Sister Simone Campbell, a leader of last year’s “Nuns on the Bus” tour, has signed a book deal and hopes to have it on the market in about a year.
“Pray for me, I’m terrified,” she said to laughter Thursday while speaking in the Madison area at a breakfast sponsored by the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin.
The timing of the book’s publication is intended to help shape the political debate in the build-up to the 2014 mid-term elections, she said.
That tidbit was among many I didn’t have space for in today’s print article about her visit. Others:
• Campbell said she and others are brainstorming what to do in June, the one-year anniversary of the “Nuns on the Bus” tour. That effort took nuns to nine states to criticize Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan’s federal budget proposal. One idea being kicked around is to do a second tour addressing immigration reform, which might be called “Nuns on the Border,” she said. Such a tour would take sisters not just to the Mexican border but also to other borders, such as those between states or communities — anywhere nuns could “stand at a bridge” and unite people, she said.
• In a big surprise to the 215 people assembled at the gathering, the benediction was given by the Rev. Stephen Umhoefer, pastor of Nativity of Mary Catholic Church in Janesville, where Paul Ryan attended school as a boy. Umhoefer said he baptized two of Ryan’s children before Ryan and his family transferred to another Catholic Church in Janesville. Ryan once told him he was “a little bit nervous about the way I preach,” Umhoefer said. Umhoefer said he has long been a fan of Campbell’s work and that listening to her “makes me believe the Vatican can’t touch her — these nuns are way too smart and too quick for them.” For more on Umhoefer, here's a piece about him from the Center for Media and Democracy.
• Two Catholic parishioners who believe true Catholics should not support Holy Wisdom Monastery handed out literature to that effect Wednesday afternoon at a liturgy Campbell spoke at. The monastery, in the town of Westport, once was a Catholic institution but is no longer. Its sisters now offer ecumenical services that are not recognized by the Catholic Church but retain many elements of a traditional Mass and attract many disaffected Catholics. “Catholics should not support Holy Wisdom because it is centered on a Eucharist that is not valid in the Catholic understanding,” said Elizabeth Durack, one of the women who distributed the literature. She said it was “dismaying” that Campbell agreed to speak at the monastery. More of Durack’s concerns can be found in her blog post here.