Recently I participated in a water walk around Lake Monona. The walk was lead by Grandmother Josephine Mandami, Anishinawbe, who helped us to pray our way around the lake while carrying water from the lake some of its water. We asked Creator to send the Spirit and let the Spirit of the Water bless us. Then the walk, not a stroll, began. Less than half way around the 13 mile lake I realized that I wasn't going to make it at the clip we were going, and I joined others on the trolley provided by the walk organizers. I had lost track of my walking partner, but he had the courtesy to check on me, the sister. And so at one of the trolley stops the driver received a phone call. "Joan," he announced to all. "Joan, the nun, is she on the bus?" Up until then I was just an anonymous rider. The passengers were delighted, however, to know that they had their own "nun on the bus". I was grateful to be identified with the heroic sisters who made "Nun on the Bus" a synonym for people who care about justice for the poor.
and so being the nun on the bus I thought about the steps I need to become that participant. I have come up with a list of 10.
1. Study--learn what is happening through reading, talking to people, going places where people care about others, study history
2. Pray-- with happenings of the day
3. Grow in self-awareness-- how am I part of a culture that causes suffering?
4. IN community discern what the gospel calls us to in a current situation
5. Analyze--how systems of power are oppressing those who lack power. Do so with others who are working for justice
6. Teach-find ways to bring a community based power analysis to others
7. Speak--find words to describe what needs to be done for justice and why
8. Heal wounds--seek healing. We are all damaged by unjust systems
9. Be change agents--stand with the poor/oppressed in their struggle for justice
10. Create communities of compassion and equality
What would your list be? How would you expand or deepen this list?
Joan Duerst OP