Monday, August 26, 2019

Reflections on Accompaniment

By: Sr. Kathleen Crowley

My heart goes out to the many immigrants fleeing violence in their home countries that I see on TV or read about in the newspapers or the NCR. My community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, has sent sisters to the border in El Paso and San Diego; we’ve donated a van to Annunciation House in El Paso, as well as many other ways of being helpful. I have now found a new way to continue my support.

In St. Louis, we are fortunate to have an organization called IFCLA, Interfaith Committee on Latin America.  Because of the current political environment, many asylum seekers expressed a real fear of going to ICE alone for their monthly check-ins and requested someone to accompany them to these meetings.  Hence, began the ICE Accompaniment Program.

Teams of 3-4 people are present with the immigrant as s/he checks in or petitions for the removal of an ankle monitor at the ICE office or the private subcontractor who administers ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP).  he goal of the accompaniment program is to alleviate some of the anxiety the immigrant has when they have to interact with the immigration system.

This accompaniment is a way for us to provide comfort, solidarity, and connection with the asylum seeker as well as witnessing for fair treatment of them. Having the opportunity to talk with the immigrant also is a schooling in what it means to be an asylum seeker for the lengthy time of numerous years the process takes. For example, it came as a real surprise to me that one person I met has to check-in MONTHLY with ISAP which involves missing a day of work each month. Then someone from ISAP comes to her home WEEKLY, to make sure she is actually living in her stated address. Thus, more time off from work is needed. I asked another asylum seeker how his employer reacted to him having to be absent so much from work. He replied that a lot of people try to seek out work in the evenings and at night, but this often provides a problem if they have children. Often many people simply get fired! 

I am grateful for this accompaniment program which helps to put a face on the most heart-wrenching issue of immigration while giving us Sisters of St. Joseph another opportunity to stand by our dear neighbor from whom we do not separate ourselves.

Editor's Note: To learn more about accompaniment, please visit our website.

[Sr. Kathleen Crowley is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet- St. Louis]

Monday, August 19, 2019

Sr. Carol Zinn's Reflection from the July Catholic Day of Action

[Note: Below is the transcript of the reflection Sr. Carol Zinn gave at the Catholic Day of Action on July 18, 2019. Sr. Carol is both a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia and executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The next Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children will be held on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. If you are interested in attending and would like to join the CSSJ U.S. Federation contingency — or would like additional information — please fill out this form.]

LCWR Reflections at the Catholic Presence at the Capital
Thursday 18 July 2019

Members of the CSSJ Federation at the July Catholic Day of
Action in Washington, DC.
Thank you for being here as people of faith. Thank you for inviting us to share in this important gathering.

I am Sister Carol Zinn, a Sister of Saint Joseph and the Executive Director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). We represent 300+ religious congregations of women out of the 400+ here in the United States. Our members represent 80-85 percent of the Catholic Sisters living and ministering in our homeland.

The Catholic community around the world heard the familiar parable of the Good Samaritan at the celebration of the Eucharist recently. "Who is my neighbor?" was the question posed by the scholar of the Law. And the answer is as clear today as it was when the answer was given: "the person who treated the one in need with mercy and compassion." The person who did the good regardless of the cost. The person who did the good regardless of the inconvenience. The person who did the good regardless if it was popular or not. The Good Samaritan, the Golden Rule, the countless stories where the Gospel message and the sacred texts of other world religions provide the way in which we are to live as sisters and brother to each other are so clear: tend the widows; care for the orphans, and make sure no one is in need!

Historians remind every civilization that they will not be judged by their nation's Gross National Product nor the success measured by Wall Street nor the strength of their economy, military or politics. No, civilizations and cultures are and will be judged by the way they treat the most vulnerable, marginalized, poor and oppressed among them.

Sr. Carol Zinn addressing the press and
the crowd during Catholic Day of Action.
We are here today because of our faith. The Gospel message compels us to act now. The values of our own homeland, the United States of America, demand that we act now. The long history Catholic Sisters have had as immigrant communities themselves to this country and the 2 centuries of presence and ministry to the most vulnerable of God's People prompt us to act now — to stand here and stay here until our faith and our values are respected and reverenced.

We have seen the pain, suffering, fear, and trauma of our sisters and brothers at our southern border firsthand. In these recent months, as the humanitarian crisis has escalated, we've joined hundreds of thousands of our citizens who are outraged as the horrific treatment of families and, especially, children come into our living rooms and media screens. The inhumane treatment of children, being done in our name, must STOP.

