Volunteers Serve in Many Ways

Aaron Wise (2021), at work at KC CARE Health Center

By Tim Deveney, Precious Blood Volunteers Director

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, speak at the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Teach-in for Social Justice. Fr. Boyle said we need to not “settle for just shaking your fist, roll up your sleeves to create the place where we cherish each other with every breath.” Over the last 10 years, I have seen Precious Blood Volunteers do exactly this. 

Precious Blood Volunteers is a ministry of the United States Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Our volunteers serve at one of our placements in Kansas City or Chicago.

They are formed in Precious Blood spirituality by living in intentional community, walking with people who are suffering, and seeking reconciliation. 

The program was created in 2008 by the Kansas City Province. Marie Trout, then director of Companions, and Fr. Al Ebach, C.PP.S., came up with a plan to give an opportunity for lay people to live in service to others for a year as a part of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

Thomas (front), Michael, Mike, and Allison (2020) at Orientation at Precious Blood Renewal Center in Liberty

Since that time we have had volunteers serving people at Catholic schools, health clinics, social service centers, a hospital, an LGBTQ service center, parishes, a legal aid clinic, and at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. Our volunteers have gone on to careers in medicine, education, nonprofit management, ministry and engineering. 

The volunteers who serve with us are often right out of college, but we have had people in other stages of their lives, including people in their 30s, 60s and 70s.

Our volunteers have served in a variety of roles, including teaching, mentoring, tutoring, campus ministry and coaching at Cristo Rey Kansas City High School. In Chicago at PBMR, our volunteers have worked in arts and music programs, tutoring, the woodshop, the garden, and in peace circle training. 

At Bishop Sullivan Center in Kansas City, our volunteers have helped in the food pantry, run the free restaurant, and assisted people needing help paying their utility bills. We have had volunteers serve as medical assistants at KC Care Health Center, which serves anyone regardless of their ability to pay for care.

Brooke Buth (2018) with a student at Cristo Rey KC

I am excited about what we have coming for the next volunteer cycle. Currently we have four young people committed to serving with us and we are working on finding a few more to round out the 2023–24 cohort. 

The volunteer cycle starts in late July with our orientation retreat at the Precious Blood Renewal Center (PBRC) in Liberty, Mo. During orientation, our new volunteers learn more about the Precious Blood spirituality and charism, have time to reflect on what they are being called to in their service, and better understand the expectations we have for them in their work and community life. 

Each month they will participate in spirituality/justice nights, when volunteers share the blessings and challenges of the work they are doing. We hope to have people from throughout the Precious Blood Community lead these meetings. 

Our volunteers also participate in two retreats and have other opportunities for spiritual growth. The mid-year retreat is scheduled for

Lina Guerrero (2018) with Sister Donna at PBMR

February in Chicago. At that retreat, our Kansas City based volunteers see where our Chicago-based volunteers serve and live. The mid-year retreat’s focus is seeing where God has worked in their lives over the first half of their term of service and to help them develop a focus for the last few months. 

The second last retreat is the end of year at PBRC. At this retreat, volunteers reflect on how God has worked in their lives over their term of service and to see how they want to carry forward what they have experienced. We will help our volunteers find a spiritual director if they seek it out. 

We would love to have your help in supporting our volunteers and the program in general. The most important item on the list is praying for them. Many of our volunteers have told me they felt the prayerful support of the Precious Blood community. 

Vincent Tedford (2021) working with a student at PBMR

Another way to support the volunteers is to send them cards or emails letting them know you are praying for them. If you’re in Chicago or Kansas City, you can invite them to your home for dinner, take them out for a meal or coffee, or invite them to share their experiences at a Companions gathering or Community night. If you have a background in spiritual direction or companionship you can serve as a spiritual director for one of our volunteers. 

You can follow along with what is happening with Precious Blood Volunteers by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Tim Deveney is the director of Precious Blood Volunteers. Go to preciousbloodvolunteers.org to learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers. 

Steps on the Journey

By Tim Deveney, Precious Blood Volunteers Director

I have traveled a fair bit during the last 18 years, so I have my packing routine down pretty well. I have different routines for different types of trips. When I pack for recruiting trips to college campuses, I pack pants, button-down shirts, a dressy pair of shoes, and ties for when I’m feeling a bit saucy. If I’m heading to Chicago to visit our volunteers, I’m more of a nice shirt and jeans type of guy. I know to check the weather in every destination I’m going to. It always amazes me how different the weather can be between Chicago and South Bend.

