News from the Road

Stay up to date on our road trip!
debate-watching party

By Sister Kathy Thornton, RSM

We traveled on to Bettendorf, Iowa where we partnered with Iowa CCI (Citizens for Community Improvement) to canvass neighborhoods to engage folks to vote. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon in September and many people were out of their homes. However, when the whole group came back together, we had forty-four voting pledge cards and had distributed issue information to many houses!

The last event of the day was a debate watching party. The debate was between gubernatorial candidates. About 75 to 80 people played "NETWORK Bingo" as we watched. It was a game to connect value comments of Pope Francis and other faith leaders with the debate candidates. Sometimes hard to do!

We then took our last ride on the bus to the motherhouse of the Sisters of...

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

By Sister Jan Cebula, OSF

Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “They’re helping me find my strong woman inside. It had been crowded out by negativity.” Words of wisdom from Deborah, whom we met at the Catherine McCauley Center on Day Four.  We were all deeply moved by Carlotta, Amy and Deborah as they shared their personal journeys of transformation from abuse, addiction and prison. “My past doesn’t define who I am today. I’m responsible, acceptable, healthy,” Carlotta told us. We could feel her strength and courage. “I have a passion for change” Amy, who serves on a state commission on homelessness, declared.

Erik, a refugee from Africa, beamed as he looks forward to voting for the first time in November. Charles, who helped him learn English and study for the citizenship test, had tears in his eyes. Wendy, the education program manager, told us...

Meeting at the McCauley Center

By Sister Marge Clark, BVM

The Nuns on the Bus were welcomed to visit the educational and the transitional housing programs, meeting and talking with students and residents, as well as with staff. There are many men and women learning English, history and otherwise preparing for citizenship exams. Many continue work to improve their English beyond that level, even after becoming citizens.

They are enthusiastic about the prospect of voting, once they are citizens.

The transitional housing program supports women without children; many arrive directly from prison release. Those we heard from were open about their struggles, what led them to prison – and about their hurt and frustration about being unable to vote. Amy said, "As people required...

Town Hall in Dubuque

By Sister Marge Staudt, OSF

Patience and Awok are Clarke University students from Cameroon who participated in the evening Town Hall for the 100% at St. Patrick’s Church. When the subjects of student debt and college loans were discussed, these young women shifted the focus to the reality of aid/economic development in foreign countries. Therese may be good intent, but far too often such assistance does not reach the people in greatest need.

Topics raised at previous Town Hall sessions were again given voice. To list a few: develop the art of listening; seek the values that promote the common good; the problems of big money in politics, guns in our society.

Making a difference in our world is a 24/7 and 365-day endeavor.

A concluding statement from the state legislator in attendance: “Getting together is a START. Staying together is a...

Arriving at the Lantern Center

By Sister Marge Staudt, OSF

Our afternoon in Dubuque held a visit to the CARADCO building in the Millwork District. This is an example of an abandoned structure that has been reclaimed for significant use: a food co-op, office space for non-profit organizations, apartments, and ritual space. A significant aspect of the tour was the visit to the Lantern Center where ESL classes and related opportunities are provided for many new residents of the city. Dora Cerna, who had benefited from the Lantern Center ministry and is now a citizen, gave a touching witness to this gift in her life. Many Sisters from the city joined Nuns on the Bus for a very spirited reception in the Lantern Center. It was a delight to reconnect with our sisters and receive their overwhelming support.

 

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Signing the bus in Dubuque

By Sister Jan Cebula, OSF

Dubuque, Iowa. We’ve been gathering around tables as we move from town to town, engaging one another in conversations about what concerns us, what is important for our democracy and how we might move forward together.

Significant things happen around the tables in our lives. We share our stories, renew friendships, play games and are nourished. Carry on business, make decisions, broker deals.

On Day Three, Nuns on the Bus hosted two Town Halls for the 100%: one at the Americans for Democratic Action in Waterloo and another at St. Patrick’s Church in Dubuque. Over and over again as we travel, we hear the concern about who is being left out, left behind in our country. Concern over...

Sister Jeanie speaks with people in Waterloo

By Sister Jeanie Hagedorn, CHM

Our bus arrived this morning at the Waterloo River Plaza Building for a “Town Hall for the 100%” with the Americans for Democratic Action. Again, an enthusiastic group welcomed the bus and we all proceeded inside for a very energetic sharing!

After the customary introductions and community-building activities to "connect" folks with one another we settled into both small and large-group dialogue about issues that concern us. We were so impressed with a young college student who spoke and gave us hope for the future. The crowd of about 80 filled the room with enthusiasm and remarkable knowledge and commitment to their local community. It was not as diverse a group as we met in Sioux City, but impressive with their insights about the critical issues and some suggestions for...

Sr. Richelle at Sioux City Town Hall

By Sister Richelle Friedman, PBVM

Our second town hall today was held at the Sanford Center in Sioux City, Iowa.  The venue was fitting as the Center’s mission is to create interracial understanding and better community living.  The lively discussion that permeated the room centered on the challenging issues that face our nation – from excessive spending on war, the environment, the safety net, living wages, to the empowerment of women.  The town hall meeting participants represented diverse ages, races, ethnicities, and genders.

Simone had said that at the heart of the model needed to represent the 100 percent is that “we the people” need to talk to each other to break down barriers that divide us.  The 75 present talked about the issues and shared some beginning steps toward...

Bus arrives in Waterloo

By Sister Jan Cebula, OSF

Heading east on U.S. Highway 20 near Sac City, Iowa, on the road to Waterloo. As we travel along, seeing the corn and soy bean fields, farms, small towns, and larger ones rolling by, bumping along with the tires humming, I suppose it’s natural that road images start coming to mind.

Journeys take us to unexpected places. At times it’s smooth sailing.  We hit rough spots. Sometimes the road narrows or takes a detour. We may even get lost. Surprises can turn into unexpected joy.

So it also is with the journey of democracy. Day Two for Nuns on the Bus was an experience of exploring this with our first two “Town Halls for the 100%.” In Council Bluffs we...

By Sister Mary McCauley, BVM

By 9:00 a.m. on Thursday morning the “Nuns on the Bus” arrived at New Horizon Presbyterian Church in Council Bluffs, IA.  We were greeted warmly by a number of Mercy and Notre Dame Sisters from Omaha, as well as supportive and curious residents of Council Bluffs.

Sister Claudia Robinson, the Director of Interfaith Response welcomed us.  A number of the people present were long-time volunteers for this service agency, whose major goal is to prevent homelessness.

Sister Simone then introduced the Iowa Bus Riders, explaining the reason for this ten-state tour.  Those assembled resonated with the focus of our tour…that we are about living the Constitution…that our bus ride is about “We the People have the Power!  We the People have the privilege and...