NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A cross-country bus tour stopped in Nashville Thursday. Twelve nuns have gone from city, to city, with a powerful message they plan to deliver to Pope Francis.
The Pope is coming to the United States next week and the Nuns on a Bus tour will take the message of the Network, a national Catholic lobbying group, to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The bus will travel to 13 cities, in seven states, on its journey to the nation's Capitol where the Pope will speak to Congress.
"He says one of the key ways to build peace is not with theories, and ideas, but stories of real people," said Sister Simone Campbell.
The nuns have held town hall meetings in each city on the trip.
"What we wanted to do was to spread his message of inclusion across the country, so you can see our little map where we're headed," Sister Simone said. "Every place we've been we've found there are divided cities, there are divided states. I found out there's three parts to Tennessee."
Thursday morning the bus stopped at Thistle Farms in West Nashville. The nationally-recognized organization works with women in trouble, and gives them the tools needed to get their lives back on track.
"Where we'll take the story of Thistle Farms and continue sharing their story, just the way we share the stories of folks in a variety of other cities coming here," said Sister Simone.
People who agree with the nuns stance to bridge the divide in the nation signed the bus, and added their name to the message that will be delivered to the Pope.
Kimberly Stevens works at Thistle Farms. She took a black permanent marker and put her name on the bus.
"I want people, everywhere they go, to know love really does heal, and no matter what you're going through, if you get with a community of people who can help you, that you can find some healing in it," Stevens said.
Retired Catholic priest Joseph Breen stopped by to add his name to the bus. He will also travel next week to Washington, D.C. as the guest of U.S. Representative Jim Cooper. The priest will be in the gallery as the Pope addresses Congress.
Breen said he believes in the message the nuns are taking across the country.
"I know what they've been doing, and why they've been doing it, reaching out to everybody, regardless of what religion or origin," Breen said.
The bus will next stop in Evansville, In and will makes four other stops before arriving in the Capitol on Tuesday.