New Jersey’s own Jon Bon Jovi gave Philadelphia and its nationally renowned homelessness expert, Sister Mary Scullion, a special shoutout Monday in an interview with Stephen Colbert.
A few minutes into their virtual chat on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the affable host pulled out a large photo of Bon Jovi and Scullion. Colbert said he wasn’t surprised to hear that the singer spent much of the pandemic doing charity work at his nonprofit community kitchen in New Jersey, “because of who your mentor is.”
“Tell me about this woman,” Colbert said. “Spoiler alert: It’s a nun. But I love nun stories.”
“My mentor, the one and only Mary Scullion, who you should know told me she has a ‘nun crush’ on you,” Bon Jovi told Colbert. “Now I’ve heard a lot in my day ...”
The pair broke out into laughter, and Colbert shook out his overgrown pandemic locks to feign flirtation.
As he has done in the past, Bon Jovi went on to rave about Scullion, the executive director of Project HOME and a Roman Catholic nun who has been serving Philadelphia’s homeless for more than 40 years.
“Sister Mary is the Michael Jordan of the issue of homelessness,” Bon Jovi said. “I met her some 15 years ago in Philadelphia. We met when our little teeny foundation [the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation] at the time was interested in refurbishing a row home. And I really wasn’t being a wise guy but what I said was, ‘How much would it cost to refurbish the block?’”
“And she was like, ‘Who is this guy? Why is he talking like that?’” he continued. “And I was like, ‘If we could do a block, we could do a neighborhood. Who knows where this could roll?’”
In 2006, the Middlesex County, New Jersey, native started the the JBJ Soul Foundation, which focuses on mitigating homelessness, affordable housing, and hunger. Since then, the foundation has built nearly 1,000 affordable housing units, he said, and created three community restaurants and a food bank. It is due in large part, he said, to Scullion’s influence.
“We have been joined at the hip and she’s taught us everything we know," Bon Jovi said. “She’s what’s called a Sister of Mercy, so she doesn’t wear a habit, but she’s gone on from being in jail four times for helping people on the street, fighting for the homeless, to being one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential.”