At least 200 members, or supporters, of “Nuns on the Bus” continue our work to educate the public in-person and through press events, and to challenge members of Congress who had voted in favor of the House-passed FY13 federal budget.
On September 24, “Nuns on the Ferry” took the message to New York City. Blaire Bartlett, scheduler to Representative Grimm, agreed the week before to try to schedule a meeting, despite his packed schedule visiting the elderly in Manhattan- perhaps at 11:00, prior to the pre-scheduled 11:30 press conference at South Terminal, she would get back to me at the end of the week. She also arranged for our meeting at 2:00 at the Staten Island office.
The end of the week came, with NO call back.
- 9:15 AM on Monday morning - I called from the train to be told she was in Brooklyn for the week.
- 11:35 AM - Blaire returned my call, Rep. Grimm would be glad to meet in Brooklyn office at 2:00. (I communicated that we would have people meeting us on Staten Island, whom we could not reach before then. She said she would talk with him about another time and call back in 5 minutes.)
- 12:30 PM - press conference on Staten Island – still no return call.
- 2:00 PM - meeting with Aaron Ceder and David Carr at the Staten Island office.
- 2:55 PM - I called Blaire on her cell phone. She said she would check again and call in a few minutes.
- 3:30 PM - On the Ferry, Blaire calls to say there is no time to meet later, the Representative has a 5:30 event.
By the time Blaire phoned –we were back on the ferry; and had read Representative Grimm’s press comment  about “Nuns on the Ferry.”
His opening comment included, it was "a little odd that Catholic nuns who have dedicated their lives to serving God and the community are now focused on something as political as the Ryan-Romney budget."
I found it a little odd that he went on to say what Catholic Sisters should be doing. It does not seem to be within his purview to determine that, which I expressed to Blaire.
Of course his desire for us is that we work against abortion, gay marriage and the like. I related to Blaire that St. Paul, in a letter to the first letter to the Corinthians (12: 14-26) said that we are all parts of the same body, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? ... If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members yet one body” (19-21). Just as each person has different gifts and different callings; every organization has a different calling, and different gifts. There are many Catholic organizations that dedicate themselves to issues named by Rep. Grimm. Yet, far fewer are dedicated to the life issues of hunger, housing, child care, healthcare and other issues that provide life and health and development.
Blaire agreed to ensure a meeting between the Nuns and Representative Grimm in November, when Congress returns.