Traveling requires me to think through some of the possible contingencies. Where do I stay that is both comfortable and responsible with the resources the United States Province trusts me with? What’s the best route? Do I really want to pay the tolls to get to Notre Dame, or should I take an extra half-hour on the road to avoid the tolls? Should I rent a car or trust my skills in navigating public transportation? Do I have child care for my kids in the mornings before school? How am I going to get to and from the airport? (Thanks to my mother-in-law and father-in-law for regularly taking care of those last two items.)

Even with all the planning, there is a lot I cannot control. The traffic in Chicago is always a wild card. The places I stay might not be comfortable or quiet (There’s a loud rooster that lived near our volunteers in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago!). There are usually some unique experiences, sights to see, or new food. I learned about the glory of kolaches thanks to former volunteer Lina Guerrero’s parents in Austin, Texas. I have met some amazing people, some of whom I now count as confidants and friends.

Sometimes there are unexpected difficulties that come up. There are times when I feel tired and have to force myself to take that next step. I have been to recruiting fairs that no students show up to, leaving me with two to four hours of thinking about all the other work I have to do and the burden that my family is bearing because I’m traveling. At visits to our placement sites, I have to have unexpectedly difficult conversations with our volunteers or our placement contacts. Those conversations occasionally involve me having to dive really deep into how I am working with those people.

In November, I traveled to Florida for the Catholic Volunteer Network annual conference. It was our first in-person meeting since 2019. During the conference, one of the participants shared the poem “For Those Who Have Far to Travel” by Jan Richardson during an opening prayer. It’s a meditation on the journey of the Magi. It offered me a much different perspective on the journey the wise men took. She opens her poem:

If you could see
the journey whole,
you might never
undertake it,
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.

The story of the Epiphany only appears in Matthew’s Gospel. The “wise men from the East” only appear briefly in Matthew’s infancy narrative. The author of Matthew’s Gospel gives them only two more sentences than Joseph, whose silence makes the wise men seem verbose. The unnumbered group undertakes a journey whose destination they do not know.

They appear in Jerusalem to get directions. When they arrive in Bethlehem, they give their gifts to Jesus and offer him homage. They renege on their promise to Herod after having dreams in which angels warn them Herod’s intentions are not good. They end up going home a different way. They are a group of people who appear quietly in Matthew’s Gospel, and after giving their gifts and offering homage to Jesus, they just as quietly disappear.

What was their journey like? What did they pack? What new foods did they taste? Who were the people (besides those in Herod’s court and the Holy Family) they met on their journey?

How did they feel on their journey home? Did they feel the exhilaration of getting a glimpse of God’s love, or did they feel let down that God’s glory was in a child born to a young peasant woman and a carpenter instead of in a palace? Were their lives changed by their journey and those they met at their destination? How did they push through when they were tired, thirsty, or hungry?

We are all on journeys, maybe not as profound as the wise men, but journeys nonetheless. Our community is on a journey of discernment and discovery of how we are to witness Christ’s reconciliation in the world. Ultimately, this is a journey of love, inspired by the love of a God who gave us his Son to bring peace, mercy, justice, and truth. The road is hard, but like the wise men, we need to continue on even if we do not know the steps ahead of us. We probably do not even know the place we are going to! Throughout it all, we need to trust the slow work of God and be open to God’s love being revealed to us in unusual ways.

Tim Deveney is the director of Precious Blood Volunteers. Go to preciousbloodvolunteers.org to learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers. 

This article originally appeared in the January 2023 edition of “The New Wine Press.”

Excerpt from “For Those Who Have Far to Travel” © Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons. Used by permission. janrichardson.com

Reconciling with God’s Creation

Sunflowers in bloom at Precious Blood Renewal Center

by Tim Deveney, Precious Blood Volunteers Director

Following an unusually hot spell in September, we were blessed with more normal temperatures in Kansas City. It’s been a lot nicer to take my post-lunch walk around the grounds of the Precious Blood Renewal Center. I love walking over on the southeast side of the lake. The gravel path follows the grassland that was planted a few years ago, ringed by an ample number of trees.

