News from the Road

Stay up to date on our road trip!

By Sister Joetta Venneman, PBVM

October 1, 2014

Our first stop of the day is Shively Area Ministries, one of several in a network of community ministries supported by local churches, private organizations and the federal government.

Located in the 40216 zip code, the poverty rate has climbed from 11% to 18% since the last census. The center shares food both from local and federal sources. It provides financial assistance to individuals in need for utility services, rent and medications. Lastly, it offers Meals on Wheels, counseling and education in health and finances.

I met Kim, a resident of Shively who was among those in need of help today. She is a middle-aged white woman who recently lost her job and has placed...

By Sister Carol Coston, OP, and Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM

September 29, 2014

We began our last day in Michigan, as we had every day, sitting together in prayer. Toward the end of our prayer we shared how the days’ events were like a kaleidoscope with the faces of hundreds of people coming into focus. These Michiganders shared similar stories of suffering, frustration and some hope, but in their own unique perspectives.

Our first stop was in front of the 36th District Court, where we joined with M.0.S.E.S., a faith based community organization, to do voter registration. We then went to lunch at Colors, a training restaurant committed to using local food that is very involved with local organizations to promote food sustainability in the city. Some of the representatives of these...

By Sister Linda Werthman, RSM

September 28, 2014

The town hall meeting in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work was for me the finish of a day of contrast and yet similarity of desire for our democracy.

Sister Mary Ellen Gondeck CSJ has captured our time in Flint, Michigan, with people who are using their creativity and energy to earn a living, feed their families, and contribute to the common good of their community. The concerns I heard from them were employment, security and drugs.

At the end of day, gathered in the town hall in Ann Arbor I heard employment as the same concern, but from a different aspect of the same lens. Young people who in their senior year are faced with the burden of student loans are constrained as to where to find...

By Sister Mary Ellen Gondeck, CSJ

September 28, 2014

Flint finds itself in time of great poverty, unemployment and crime. In the center of this reality we visited the St. Luke Women’s Center, the fulfilment of a dream one woman had during a retreat and the urgency of another who was the sponsor for her niece in a Confirmation Preparation program to the need to do something.

It began as an outreach program providing clothing at a soup kitchen. It continued to grow from a one-time “project” to a regular program. Judy Blake, CSJ and Carol Weber, OP, with their volunteers learned from talking to the recipients of the clothing that they needed a safe place to be, growth in self-esteem and educational opportunities.

One of the first stories we heard was about a woman who gave birth to a child in an abandoned building in January,...

By Sister Carol Coston, OP

September 27, 2014

At 8:15 am in Muskegon, MI, where the "Nuns on the Bus" and their brightly wrapped bus spent the night, we headed out to our first event of the day, being held at the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ.

When we arrived, there was already a huge line of children, women and men waiting to eat. The brochure indicated that the cafeteria-style meal "with no plate limit" began in February 2003 when the church realized the need for a nourishing hot meal on the weekend in downtown Muskegon. Since then, an ecumenical group of volunteers has gathered every Saturday morning to prepare and serve Saturday morning breakfast, including holidays, and despite inclement weather.

This morning's meal included scrambled eggs, sausage, oatmeal, juice, toast and rolls. The volunteers...

By Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM

September 27, 2014

Trees were already changing as we drove north to Traverse City. It was a lovely ride with time to reflect on our earlier breakfast which served over 500 people in need in Muskegon which was a rich experience for us all. Although we were a bit delayed because of road work, the crowd was exuberant as we came off the bus and came into the auditorium.  Over 160 people spent the bulk of this beautiful fall Saturday discussing ways to strengthen democracy.

The format is the same with Simone Campbell, SSS, NETWORK Executive Director, kicking off the meeting followed by each of us introducing ourselves and sharing why we were on the bus. On this trip there is Mary Ellen Gondeck, CSJ, Linda Werthman, RSM, Carol Coston, OP, the first...

By Sister Linda Werthman, RSM

September 26, 2014

Our first event in Lansing, Michigan, was so energizing and inspiring. We listened to people’s hopes, seen:

  • in the actions of mothers and grandmothers paying it forward to their children and grandchildren through teaching and practicing respect and care for all
  • in the baby-steps that individuals take that have the potential for being the foundation for the next giant leap forward in how we interpret "promoting the general welfare" in the Preamble of the Constitution for the 21st Century
  • in the memory of the reality of what was accomplished in the 20th century that created opportunities for many in the 21st century, realities such as civil rights,...

By Sister Kris Vorenkamp, SLW

September 25, 2014

What a profound and exceptional experience for me and all of us, I imagined, to share lunch in the break of our NUNS ON THE BUS day in Chicago this way: listening with Gov. Pat Quinn of IL, Simone Campbell, Rev. CJ Hawking of ARISE Chicago, and my fellow sisters to three stories of struggling employees.

We heard stories that "break open your heart,” as Simone says so that we can be opened to their pain and let the Holy Spirit lead our response:

  • a Hispanic couple working for 13 years at a carwash unbelievably only receiving tips—no daily wage—because the owner said they were immigrants and didn't deserve it
  • a brave striker from Golan' Company, which requires extra hours but never pays the workers for those...
Rally for the 100% in Chicago - Nuns on the Bus

By Sister Bernadine Karge, OP

September 25, 2014

The sun shone upon the hundred-plus folks gathered for the 2:00 p.m. rally in Union Park on the near southwest side of Chicago, for the last event of this “espresso” day with Nuns on the Bus, September 25, 2014.

The speakers shone a light on the realities of their lives as:

We the People, We the Workers—

  • who suffer disrespect, discrimination and wage theft on the job
  • who work fulltime earning $9.25 an hour, but do not earn enough to support a 16 year-old-daughter and himself
  • who head up a union to maintain the rights of laborers in the union...
Voter Registration - Nuns on the Bus in Chicago

By Sister Nancy McCarthy, BVM

September 25, 2014

University of Illinois – Chicago  First of all, my reflections are influenced by the fact that I studied on this campus nearly 30 years ago, and the memories that came back along with the GREAT changes that have taken place were astounding. 

I tried to imagine how I'd react if I were approached by a 'Nun-on-the-Bus' and asked if I'd registered to vote! 

Most of the students I spoke with actually said they had (and sounded proud of it). They were very happy to receive our materials and willing to fill out voting pledge cards. The informational flyer about candidates was very helpful in...