Written by: Sister Marti McCarthy, SSS
June 8, 2013
About 200 people came to greet the Nuns on the Bus in
Austin. Sister JT Dwyer, a Daughter of Charity, introduced the evening with a
warm welcome from Holy Cross Fr. Bill Wack, the pastor. Sister Mary Lou Barba,
Diocesan Director for Religious of Austin, read a letter of support and welcome
letter from Bishop Joseph Vasquez.
Becky Moeller, President of Texas AFL-CIO, spoke
passionately about the disruption to families, wrongs done to immigrant workers
who must stay in the shadows, and the need for comprehensive immigration
Simone engaged the audience with an overview of some of the
reform issues and some of the ways in which immigrant workers are exploited.
She introduced Sister Sharon Altendorf, PBVM, who described her early positive
life experiences with immigrant groups and farmworkers who worked in her area.
She described how the workers at the end of the season held a fiesta to which
all were invited.
I spoke of the moral imperative for immigration reform as
well as the economic benefit that 11 million new citizens and their families will
bring to the national, state and local economies. She referred to the recent Wall Street Journal editorial that notes
that these new citizens paying into Medicare and Social Security will rebuild
the trust funds for these programs.
Sister Simone echoed and expanded on reform issues and
impressed upon the group the importance of calls and visits this week as early
votes on the Senate bill come to the floor. Questions and comments followed.