The seasons reveal different new glories as the growing season moves forward. The spring reveals the greenish blue of the native grasses. These are followed by coneflowers of different hues. In August and September, the sunflowers extol the glory of God with their yellows ringing rich black. Then the goldenrod takes its turn to show off. The natural beauty of this prairie and forest is in stark contrast with the noise of the interstate and the looming gray ugliness of the newly built warehouse just across the parkway.

One day when I was walking along this path, it struck me that by devoting this section of land to native plants, we are engaging in an act of recon- ciliation with God’s creation. A good chunk of the land we are entrusted with at the Renewal Center is devoted to trees and grasslands. These native prairie grasses and flowers are beautiful and surprisingly resilient. Most important, they do great work in offsetting some of the worst actions we have taken to hurt the Earth and God’s creation that inhabits it. These grasslands do not require the hours of mowing by machines that consume fossil fuels and produce localized pollutants and noise.

Coyote at Precious Blood Renewal Center

This rewilded area supports a biodiverse area for plants and animals. The grasses, flowers, and trees provide expanded habitat for bugs and a surprising number of animals. Since that part of the Renewal Center grounds was converted from lawn to prairie, there has been a notable increase in the fauna there. It is not unusual to see deer, turtles, snakes, coyotes, and birds of all kinds.

These native grasses, flowers, and trees reduce the impact of localized and regional flooding and erosion. They do this by absorbing rainwater into the ground through their own water needs and channeling water deeper into the ground through their extensive root systems. They also do a more effective job of holding topsoil in the ground than lawn grasses do. These plants can help filter out some manufactured contaminants before they reach surface water.

In addition, these plants effectively absorb greenhouse gasses, which Project Drawdown, an organization working to stop human-caused climate change, describes as a “carbon sink.” They do this much better than a manicured lawn.

Reconciling with the Earth is a small act of reconciliation. It should be a part of broader efforts by all of us as individuals, as a Precious Blood community committed to renewal and reconciliation, to care for our common home and a reframing of how we view and treat it.

Pope Francis writes in “Laudato Sí” that “[Mother Earth] cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” He continues: “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”

He challenges all of us even more firmly with quotes from Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew “for human beings … to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life—these are sins” since “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and sin against God.”

Embracing this challenge requires us to have a change of heart. Pope Francis cites his predecessor Pope Benedict in a call to find the way of love, which is moving from our own individual wants and desires to what God’s world needs. This means liberating ourselves from fear, greed, and compulsion.

Changing our hearts should lead us to deeper reconciliation with our common home and each other. Action should follow our turning away from the sin against nature. Our actions need to include reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants by using less and becoming more energy efficient. Better efficiency can be achieved through technological tools that include renewable sources of energy and technologies such as higher efficiency light bulbs and means of transportation.

Monarch butterflies on wildflowers at Precious Blood Renewal Center

However, we are not going to be able to use technology to get us out of this crisis. A major part of this is reordering our lives to use less. It means shaping our communities in ways that reduce dependence on automobiles and prioritize walking, bicycling, and public transportation. It will require us to think about how much waste we produce through non-reusable items and other consumer goods that have short useful lives that end up in landfills or as litter. We will need to think about our food systems that produce a great deal of waste and greenhouse-emitting byproducts. The waste from spoilage of food is especially troubling since a good deal of that could go to feeding people.

Our overuse of land for agriculture and other commercial purposes also takes away from wild areas. These wild environments, on a larger scale than what is happening at the Renewal Center, need to be protected and expanded. Wild areas are wonderful carbon sinks. They are our best way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses currently in our atmosphere. They have the added benefit of protecting and promoting biodiversity, while ensuring the longevity of our sources of freshwater.

Tim Deveney is director of Precious Blood Volunteers and a member of the US Province’s Justice and Peace Committee

Volunteer Commitment Is Transformative Experience

Kara McNamara

By Kara McNamara, Precious Blood Volunteer Alumna

I have always been an avid reader. One of my favorite books is “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. When I first read it in high school, I was focused on the dramatic romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester at the center of the Gothic story. Over the years, as I’ve revisited the book, other important themes emerged: autonomy, social class, the hospitality of strangers, mental health, and morality. I have been delighted by the ways in which a story can continue to have new meaning, even when the words remain the same. Every time I read the story, I am different and the lens through which I view it changes.

