BY ISN STAFF | July 11, 2022
On July 7, 2022, President Joe Biden presented Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S., former executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom along with 16 other individuals who have “made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.”
While leading NETWORK from 2004 to 2021, Sister Simone Campbell founded and led seven cross-country Nuns on the Bus tours, pioneered efforts to organize Catholics in progressive politics, and protected access to health care for millions of Americans.“I am overwhelmed and grateful for this honor,” said Sister Simone Campbell upon receiving the nation’s highest civilian award. She continued, “This award recognizes each and every advocate for justice who accepts the moral call to participate in politics to advance the common good. I am so grateful for the opportunity to lift up all of our work.”
“Sister Simone propelled NETWORK’s mission of political ministry into the national spotlight with her committed advocacy for justice,“ Mary J. Novak, NETWORK’s current executive director said after witnessing Sister Simone receive the award. “As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, the NETWORK community is overjoyed—and enlivened—to see this award bestowed on Sister Simone in a time of rising tension and threats to our democracy. Sister Simone and all of the awardees remind us of the power of possibility and hope.”
“As a longstanding partner of NETWORK and of Sr. Simone, the Ignatian Solidarity Network sends congratulations on this incredible honor,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “We are grateful for Sr. Simone’s commitment to faith and justice and her tireless work to build a world that upholds the dignity of all people.”
Sr. Simone Campbell was a 2020 recipient of the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award, honoring individuals who have demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. She was a keynote speaker at the 2012 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, and has presented numerous breakout sessions at the event over the years.
During the award presentation President Biden said, “Compassionate and brave, humble and strong, Sister Simone remains a beacon of light. She is the embodiment of a covenant of trust, hope, and progress for our nation.”