on June 30 those on the bus visited Mercy Neighbourhood Ministries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which provides a child care and adult day care to the working poor in that city.  Three Sisters of Mercy who direct this ministry’s work hosted this stop.

Reg McKillip, Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team, and Sister Diane Guerin, Sisters of Mercy justice coordinator, were among the Catholic sisters who have been aboard the bus for portions of its journey.  In her blog, Sister Reg M, as she calls herself described her four days on the bus through Michigan and Ohio, stopping in Grand Rapids, Jackson, Detroit, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus. 

The sisters visited ministry sites run by sisters, did press conferences, visited congressional offices and had “Friend Raisers” in the evenings.

“At each stop, we were greeted by hundreds of people expressing their support and appreciation for the tour and for our message.  I have to say that I was very uncomfortable with the rock-star status that seems to have been given to us.  I was so humbled by the amazing outpouring of support we received at each stop,” she wrote. 

“Doing legislative advocacy in Washington, DC has been very difficult these past 2 years.  The polarisation and lack of civility has really been getting to me.  I have been so tired of losing, and I know that my energy for this work was dying and my own spirit was drying up.  This bus trip re-energised me!”  She added that she is now ready to fight again for values in the Federal budget; dignity, fairness, empowerment, and opportunity for all.

The Nuns on the Bus website highlights that the current House Republican budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) harms people who are already suffering.  It states that the Ryan Budget will:

  • Raise taxes on 18 million hardworking low-income families while cutting taxes for millionaires and big corporations
  • Push the families of 2 million children into poverty
  • Kick 8 million people off food stamps and 30 million off health care.

NETWORK’s Executive Director, Sister Simone Campbell, said in a recent media interview that Catholic Sisters, “know the real-life struggles of real-life Americans.” 

“It is this knowledge that impelled us to organise this bus trip.  When the federal government cuts funding to programs that serve people in poverty, we see the effects in our daily work.  Simply put, real people suffer.  That is immoral.”

Earlier this week Sisters of Mercy and co-workers joined hundreds of others to celebrate the culmination of this multi-state bus trip at their final stop in Washington, D.C.   See www.nunsonthebus.com.

 

 

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