Kara and fellow PBV, Leah on the Navajo Nation

The same is true for the meaning and impact of my time as a Precious Blood Volunteer! I have enjoyed the presence of Precious Blood people and Precious Blood spirituality in my life for nearly 10 years. It amazes me that what started as a six-month commitment as a volunteer on the Navajo reservation has become a formative, transformative experience and way of looking at the world. In that time as a volunteer, I learned so much about myself, spirituality, ministry of presence, and the inherent dignity of the human person. Ten years later, I continue to pursue growth in those areas and to find connections in my everyday life now, long after I left Crownpoint, New Mexico.

This formational time as a volunteer and the resulting connections with Precious Blood members and Companions taught me to recognize and follow “the cry of the blood.” That cry felt (and still feels) like a personal and irresistible invitation from God to be present to the needs of others.

I followed that call into working with youth in the nonprofit sector for several years before returning to graduate school for a master’s degree in counseling. It was obvious to me that in order to further pursue the call to support and serve others, I had some things to learn! I worked as a high school counselor for a few years, and with my professional focus on mental health and trauma-informed care for my students, I truly felt that the tenets of the Precious Blood Volunteer program to walk with those who suffer and to build community lived on in my work. The high school where I worked also implemented restorative practices, and I was extremely interested in the pursuit of reconciliation in that context.

“It amazes me that what started as a six-month commitment as a volunteer on the Navajo reservation has become a formative, transformative experience and way of looking at the world.”

Kara with her husband, Jack, and their daughter, Clare

This interest led me to my current work for the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition, which provides training and support to those who minister to people affected by incarceration or detention. I am the communications manager for the organization, which means it is my work to invite people to discover their own call to seek reconciliation, be present to the needs of others, and work for justice.

In doing this work, I truly have felt the ordinary transform into the sacred. I may be working away on a laptop at home, but I am listening to the needs of people, I am helping to train the next generation of prison ministers, and I am working toward the creation of a justice system that upholds the dignity of every human person. It has been simultaneously grounding and energizing.

As an added bonus, after years of following the impact of the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, I enjoyed the experience of learning from Fr. David Kelly and Sr. Donna Liette through two (excellent) CPMC webinars earlier this year. I am grateful to have a job that aligns my personal values and sense of vocation with my professional tasks.

The story continues. I am grateful for the day I thumbed through the Catholic Volunteer Network catalog and found an opportunity that has brought so much good to my life. I never could have guessed all the joy and community that has flowed from that experience, including the sense of joy and community that is present in my personal life. I married my husband Jack four years ago with Fr. Al Ebach, C.PP.S., presiding. When we welcomed our sweet daughter Clare into the world this summer, we did so knowing that so many others were celebrating with us.

I am so grateful that God connected my story with this community and charism.

“We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence.”

-Charlotte Brontë, “Jane Eyre

Kara served in 2013 as a Precious Blood Volunteer at St. Paul Catholic Church in Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo Nation. She now works for Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition. Go to preciousbloodvolunteers.org to learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers. 

Holding on to Joy

2021-2022 Precious Blood Volunteer, Raechel Kiesel

By Raechel Kiesel, Precious Blood Volunteer alumnus

On August 13, we celebrated the annual Bud Billiken Parade here on the south side of Chicago. Not only is it an incredible show of dance, creativity and talent, but it is the largest African American parade in the United States! For generations, families from around the country have participated in this celebration of Black joy, youth and education.

As I watched clips from the parade, I was once again struck by the radiant and powerful resilience of our Black community here in Back of the Yards and Englewood, and communities far beyond. As I watched generations dancing together—young people alongside elders—I thought of their ancestors, whose dance of hope and resilience paved the way to this dance of today. Even in the midst of pain and sorrow, these elders were able to hold onto the bright light of joy, and fan it enough to pass that light along.

To fan the light of the families in our PBMR community today, we recently started a new career navigation program to walk with men and women as they pursue their career goals. For years, we have worked with individuals through our workforce development team, whether that meant starting out as an apprentice in our wood shop or finding a first job with one of our supportive employers.

