Nuns on the Bus visit Rochester to fight income inequality

Local News

The 2016 election has been a divisive one for many, and the drama on the campaign trail has, at times, drawn candidates away from talking about the issues.

But there’s one group travelling the country hoping to change that – the Nuns on the Bus.

While it’s a funny name, the sisters who will have traveled to 13 different states and 23 different cities by the time they finish this trip say their message is anything but funny.

“Our need is to be one community,” said Sister Donna Del Santo, of the Sisters of St. Joseph. “No matter who we are, where we come from, we’re here together.”

There’s a reason sisters on the bus made Rochester one of their many stops – the group focuses on income inequality.

“I’m shocked by the extent of the problem. We heard that over 50 percent of the children here in Rochester are living in poverty and that 70 percent of children in the school system have been affected by trauma,” Sister Simone Campbell, leader of Nuns on the Bus, said. “I mean, to me, that took my breath away.”

And they’ve seen the same staggering numbers throughout their trip, which is why they’re appealing to local, state, and national lawmakers to make change before it’s too late.

“Policies have created much of the barriers,” Sister Simone said. “The good news of that is that policies can be changed, and that’s what we’re advocating for.”

Local sisters making a similar plea say they’re glad to have help bused in, even if it’s temporary.

“They’re really helping to unify our nation,” Sister Donna said. “They’re sharing the message of mending the gap between people who have jobs and housing and healthcare and those who don’t, which are really the largest portion of our community.”

And as they collect support for change, they collect signatures as well.

“Anyone who commits to doing that, signs a pledge card to mend the gaps, and gets to sign our beloved bus,” Sister Simone said. “So that it ends up, it’s not just nuns on the bus, but it’s all of us on the bus to mend the gaps in our nation.”

If you missed signing the bus Wednesday afternoon, you can still meet the nuns on the bus Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the divinity school.

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