Read: A Nun on the Bus

Arts & Culture
By Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S. (HarperOne, 2014)

Sister of Social Service Simone Campbell offers an exhilarating narrative of her remarkable life journey to date. The vibrant cover photo visually shouts “adventure,” but the book is not intended to be an entertaining tale of nuns having a lark on a “wrapped” bus. Readers will find it to be a reel of heart-warming, soul-saddening, politically revealing episodes. They are saturated with faith, courage, and unsparing dedication to the unmet socioeconomic needs of our nation’s underclasses.

In the wake of national publicity for Nuns on the Bus, a truly American event in the summer of 2012, Campbell invites readers to hop aboard her bus and vicariously share the unrolling panorama of her life’s story. With a multiplicity of stops and layovers in between, the itinerary takes its passengers from her California convent to the nation’s capital, the 2013 Democratic National Convention, and beyond.

From start to finish, this is a story of Campbell’s companions on her life trip: her religious sisters, her coworkers, civic leaders, members of organizations, and various and sundry other contributors to the success of her endeavors. It is also about the many wonderful, hurting, caring, generous, working poor: “ordinary” people for whom the sisters care so deeply and for whom they work so relentlessly.

Conspicuous by their absence are “the usual suspects” in the Vatican. Yet readers will see how—in splendid irony—they unwittingly made a huge contribution to the success of the Nuns on the Bus project.

This book captures glimpses of the tireless social and political activities of contemporary nuns—Campbell being an exemplar. Her energy is fueled by prayer and meditation, her confidence is from faith and trust in God, and her obedience is willingness to follow the Holy Spirit—whom she fully trusts as the GPS for her bus.


This article appeared in the July 2014 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 79, No. 7, page 43).