‘Change our politics and not just our policies’
Several Sisters of Providence had the opportunity recently to meet with Sister Simone Campbell and the “Nuns on the Bus,” a Catholic group which places an emphasis on social justice.
In anticipation of Pope Francis’s speaking engagement with Congress, Nuns on the Bus made stops in several states before heading to Washington, D.C., for the address.
In Indiana, they stopped in Evansville and Indianapolis.
Sister Mary Mundy and Sister Arrianne Whittaker both offered details regarding the stops.
The following is from Sister Arrianne, who attended the Sept. 18, Nuns on the Bus town hall meeting in Indianapolis:
“Sister Simone Campbell led us in a discussion to bring to light the particular justice concerns of our community and ways we may be able to help solve these issues.
“… I think the most inspiring thing to me was to listen to the wisdom which was gleaned from the group as we talked about issues of prejudice, elitism, discrimination and fear of ‘the other.’
“… As the sisters left in their bus, they asked us all to consider pledging our alliance with them to ‘change our politics and not just our policies.’ Sister Simone then shared the three ways she felt we could do our part in changing this system. In her words, we must ‘live out of a holy curiosity’ to observe and understand the experience of the other; we must engage in sacred gossip by telling others about what we observe and asking them to join us in the conversation; and lastly, being aware that we might easily become overwhelmed by all the work left to do; we must do one thing and do it well.”
The following is from Sister Mary, who attended the Sept. 17, Nuns on the Bus town hall meeting in Evansville:
“I was privileged to spend an evening with Nuns on the Bus … About 150 or more persons waited in front of the downtown St. Lucas UCC Church for the bus’s arrival. There was great energy of anticipation in the air and a very welcoming church community already gathered when I arrived with one of our Providence Associates and another friend from the parish. As the only Sister of Providence in Evansville, I was delighted to see a number of folks I knew and to be surrounded by others committed to addressing justice issues and areas of concern within our local community.
“… Sister Simone approached the podium and applause resounded before she spoke a word. Those in attendance were honored by her presence and the presence of those traveling with her. Sister Simone, standing in her own authenticity, offered a genuine sense of hospitality to the crowd.
“… Having been invited into small group sharing, participants surfaced issues of injustices within the city and surrounding counties. Racism, immigration, limited public transportation, poverty, lack of adequate housing for low-income families, environmental concerns, hunger and local government were among the areas most often noted. One might think the energy would have been depleted in this exchange. However, there was instead a sense of togetherness and support in our work to ‘change our politics and not just our policies,’ a challenge initially from Sister Simone and now from one to another.
“Pope Francis and the Nuns on the Bus: Pray for us as we pray for you. Together may we be bold enough to confront unjust systems and bring greater love, justice and mercy to our world.”