'Nuns on the Bus' drive social fiscal responsibility message to Cleveland

CLEVELAND - A group of self-described socially conscious nuns packed onto a touring bus to explain to the American people how Congress spends taxpayer money. And on Tuesday, the tour came into the heart of Cleveland.

"The bus tour came up because people in the United States don't understand what's going on in Congress," said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby.

"And all they have is sound bites and we're trying to bring out some data so that people can know," Campbell said.

The group believes places like Cleveland's St. Augustine Church, which helps disadvantaged children, seniors and the disabled, despite cutbacks, should get more money from Washington.

"The preference in the House is to shift more money to the top and to really slash these social programs that are the safety net for the community," Campbell said.

"You can think of (social programs) as charity, but they are also business subsidies," Campbell said.

"They're allowing businesses to be able to pay low wages to keep prices down - we benefit from that - but their workers need to eat," Campbell said. "It's making sure that workers and families and consumers and business and government are all together in one pot. We need a good safety net."

Sister Corita Ambro is the program coordinator at St. Augustine. She said she's excited the Nuns on the Bus stopped in Cleveland.

"They're doing a marvelous thing throughout the whole country and it's helping people to understand more and more about the bills," Sister Ambro said of Congress. "People will believe (the nuns), and people will work with them."

Sister Ambro said more money should go to health care for people who need it, rehabilitation programs and aid for the mentally ill, and money for all of those things has been drastically cut in recent years since the recession.

Nuns on the Bus continues on through Ohio and eventually ends in Washington, D.C.

Before leaving Cleveland, the nuns had several other meetings, including a fundraiser called "Friend Raiser". That event was set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. Joesph Center, 3430 Rocky River Dr., Cleveland.

Read more about the touring nuns at nunsonthebus.com .

Read more about Campbell's lobby at networklobby.org .

Visit Tremont's St. Augustine Church at staugustine-west14.org .

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