STOP the pain.
STOP the suffering.
STOP the oppression.
STOP the traumatizing.
STOP the isolation.
STOP the detention of children.
In the name of the values of this country — STOP.
In the name of the good, the compassionate, the merciful, the kind, the just One — STOP.
In the name of the future generations in this country and in the countries, who are our neighbors —STOP.
STOP the inhumanity.
STOP the detention of children.

We are here not only to demand that these actions STOP. We are here to demand that new actions START.

START placing children with members of their families in this country, with sponsors who are available all across this country, with community-based case management programs where they can stay until they are able to appear in immigration court.

Sr. Mary Beth Hamm (Philadelphia) at the
Catholic Day of Action. 
START listening to the stories of those who journey to our southern border. Who of us would leave everything behind and undertake the perilous journey these families choose to make? Who would do that? Only people who are desperate and in great need and fear for their lives and the lives of their families. LISTEN to them.

START addressing the systemic reasons why people choose to leave their homeland.
START addressing the policies from 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago implemented by our own government that have created the situation in countries from which people are fleeing.
START addressing our own need for humility and vulnerability to own our complicity in creating the situations from which these people are escaping with their lives.

The Catholic women religious of LCWR continue to serve the needs of the most vulnerable. In the past few months over 1000 Catholic Sisters have spent time ministering to those in need who come to our southern border. Even as we stand here today our Sisters and their Associates, Partners in Mission, volunteers in ministry are present along the border. And we have donated over $1 Million to help support the needed care of the human family seeking safety, security and a better life for their families. We will continue to minister to their needs and advocate for the systemic policy changes so that just immigration procedures will be enacted.

Who is my neighbor? The one who is in need! Who was neighbor to the one in need? The one who did the GOOD. How do we live the message found in the Gospel: "As long as you did it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me." Five simple words: You did it to me. We have the entire Gospel on the tips of our fingers. The same fingers that send emails and texts and phone calls to our congressional representatives. The same fingers that we will use to vote. You did it to me!

May we stand as one in our faith, in the love of the values of our homeland and in compassionate service to the most vulnerable wherever we see them. Amen.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Discerning Civil Disobedience When Cruelty Is the Point

By: Sr. Susan Wilcox

Sr. Karen Burke, Sr. Susan Wilcox, Brooklyn Vetter,
and Kristen Whitney Daniels at the Catholic Day of Action
in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 2019.
Last October, Atlantic writer Adam Serwer wrote an article titled, The Cruelty Is the Point about why there seems to be rejoicing in the suffering of others by some in our communities. Might we recall Attorney General Jeff Sessions gleefully announcing the family separation policy and the border agents mocking the sounds of terrorized children? Mr. Serwer refers to a history of this phenomenon in the lynching photos of the past in which white men delight in heinous acts posing for posterity. So, for any who think that we resolved that level of overt cruelty during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, clearly, we did not. That impulse to exhibit the holding of power, privilege, and control of others in a socially justifiable way merely went covert. Again fully unleashed, we cannot deny that the power of which I am referring is a structure of internalized white privilege. And our church is not immune.

As a long-time student of conscious evolution, this cruelty that we see towards humans who are only doing what we would do if we were in their circumstances (fleeing violence; protecting our daughters from ownership by a gang; reuniting with family in the U.S.; etc.) is a resurgence of that latent instinct to preserve privilege against a paradigm of equality. For Catholics, this equality is not just written into our federal constitution, but in our religious social teaching preserving the dignity of every human person. Every human person, no exceptions.

Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood Karen
Burke and Susan Wilcox can be seen
participating in nonviolent civil
disobedience at the Russell Senate
Building in Washington, D.C.
So for this reason, I chose to participate in the recent Catholic Day of Action at the U.S. Capitol in which Catholics gathered to demand an end to migrant child detention and inhumane immigration policies. Christianity is an embodied religion, what better way to hold authorities to account than by risking our bodies? At our day of action, 70 Catholics were arrested, out of that 23 were participating in nonviolent civil disobedience for the first time — that’s nearly a third. Nonviolent civil disobedience became ingrained in Catholic social justice efforts with leadership from Dorothy Day, César Chávez, Dan and Phil Berrigan, and the work of Pax Christi, the Catholic peace and justice movement, to name a few. Nonviolent civil disobedience is about standing up publicly and for the record among those who say no to injustice and yes to equal dignity. Equal. Dignity. For. All. 

