On February 28, Regis continued its year-long celebration of John Francis Regis Day with the help of Sister Simone Campbell. Sister Simone, Executive Director of NETWORK (a lobbying organization advocating Catholic social teaching), gained national fame as the leader of the “Nuns on the Bus.” Since 2012, this aptly-named group has toured the country advocating for various social justice issues.
Before a full-school assembly, Sister Simone reflected on her own experience “Unpacking Poverty in America”. Citing the teachings of Pope Francis, she pushed back on misconceptions about the cause of poverty. She shared many moving stories: of one woman who had lost her job while caring for her cancer-stricken daughter, another working full-time but forced to live in a homeless shelter, and of someone who had pawned off her most valuable possession in order to pay her son’s dental bill. Sister Simone posed a question—“Who are we as a nation?”—to the assembled Regians, and she encouraged them to consider how policies like a minimum wage might reflect our care for the community around us. “Christ loves all of us and challenges us to contribute to community, to make a difference,” she said.
After Sister Simone’s speech, Regis students took part in a lively question-and-answer session. The first half of the discussion centered around the minimum wage, with some Regians proposing its potential downsides. Sister Simone reminded them of the Church’s teaching that just societies ought to ensure a living wage. This thoughtful debate ended with Sister Simone’s invitation to Regians: “we need your imagination...so that everyone in our...nation can live in dignity. You, my friends, are challenged with finding the answers.”