A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community

Simone Campbell, Author
Sister Simone Campbell with David Gibson. HarperOne, $25.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-227354-3
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-227356-7
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-06-227355-0
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Campbell—activist, attorney, and nun—mixes autobiography with a strong call for justice in this brisk-paced, crisp, inspiring account. Having grown up in a Catholic family in California in the 1960s, college-aged Campbell joined the Sisters of Social Service, an especially "modern" order, whose sisters were very much involved in the world. ("Aren't those the quasi nuns?" asked her mother.) Campbell earned a law degree, first practicing low-income family law, and then taking the helm of NETWORK, a Washington, D.C.-based organization of sisters promoting economic justice. Under Campbell's leadership, NETWORK advocated health care reform, work that garnered censure from the Vatican, which claimed that NETWORK was devoting too much time and energy to social justice. "Well, yes, social justice is what Catholic sisters do," Campbell tartly writes. In order to advance the organization's mission in the wake of this Vatican censure, Campbell and other nuns took a nine-state bus tour, highlighting the struggles of low- and middle-income people. Throughout this account, Campbell writes with wisdom, charity, and backbone. She offers a nuanced position on abortion, and issues a rousing call for Americans become involved in the public square. The volume is marred only by a self-indulgent appendix of rather pedestrian poems. (Apr.)
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