I hope all who read this will begin a discernment of nonviolent civil disobedience. It’s a personal discernment but a communal action. You will not be alone. And the world needs you, now. The world needs us now. The world needs Catholics who are living their faith, publicly and for the record.  

[Sr. Susan Wilcox is a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood and the congregation's JPIC Coordinator]

Thursday, April 18, 2019

New Things Are Happening in Le Puy

The red arrow shows you right where you are

Le Puy and the whole Rhone/Alps region is undergoing some big changes.

These little buses run all over town
The local transportation system has greatly improved with more buses going to more near-by places of interest and a little shuttle bus that takes you around town.  So, if you just don’t think you can trudge up one more hill, perhaps a shuttle can take you where you want to go.  Click here to learn more about the bus system.

The bus stops have
clear schedules

A new museum has opened in Le Puy called the Musée Crozatier. It is a large museum with an impressive collection of articles of historic significance, fine art, a science gallery, and a display of local artistry including lace-making.  My favorite was in the historic section where they had blocks of the wall from the Cathedral that have interesting designs carved into them. They frequently have special shows.  The entrance fee is 6 euros.  Although the most detailed descriptions of the exhibits are only available in French, throughout the museum there are frequent explanations in English.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and recommend it.

It has a historic gallery. 


A Fine Arts Gallery

A Science Gallery

and the Galerie Du Velay that features religious art and lace making

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sr. Betsy Van Deusen Reports from Nuns on the Bus

By: Sr. Betsy Van Deusen

Sr. Betsy Van Deusen, second from left, with the other "Nuns On the Bus."
(Photo Courtesy of NETWORK)
The Tax Justice Truth Tour on the Road to Mar-a-Lago began on October 8 in Santa Monica, California with ten sisters, a staff of eight and Glenn the bus driver in a 45 feet long, 13 feet high and a little wider than a passenger car. It was "wrapped" in bright colors with the route map on either side. Sr. Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of NETWORK rode the bus all the way to Mar-A-Lago where the trek ended November 2. Twenty-one states, 54 events in 27 days.

The purpose of the tour was to listen to the stories of real people and share those with representatives, to educate about the Tax Law of 2017 and to visit legislative offices. One of the oft-heard phrases was, "Reasonable Revenue for Responsible Programs," — we need enough revenue to take care of our communities, all the people as well as services that improve the quality of life for all - infrastructure, schools, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, to name a few.

I rode the bus from Cleveland, OH to Washington D.C., October 21-26. What an adventure and privilege and birthday gift as well. There were nine sisters on the Bus from different congregations. We began each morning with 15 minutes of silent prayer, shared our reflection or thoughts and then headed off for the Bus. One morning I happened to look down at my room card that said, "Passion moves us Forward." Yes, I thought I should keep that one! Another morning the song, "Who will Speak?" by Marty Haugen was shared. The refrain is, "Who will speak if you don't, who will speak if you don't, who will speak so their voice will be heard, oh, who will speak if you don't?" This was the challenge for the week for me and certainly is each day.

We visited in-district offices of Representatives and then had a rally to report on the meeting with local constituents. What was most surprising for me was that constituents reported time and again that their representatives would not meet with them. We had one meeting with an aide in an office who said that the reason the representative did not meet was because he is painfully shy!

We had several site visits but the one that stands out was First Friends in NJ, a program for asylees and detainees. Ali asked us not to listen to his broken English but to listen to his broken heart. It underscores the critical need for immigration policy here. We also did a number of Town Hall Meetings for Justice with the goal to educate people on the implications for all of us of the Tax Law of 2017.  This law is not good for 80 percent of the people so we need to vote in people who will listen to us and change it! The most frequently heard solution was VOTE! And get your friends and families to as well!

[Sr. Betsy Van Deusen is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet-Albany]

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Remembering the American Churchwomen Martyred in El Salvador

Clockwise from top left corner: Sr. Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U.;
Sr. Maura Clarke, M.M.;Jean Donovan; and Sr. Ita Ford, M.M.
(Photo Courtesy of the Maryknoll Mission Archives)
By: Joan L. Roccasalvo, CSJ

On December 21980, four American Catholic churchwomen and missionaries were tortured, raped, shot, and murdered in El Salvador by National Guardsmen of the military-led government there.