Raechel (far back right hand corner) with other people at PBMR’s art program

The men and women who completed those steps have been so successful that they are now looking for opportunities to grow and use all of their gifts and talents in a career, and we want to help them realize those goals.

As part of this new program, we accompany participants through the discernment process. Many are so busy working multiple jobs, taking care of kids, and staying on top of bills that they have little time to explore and decide on a long-term career path. So we ask the questions, “What are your talents? Where does the world need what you have to offer? What unique gifts do you bring to our beloved community?”

In asking those questions recently, it came out that one of our participants is interested in dance. She used to dance when she was a little girl and was very talented, but she set her dreams of dancing aside when bills, kids and responsibilities kicked in. Personally, I have very little dancing knowledge (and no dancing skill), so we went to our local expert. One of our friends at PBMR is a Zumba instructor and has even come to the center to dance with our young women. We all met up for coffee and chatted about turning dance from a passion into a career.

Our Zumba instructor friend talked about how important it is to find one’s joy and hold onto it. She spoke about being a Black woman, going through the process of identifying and processing trauma, and how much of a toll that has taken on her mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Dance brought her back into her body and allowed her to express herself in music and movement. Even in those toughest times, it was her joy.

As I listened to their conversation, I was awed by the strength of these two women sharing the pain of their trauma and how they had learned to find healing. In the light of this new friend, I witnessed a grieving mother see the hope of a new path forward that she had not imagined before. Not only could she make a career out of sharing her talent with others, but this new pursuit could be a way for her to find her joy and share it with others—a way of healing in the midst of great pain, a way of hope.

The incredible resilience of these Black women was illuminated through a simple conversation. As I spend more time at PBMR, I continue to learn what faith looks like: to have hope in the face of suffering, to dance to heal one’s pain, and to find strength in sharing joy.

My hope is that the children of these amazing women and their children’s children will have the chance to celebrate the dances that their mothers pass along. As a career coach now by trade, I also hope that they get to celebrate the wealth built up and passed onto future generations, thanks to the financial stability that a steady career can provide. But especially, as we celebrate the resilient joy that makes our community so beautiful, I hope that we dance in the hope of a bright future because of those who promote healing now to pass along to future generations.


Raechel served last year as a Precious Blood Volunteer at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago, Illinois. She now works for PBMR in their career navigation program. Go to preciousbloodvolunteers.org to learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers. Go to pbmr.org to support PBMR. 

Abundance Fills the Soul When Excess Is Stripped Away

2021-2022 Precious Blood Volunteer, Aaron Wise

By Aaron Wise, Precious Blood Volunteer

I called her name. She rose slowly from her chair in the waiting room and hobbled toward me. She gifted me an enthusiastic greeting and a labored smile, that which is socially expected for decency. We entered the exam room, and I initiated the pre-provider tasks: taking vitals, gathering medical and family histories, conducting necessary point-of-care testing, etc. 

Something appeared off. 

Clearly, something deeper ailed my patient. I asked about her day, her holiday plans, her family. I found out the upcoming Thanksgiving would be difficult for her—the first one since losing her daughter. I asked about her daughter. I experienced my sister in Christ’s delight in sharing the memories of someone she loved so dearly. She showed me a beautiful, goofy video of her with her daughter—singing, dancing, and laughing. She teared up, a paradoxical moment of sadness and joy. Her heart was broken; from it oozed the Precious Blood, a combination of both suffering and pure love.


Aaron Wise, at work at KC CARE Health Center

Small drops of blood discolored the white floor. The patient had stepped on a nail in his garage, leaving a small, deep hole in his foot. I cleaned and wrapped the wound, yet this man had little concern for his foot. 

He feared for his mind. He told me he wasn’t right—that something was wrong with his brain, that he was “messed up” in the head. He told me he’d done many drugs and other substances. He’d seen psychiatrists and been given many medications meant to help. None of them worked. He told me he would try one more thing, and if that didn’t work, he had “other arrangements” to take care of it. 

I don’t know what this man has been through in the past. I don’t know what he is going through in the present. But I do know the life of my brother in Christ means something. He has an indelible dignity, despite the ways in which the world, those around him and he, himself, asserts that he is “messed up.” 


