Sister Robbie Pentecost of Garrard County doesn't understand why those working in the entertainment field earn more than those we entrust with the care of our children.
"Give child care workers an above-poverty wage," she said. "The burden that they can't care for their family is overwhelming for people."
She also doesn't understand why more people don't realize casting a ballot has a direct effect on their lives.
"Too often people think their vote doesn't count," she said. "Helping them to understand that it does is one of my goals."
What she does understand is that sitting on the sidelines and complaining about all that won't change a thing. That's why she and two other Kentucky nuns will join "Nuns on the Bus," when it rolls into Louisville, Lexington and Owingsville to rally support for raising the minimum wage and getting the vote out.
"How you care for the least of our brothers and sisters reflects your faith," she said. "We want to give rise to the dignity of the least."
Nuns on the Bus is a recent campaign of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby founded in 1971 by 47 nuns. The Washington, D.C.-based group lobbies legislators for the economically disadvantaged.
The bus campaign traveled through nine states on its inaugural journey in the summer of 2012 to protest the budget cuts suggested by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, that would tear away the federal safety net for the poor.
In 2013, the campaign focused on immigration reform and expanding Medicaid. This year, the focus is a living wage and getting voters registered to the polls to counter the big money flowing into politics.
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, said this year instead of trying to persuade politicians to vote wisely, the nuns are taking the fight to the streets.
"I have come to realize that our earlier journeys were all about convincing those in power — in Washington and state capitals — that they should exercise their power in everyone's behalf," Campbell wrote in the Global Sisters Report.
"But this time, we are focused directly on the power of the people," she wrote. "This new trip is all about how we, the community of voters, have the power to create justice ourselves. It's all about democracy."
Pentecost has been a member of NETWORK for nearly all of the 30 years she has been a nun. She will only participate while the tour is in Kentucky because of scheduling limitations. She is the manager of the Christian Partner Program with the Christian Appalachian Project.
"I love empowering people," she said. "When you can empower someone, I think that is what CAP is all about."
Far too often, she said, well-meaning people from outside of Eastern Kentucky have come in with what they think is the solution to the continued poverty of the region. But she and the nuns want people to stake a claim in the process so they can map a path to solutions.
"They need to see the implications of voting," Pentecost said. "They need to get registered to vote."
The "We the People, We the Voters" tour began in Des Moines on Sept. 17, with the kickoff featuring Vice President Joe Biden. The nuns are expected to travel to nearly 40 cities on a 5,300-mile route.
In Kentucky, they will make three stops: Louisville on Oct. 1, followed by stops on Oct. 2 in Lexington at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, 120-150 North Limestone, at noon, and in Owingsville at 4:30 p.m. Pentecost will speak at the Lexington rally.
The tour has a two-fold purpose, she said.
"Everyone who is of age should be out there voting," she said. "It is part of the Catholic tradition, being a part of the political process.
"Second, is to raise the minimum wage," she said. "We affirm the dignity of work. But what are we paying the workers?"
Not everyone in the Catholic church condones what the nuns are doing. In 2012, the Vatican accused some American nuns of "radical feminism" for not aggressively promoting the church's views on abortion and homosexuality. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents a majority of nuns in the U.S., and NETWORK were censured.
Ginny Ramsey, co-founder of the Catholic Action Center and an advocate for the homeless, said she has been familiar with the NETWORK since the 1990s and admires the tenacity of the nuns and Pentecost.
"They stand for social justice for all," she said. "They bring a different level of dedication to these issues. They stood even when they have been conflicted, whether they've looked good or bad, or whether they were called names or not," Ramsey continued. "There are not many people who will still do that. I am a shadow of what they stand for."
The nuns will have a private roundtable discussion with workers, AFL-CIO, and with members of the Street Voice Council, an advocacy group for the homeless, Ramsey said. That meeting will be from 10-11:30 a.m., at the Community Inn, 824 Winchester Road, prior to the rally.
"A lot of our focus is to listen," Pentecost said.
At the rally, all local, state and national candidates and politicians are invited to speak to those gathered about the importance of voting.
The rally, which includes free food and music, is non-partisan, she said, so no campaign speeches will be allowed.
With only eight days left to register, it might be worth attending the rally to find out why you should.