Two of the women, Sisters Ita Ford, M.M. and Maura Clarke, M.M., ages 40 and 49, respectively,  were members of the Maryknoll Missionary Order. Sister Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U., age 41, belonged to the Ursuline Order (Cleveland, OH), and Jean Donovan, 27, a lay missionary, was Sister Dorothy's associate. In the spirit of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the women served the poor training catechists, preparing programs, and caring for the many practical necessities of daily life for those unable to care for themselves. As with the Archbishop, they had been under close surveillance by the government.  

Events Leading Up to the Murders

The chilling events leading up to the murders were carried out quickly, decisively, and with savage brutality, the essence of assassinations. Here is an account of those events.

December 2: Sometime after 9 PM

The two Maryknoll churchwomen, Ita and Maura, were returning to El Salvador from a two-month regional conference in Managua, Nicaragua. Dorothy and Jean drove to meet them at the airport.  They were driving a white van. The flight was scheduled for arrival at 9:11 PM. Shortly thereafter, the four left the airport, headed down the main road, homeward bound. 

Five uniformed assassins, who had changed into civilian clothes, waited for the women in the stealth of night. About fifteen miles from the airport, the attackers stopped the white van and directed the women toward a semi-secluded location. There they carried out the well-planned orders of their commander. The massacred bodies lay naked and exposed at the side of the road. 

Locals who saw the white van only later reported that they had heard machine-gun fire followed by single shots. "The five men fled the scene," reported the locals. "The lights in the van were on, the radio blaring. The van was then set on fire at the side of the airport road."

December 3: Early Morning

Some local residents found the women's bodies. The authorities, a judge, three members of the civil guard, and two commanders, forced the men to bury the women in a nearby common grave. The local men obeyed, but they informed their parish priest Father Paul Schindler of the murders. He himself had inquired about Jean and Sister Dorothy. News of the assassinations was dispatched to the local Catholic bishop and to the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White. It was the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary saint.

December 4

The bodies were exhumed in the presence of fifteen reporters, other missionaries, and Ambassador White. Sister Madeline Dorsey, M.M., from a nearby mission and an eyewitness, described the scene in her own words: "Then came the painful extraction of the four piled one on top of the other. Jean was the first, her lovely face destroyed. Dorothy had a tranquil look. Maura's face was serene but seemed to utter a silent cry, and last little Ita. I went forward to wipe the dirt from her cheek and placed her arms at her side. We Sisters fell to our knees in reverence."

December 5: A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated by Bishop Arturo Rivera y Damas.  

December 6 

On the next day, the bodies of Jean Donovan and Sister Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U. were flown back to the United States for proper burial. In keeping with the tradition of the Maryknoll Missionaries, the bodies of Sisters Ita Ford, and Maura Clarke were buried at their mission in Chalatenango, El Salvador.


In 1984, four national guardsmen were convicted of the massacre and were sentenced to thirty years in prison. Their immediate superior was also charged and convicted of the murders. Some of these were subsequently released from prison.  

Sister Ita Ford's brother William, an attorney,  has spent more than twenty-five years in the U.S. court system attempting to obtain justice for his sister and the other slain women. A legal battle has ensued to have these men brought to the United States. The case is not as yet resolved. 

Who Were These Churchwomen?

Jean Donovan, raised in an upper-middle-class home, was educated in fine schools. On completion of her master’s degree in business from Case Western Reserve University, she took a position as a management consultant in Cleveland. Though engaged to a young physician, she felt the call to volunteer for youth ministry with the poor. After completing her training as a lay missionary at Maryknoll, NY, she went to El Salvador in 1977 with Sister Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U.  

Sister Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U. first taught in Cleveland and then did missionary work among the Papago Tribe in Arizona. She joined the mission team of the Diocese of Cleveland. Both she and Jean Donovan worked in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Dorothy was known as "an alleluia from head to toe." She and Jean worked not far from the mission of the Maryknoll Sisters in El Salvador.

Sister Ita Ford, M.M. was the cousin of Bishop Francis Xavier Ford, M.M., the first of a long line of seminarians to apply to the newly-established Maryknoll Fathers, founded in 1911. He went to China as a missionary and in 1952 was martyred in a Communist prison camp. Before entering the Maryknoll Missionaries, Ita was taught by religious sisters from three institutes: the Visitandine Sisters, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Prior to entering the convent at Maryknoll, Ita worked as an editor in a publishing company for seven years. As a missionary, she served in Bolivia, Chile, and finally in El Salvador.