It was 2:30 on a warm Saturday afternoon. I was driving home with two friends along Independence Avenue, a busy road in Northeast Kansas City. On a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the road was a body—just yards from my residence. 

I didn’t see it initially, but my friend insisted we return to check. People walked along the sidewalk, past the body. Several cars passed. From a distance, I got a better view of the man. His hat was thrown to the side, his body disheveled and uncomfortably positioned. One arm was raised and yellow. It was clear my brother in Christ was not breathing. 

As we approached, a lady called out from a car to inform us she had called 911. Later, she revealed she had driven by 20 minutes prior, on a delivery. She was appalled by the indifference of hundreds of people who must have witnessed a man unwell on the side of the road. A life had passed—and nobody cared to notice.


thud, thud, thud, thud, thud! It was midnight. I awoke to a cacophonous banging on our door and windows. We answered. Our neighbor frantically reported the house next to ours was on fire. We raced to the other window to witness the entire west side of the building engulfed in flames.


These are but four brief stories among hundreds I’ve experienced working at the KC CARE Health Center in midtown and living in Northeast Kansas City. Interestingly, a few similar connections underly each of these stories and the many others that remain untold. 

First, socioeconomic and racial barriers underpin each situation—access to health care, racism and discrimination, mental health stigmas, or scummy landlords who neglect their responsibility to respond to electrical issues. These injustices fall harder on minorities and those with less money. 

Second, suffering seems to be part of the human condition. There is nothing the individuals in these stories could have done to prevent their hardship. I don’t say this ignoring the role of free will. Yes, each individual may have made choices that contributed to their situations, but the options they had available were severely screened by culture and society, among several other determinants. 

Finally, God is present deeply with those who suffer. These are truths we recognize profoundly in the spirituality of the Precious Blood.

CS Lewis affirmed that heaven is an acquired taste. Jesus is my savior, and it is by His doings—not my own—that I will experience eternal life in union with God. Yet, if you were to bring me to heaven right now, I do not know if I’d like it. I still carry the taste of the world with me: pride, independence, self-servitude, sin. This contrasts with the purity and fullness of love that is heaven. However, through service and the experiences like those shared above, I’ve begun to acquire the taste of Christ. Community, simplicity, and prayer also have been formative for me during the past year.

I’ve practiced community on two levels this year: directly with those with whom I live and also with the global community. 

I live with 18 others, including two families with five children, and sharing life with them has been a beautiful joy. I experience this joy in the form of sharing meals, interests, events, and time. I have countless jubilant memories such as tennis, basketball, soccer, football, Frisbee, ice skating (I love sports), faith sharing, music, etc. 

In terms of the wider community, we focus on conservation, being involved in neighborhood and city policies, and living on a smaller income. Some of the practical aspects of this lifestyle are eating a vegetarian diet, consuming less water and electricity, composting, using a clothesline, paying attention to consumables and reusing when appropriate, and purchasing natural organic local products when available. There is a richness to sharing resources and life in this way.

Aaron with his fellow Precious Blood Volunteers in Chicago

Simplicity is a challenging ideal when we live in a chaotic world. Despite this, I still have been able to find simplicity relative to my previous student lifestyle. I live in a house without Wi-Fi and a phone signal because I strive to remove unnecessary and empty lifestyle choices. Often when we think about simplicity, we focus on what we “give up” and an image of emptiness is invoked. In practice, it is quite the opposite! Removing the superficial and unimportant gives way to a spirit of great abundance—especially in time, relationships and charity.

Finally, prayer is the cornerstone that links everything. My relationship with God has strengthened me to participate and grow in all the ways discussed and also has been strengthened through my experiences. Daily Mass is a joyous gift and receiving the Eucharist has been fuller and more transformative through walking with others as a Precious Blood volunteer.

This year has been formative as I’ve taken little steps along a lifelong journey to acquire the taste of heaven. I invite all of you to join in along the way. As echoed at Jerusalem Farm: The way is long, let us walk together; the way is hard, let us help one another; the way is Christ, Christ is the way.

Aaron served as a Precious Blood Volunteer at KC CARE Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Go to preciousbloodvolunteers.org to learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers.