Yesterday, Sunday, March 21, 2010, I traveled to Washington DC from Wilmington DE. I wanted to be present as the historic vote on health care reform took place. My brother Peter, a congressman from Vermont, promised me a place in the gallery.
The day was far more than I dreamed. I have a kaleidoscope of images. Arriving early I hopped on the metro at Union Station to have a brief visit with my nephew Ed, his wife and young baby. Edison was so alert and responsive, no longer the quiet newborn at my last visit.
Again I traveled by metro to the Smithsonian. This time the metro was filled with those attending the immigration rally on the Mall - one man with an American flag draped around his body; many others with signs and placards, all were making their way to that gathering.
At the Smithsonian I visited the “Women in Spirit” exhibit. This is a wonderful display of the story of women religious in the United States. More on that at another time but what I carried with me was the line. “We came to work with those on the margins…”
And I walked out of the exhibit to witness the thousands living on the margins now rallying together for immigration reform.
Another metro ride this time to the capitol. I sat next to a man from New York who had participated in the rally along with family and friends. Each had a sticker, “Faith needed for immigration reform.”
Outside, the capitol was raucous with shouting – those not supporting the health care bill and those who did. I managed to connect with Peter and spent time just shadowing him, listening to his news conferences, meeting his colleagues and experience close up what is happening behind the scenes during this historic day. Peter delighted in sharing that I was a sister and in return so many thanked us for the LCWR position. I was in the gallery listening as the debate on the bill finally began, after all those on procedure. A congresswoman from California began by thanking the religious sisters in the United States for their support. Later Peter introduced me to her and she said quietly, “We are all the Body of Christ.”
Finally it was time to leave. The taxi driver asked me if the bill had passed. I replied not yet, but they did have the votes. We talked about health care and as I got out at Union Station he thanked me for caring about people like him and health care - the people at the margins teaching me.
I arrived home in Wilmington in time to watch the actual vote. My prayer that night was Angela’s: may God who has begun this work bring it to completion.
Sr. Maureen Welch, osu