Source: Vatican Media/Nuns on the Bus
After the midterm elections in the United States this week, one notable result was a surge in the number of women elected to Congress. Sister Simone Campbell, leader of the 'Nuns on the Bus' Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, said they hope this will bring a new perspective to government.
A record 118 women from both parties have been elected to serve in Congress, bringing the share of women legislators to at least 22 percent. Sister Simone pointed out that, for the first time, approximately 40% were women of colour, two are Native American and two are Muslim.
She said they also come from a wide diversity of professions: "including teachers, small business owners, women who have been involved in women's rights issues, lawyers with a family perspective."
"It's really a diverse group bringing other powerful views to the legislative process. I think American people are going to be better represented for it" she says.
Asked whether she thinks the 'Nuns on the Bus' network lobby had an impact on the vote, Sister Simone says: "I think we helped!"
She said the nuns did 12 lobby visits during the bus trip, and during that trip some members of the congress were defeated while others - with policies that are more focused on the needs of family, healthcare and a better tax policy - came to the fore.
"It's clear that the bus helped! We can't claim credit for all of it" she says.
"We know that lifting up the issues of the common good - of what Pope Francis talks about - about caring for those most at the margins" is a powerful message that really engages the public.
"Our public is hungry for his message so I think in that way we were a help in this election."
The tour, 'On the Road to Mar-a-Lago' included 54 events in 21 states over the course of 27 days. It aimed to hold members of Congress accountable for their votes on the 2017 Tax Bill and the many attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act
Sister Simone said the trip was a powerful time for the sisters on the trip and for the staff that assist them. "Every day, we gathered for prayer, for silent reflection and then shared a prayer or reflection on the day ahead or on the people we met. We grounded it all in Pope Francis' writings, especially the ones on holiness."
His exhortation on holiness, Sister Simone adds, was at the heart of the tour: "he talks about how holiness is grounded in boldness and passion, it is grounded in community, in perseverance…it's those qualities that are necessary for staying engaged in the political reality."
Ultimately, Sister Simone said: "What it did for us, was to renew my spirit and the spirit of the sisters we were with. It was a quite a powerful experience of community in a broad national trip."
Read more about Nuns on the Bus here: https://networklobby.org/bus2018/
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