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Joe Biden, Nuns on the Bus

Vice President Joe Biden connected with the Nuns on the Bus tour bus during a stop last week in Des Moines.

The nun left the bus Sunday afternoon to receive the 2014 Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award.

But Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a nonprofit Catholic social justice lobby based in Washington, D.C., didn’t leave behind her Nuns on the Bus message when she spoke Sunday afternoon in Christ the King Chapel at St. Ambrose University, Davenport.

Sister Joan Lescinski, president of St. Ambrose, briefly addressed those gathered Campbell’s talk and the presentation of the award.

“We’ve never had any prop like that bus out there,” she said.

Imam H. Saad Baig, of the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities, led a prayer, and Msgr. Marvin Mottet, of the Diocese of Davenport, talked about the history of the Pacem in Terris Award.

“I’m one of the old guys who was around when it started,” he joked, adding that recipients include “six Nobel recipients and three up for sainthood. It’s a good award. I’m honored to be a part of it.” Mottet himself received the award in 2008.

Mary Bea Snyder, of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, gave a biography of Campbell, noting that Campbell practiced law for a number of years.

Martin Amos, bishop of the Diocese of Davenport, presented the award to Campbell on behalf of the Quad-City Pacem in Terris Coalition.

“You stand up for 'the 100 percent,’ striving through creative and effective campaigns to bring about economic and social transformation,” Amos said.

Her Nuns on the Bus tours, Amos said, “have raised awareness about people living in poverty and immigrants who come to America seeking to build a better life for their families.”

He said Campbell’s ministry is “rooted in faith that inspires your service to others. You remain a driving force for programs and policies that support faith, family and fairness.”

When Campbell took the podium to a standing ovation, she was visibly moved. “Now, if I don’t cry, I’ll be fine,” she said. “I’m so humbled to be on this list (of recipients).”

Peace, she said, is about having “room for everyone at the table” and giving everyone a voice. “We have to make room for everyone at the table. If we are missing one person’s voice, we cannot create a whole.”

She talked about hope as the “virtue that makes peace possible …. Hope is what keeps us going.”

Campbell is the author of “A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community” that was published earlier this year.

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.