When you think of a nun, what do you think of? The idea of Nuns on the Bus seems silly. Put a bunch of nuns on a bus to promote a relevant, active, and socially just church? How can we relate to them?
And yet they were picked up by the media and were reprehended by the Vatican for being too socially oriented. They promoted a budget that would benefit the poor, held meetings with state leaders, and garnered the support of thousands of people along the way.
On July 2, the Nuns on the Bus ended their nationwide tour by holding a rally outside the Methodist building in Washington DC before going to speak with congressmen and congresswomen about a more faithful budget. In the shadow of the Supreme Court building, I stood outside amongst the growing crowd waiting for the sisters to arrive. A labor choir sang songs of praise mixed with socially just themes as it soon grew to multiple hundreds, blocking off the sidewalk and spilling into the street. People held signs showing their support for a faithful budget and sang along.
When the nuns arrived, it was like a football team running out of the tunnel prior to the start of a game. The crowd yelled cheers of support as “Eye of the Tiger” played in the background for the sisters who got off the bus. They looked startled. How could an idea of nuns touring cause such an awakening of faith organizations?
The nuns spoke about the experiences they had along the way and promoted a faithful budget, one contradictory to the budget that Paul Ryan (a Catholic) created that cut social programs. They wanted a budget that did not get balanced on the backs of the poor. They were truly fighting for the rights of the poor, the middle class, the family, the laborer, the migrant, the disabled, the minority, the woman, and all those marginalized in our society.
To me, their relevancy increased because of who they were. They are members of the Catholic Church who choose to promote the actions of Jesus, rather than what the Vatican hierarchy has stated. In a church marred by a child abuse scandal, to see a moral, social message being promoted by prominent members was refreshing. It brings new life to a church that sometimes seems distant to many young Americans.