Sister Maura Clarke, M.M. was the oldest of the four slain churchwomen. She had spent seventeen years in Nicaragua working against the dictatorship there and was assigned to El Salvador only months before her death. "If we leave the people when they suffer the cross, how credible is our word to them?" she wrote only weeks before her death. "The Church's role is to accompany those who suffer the most, and to witness our hope in the resurrection."

St. Oscar Romero and Fr. Rutilio Grande, S.J.  (Photo courtesy
of Tenquique503 [CC BY-SA 4.0
from Wikimedia Commons)
The Martyr, Saint Oscar Romero

The murders of the women missionaries occurred some ten months after the assassination of Archbishop, now Saint Oscar Romero in 1980 by a similar death squad, and Father Rutilio Grande, S.J. in 1977. Romero was celebrating Mass in March of 1980 and just as he completed a homily on the government's oppression and civil rights violations against the poor when he was shot and killed. 

The churchwomen were one with Archbishop Romero who, shortly before his martyrdom, declared: "Let it be quite clear that if we are being asked to collaborate with a pseudo-peace, a false order, based on repression and fear, we must recall that the only order and the only peace that God wants is one based on truth and justice."

Like the Archbishop, Jean, Dorothy, Ita, and Maura were martyred for their faith. Like Saint Oscar Romero, the women are worthy to have their cause opened for canonization. As martyrs, two miracles would be waived since they died "in perfect charity."

Civil War 1979-1992

In October 1979, a coup d'état brought the Revolutionary Government Junta to power. It nationalized many private companies and took over much privately owned land. Nearly 50 percent of the Salvadorans are Roman Catholic. On December 2, we remember and honor these four churchwomen, missionaries, and martyrs. We pray to Sisters Ita Ford, MM, Maura Clarke, MM, Dorothy Kazel, OSU, and Jean Donovan. Let us anticipate their beatification. Did they not hold the palm of martyrdom in their hands?

[Joan L. Roccasalvo, CSJ is a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood]

Monday, November 19, 2018

Sr. Janet Kinney Reports from Nuns on the Bus

By: Sr. Janet Kinney

Travel Log: Rep. Comstock Lobby Visit

Sr. Janet Kinney address a crowd in North Philadelphia.
(Photo Courtesy of NETWORK)
Today we are making our last stops as we round out this week ‘on the road’ speaking about Tax Justice on our Truth Tour across the country.

We left Delaware and after a 3-hour ride arrived at the office of Representative Barbara Comstock (VA-10).  While Rep. Comstock voted against Speaker Ryan’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act, she has also voted to remove some of the provisions of this act that will affect thousands of people who rely on their health care plans to remain healthy and receive much-needed care. Rep. Comstock also voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which has not provided the tax benefits and wage increases promised to the average person, as it was designed to benefit the upper 1 % and major corporations. Already we have heard that this country has lost over $160 billion in tax revenue this year alone because of the passing of this legislation! And now Senate Leader Mitchell McConnell says we will have to cut our social programs – Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other programs – to make up for the deficit!

Sr. Janet Kinney (fourth from left) with the novices and
directors of the CSSJ Federation Novitiate program.
(Photo Courtesy of Sr. Janet Kinney)
I accompanied Sister Simone Campbell and Sister Richelle Friedman on a lobby visit with John O’Donoghue, who works on tax and healthcare issues for Representative Comstock. We also were accompanied by Angie Voyles of the Little Lobbyists; Jim Vollmer, an SEIU member; and Yolanda, a representative of CASA Maryland.

Angie spoke movingly about her daughter Anna who is medically fragile and was born at 25 weeks, along with her twin brother. Anna has a tracheostomy, feeding tube, cerebral palsy, metabolic bone disease, as well as a few other debilitating conditions and relies on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to receive the care that she needs. Angie became Anna’s mom when she was 2 months old and officially adopted her at age 2. Her daughter has had many medical emergencies and, because of her husband’s career in the military, they were flown to DC to get Anna needed care because their hometown hospital in Arkansas had run out of the resources needed to treat her conditions.

Despite the odds, Anna has grown, has started walking and talking, and is attending school! She is able to attend school due to her access to a home healthcare nurse provided by the Medicaid Waiver program. Angie and her husband are so fearful that the provisions currently being suggested to revise Medicaid will harm the services that help her daughter every day.

Nuns on the Bus rally. (Photo Courtesy of NETWORK)
We tried to impress upon Rep. Comstock’s staff that her advocacy in Congress for her constituents and families like Angie’s was critical to their wellbeing. Unfortunately, we received only a message that Mr. O'Donoghue would pass along our concerns to the Representative. When we shared statistics and data supporting our concerns made public by the Congressional Budget Office with him, we were questioned on the accuracy of our data!

After the lobby visit, we had a rally outside Rep. Comstock’s office with a rousing group of her constituents who also shared that she has never had a town hall to listen to their concerns in her two terms in office, and they have experienced roadblocks every time they try to meet with her. This was discouraging to hear!

Angie’s story and many other stories like hers, I have heard over and over during our trip this week.

These are the voices that need to be lifted up and shared with our legislators and one another, so that we vote for persons who represent "We the People." I am praying that we have record turnout at the voting booths this November 6th. United together we can make this happen!

Travel Log: Morristown

The "Nuns on the Bus." Sr. Janet Kinney is pictured
kneeling on the right side. (Photo Courtesy of
Today was another early day for the nine sisters and NETWORK staff who are traveling on the Bus this week.  Each day begins with contemplative prayer in Simone’s room, where the sisters sit in quiet and listen to the stirrings within our hearts, recalling the people we met the prior day. After a period of extended quiet, we lift their intentions, mingled with our own and then one by one, share the fruits of our contemplation. Part of the program the prior evening was an illustrative example acted out by the sisters of how the tax cuts impact real people. One sister shared in this morning’s prayer about a conversation with a woman who came up to her afterward and said, "I am the Nicky you spoke about. I live in HUD housing and I am so fearful that if cuts are made to the social net programs I use and need, I will lose my apartment." As the sister gazed into her face she saw a middle-aged woman of pallid complexion, simply dressed who was doing the best she can, day by day, yet living on the edge and carrying all the uncertainty that this stark reality brings to her life.

We ended our prayer, gathered our suitcases and stepped onto the bus, fortified by our faith, called to be bearers of hope to those we will meet each day. Leaving Seneca Falls a little after 8 am, our first two stops were lobby visits with Representative Tenney (New Hartford) and Representative Faso’s (Kingston) offices. Sister Betsy shared these experiences in her blog for that day.

As evening dusk began to fall, we arrived in Morristown, New Jersey. Our hosts were the parishioners of Church of the Redeemer. We were greeted warmly by Reverend Cynthia Black and introduced to Mayor Tim Dougherty. We shared a meal with the parishioners in the parish hall, where we were told that they serve over 70,000 meals to individuals and families in need in their community. Rev. Black shared that their church was founded by the Abolitionists; they are also a "Green Faith sanctuary."

After dinner, we moved to the church for the program.
Sr. Janet Kinney speaking at a Nuns on the Bus stop
at a church in Delaware. (Photo Courtesy of

Simone gave a brief introduction to the trip, but the real purpose of this evening’s program was a live podcast interview with Jesuitical, which is sponsored by America Magazine. Zac Davis and Ashley McKinless from America moderated the conversation with Sr. Simone and Sr. Richelle Friedman, another “Nun on the Bus." Sr. Simone and Sr. Richelle shared moving stories from the road trip and explained why the Republican tax plan is so devastating to over 60% of the country’s population, encouraging all to get out the vote for the midterms. After the podcast concluded, all gathered were invited to sign pledge cards and move outside to sign the bus. It was a beautiful moonlit night – Rev. Black "signed the bus" with a Church of the Redeemer bumper sticker with this slogan: "supporting the separation of church and hate since 1852."

Clearly, all that we heard and experienced from these parishioners embodied these words.

After the podcast, all participants moved outside to sign the bus. We were provided hospitality by the Filipino sisters at their Filipini Villa Walsh, a 100 + acre campus which includes an all-girls academy, grades 7-12. Sister Ascenza and Sister Alice greeted us and after showing us our rooms, we gathered briefly to give gratitude for the people we have met and the graces we have received.

I am humbled by these experiences and enriched by the desire of so many good people in this country who truly want to be a caring community for others, in contrast to the negative rhetoric and policies that are being implemented by the current administration. This trip is all about bringing hope to those who are discouraged by all that they are seeing happening in our country.
Sr. Janet Kinney (Photo Courtesy of NETWORK)
I am richly blessed for these days shared with my sisters and those we have met on the road to Mar-a-Lago.

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on NETWORK's website. You can see more Nuns on the Bus posts at and follow them on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

[Sr. Janet Kinney is a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood. She is the executive director of the Partnership for Global Justice, a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations.]