God Chose You, Remember That!

Precious Blood Volunteers’ Orientation, July 2017, Leah Landry, John Lee, Hector Avitia, and Lota Ofodile


by Lota Ofodile, current Precious Blood Volunteer
There’s an old story that has been circulating in my family for years now, since I was born—the tale of how I got my name. Legend has it that my grandfather wanted to name me Raluchukwu (which means “Choose God” in my native language, Igbo) but that changed after a little conversation.
Interesting fact: I grew up being part of a small Catholic community called The Neocatechumenal Way. Each year, Andrea and his wife Francesca, a nice Italian missionary couple and the leaders of our group, would make their way down to Nigeria from Rome with a new priest and seminarian and stay for a few months. They lived right next door. (So just in case some of you, like most of my friends and colleagues at the clinic are all wondering how I am so comfortable living with Fr. Dick and Fr. Garry, it’s because I have lived with priests for years).
Andrea was in the country when I was born, and apparently, after he heard I was going to be called Raluchukwu, naturally he asked what it meant. Once he found out, he said, and I paraphrase, “You can’t choose God; he has already chosen you. You just have to remember that.” That was how Lota came about. My first name, Lotachukwu, means “Remember God”.
Funny story, right? And who knows if that’s exactly how it happened? It doesn’t matter now because I have owned it, and every time I think about that story I realize how God shows himself to us in the most unexpected ways. Sometimes, the most incredible experiences happen to us when we least expect it.
At exactly this time last year, I had just graduated college and had no idea where my life was headed. I was lost and afraid. I had no job lined up. I had applied to a few places, but nothing seemed tangible. I couldn’t apply to medical school because I owe my college some tuition and so I couldn’t get my transcripts. Being an international student, especially in Trump’s America, that was a very scary time. I had pretty much accepted that I might end up moving back to Nigeria. Then Precious Blood Volunteers happened.
Growing up in my very Catholic family, my grandfather made sure we knew that helping others, especially those less privileged than we are, was just as important as prayer and going to Mass. So naturally, after about 10 years of Jesuit secondary and college education garnished with volunteering experiences here and there, I toyed with the idea of a year of service. I had heard about the Catholic Volunteer Network from a close friend who was just completing her year of service, so I put up my profile. I wasn’t even sure which group or what location I was particularly interested in. The very next day, I got an email from Tim Deveney, the Precious Blood Volunteer Director. At first, I didn’t think too much of it, just a really good recruiter who knows his job, right? But whenever I reflect on my time here, I realize that this was just another instance of God choosing me.
When I think about my orientation week, one thing stands out: prophetic voices. I remember all of us being somewhat confused and asking Tim to clarify what “prophetic voices” meant, and it basically came down to the ways and people with which God tries to get through to us. At least that’s how I’ve chosen to interpret it. It’s the #47 bus driver who has to sit through long hours of driving the same route everyday with all kinds of interesting characters, being part of conversations she’d probably rather not have if she did not have to be there. Patience. It’s John Lee, my ex-housemate and fellow volunteer who picked out monthly challenges to make the most out of his experience and ended up starting a podcast that is currently on iTunes! (I have never met anyone so insistent and intentional about self-development) It’s one of my patients at the clinic who I’m pretty confident is/was part of a gang who came back just before leaving to say thank you for making him feel comfortable and cheering him up after he cried to me while I was taking his vitals. He was just like me! A person with feelings who cries when he gets emotional. Gratitude and oneness.
At the beginning, I was mostly concerned with what and how best I would be contributing to the people I would encounter during my service year. But this experience has turned out to be much more rewarding than I ever imagined. I have gotten to meet the most amazing set of people who are dedicated to living the best versions of themselves in the Precious Blood community. I have made tremendous strides in my personal spiritual journey. I spend most of my Sundays as part of the St. Francis Xavier Parish 10:30am Mass choir. And I will be coming out of this service year with a full-time job at the KC CARE Clinic, God willing.
I am so grateful that God has once again chosen me, to be part of this wonderful community and to have this life-changing experience. I sincerely hope and pray that all of us are more attentive to the ways in which God is continuously calling and choosing us to be better people.
(Oh, and just for the record, we stuck both with names. My birth certificate actually has Lotachukwu Raluchukwu written on it. I have two first names! LOL).
You can learn more about serving as a Precious Blood Volunteer by going to www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org 
You can learn more about our placement at KC CARE Clinic by going to https://preciousbloodkc.org/kc-care-clinic/ 

Introducing the 2017-2018 Precious Blood Volunteers: Lota Ofodile

2017-2018 Volunteer Lota Ofodile


Lota Ofodile was born and raised in Kaduna, a city in the northern part of Nigeria. She moved to the United States to attend college at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. In December 2016 Lota graduated from Canisius with a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in psychology. She will be serving at KC CARE Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri for a full year and living at Gaspar Mission House.

  • Why do you want to volunteer?

“’Service of God and others’ is a value that has been instilled in me both from my family upbringing and my Jesuit education. Therefore, I decided that I would dedicate a significant amount of my life to helping others, with very little focus on myself. Also, from my previous (short-term) volunteer experiences, I realized that I really enjoy helping people, especially if the service I am providing could significantly impact their lives in the long run.”

  • Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteers?

“I was really drawn by the mission of the Precious Blood, especially because recently, I have been struggling to improve my spirituality. At Precious Blood, I will be able to grow in faith and work on my relationship with God, while being a part of community and serving the less privileged.”

  • What are you looking forward to about your volunteer experience?

“I look forward to being a part of a family, helping to build a peaceful and loving community with the other volunteers and staff at Precious Blood. Through this experience, I hope to make a significant difference in the lives of those I serve, as well as feel more in touch with my spirituality.”

2017-2018 Volunteers Update

Former Precious Blood Volunteer, Ryan Cornelissen, tutoring a student at Cristo Rey Kansas City High School


by Tim Deveney, Director of Precious Blood Volunteers
I am excited to announce that we will have six and possibly seven new volunteers this coming volunteer cycle. They are a well-accomplished group with varied backgrounds, work experience, interests, and educational training. They will bring energy, youth, experience, and passion to the Precious Blood community and to the people they serve.
This group of volunteers will be living and working in Kansas City and Chicago serving and walking with people who have been marginalized in our society.  In Kansas City we will have volunteers serving at KC CARE Clinic, Cristo Rey Kansas City High School, and St. James Place (part of the Bishop Sullivan Center). They will live in community at Gaspar Mission House.

Jade Bowman, a former Precious Blood Volunteer, taking the vitals of a patient at KC CARE Clinic


The Chicago volunteers will serve at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR). They will be our first volunteers serving at PBMR since Bonnie Kane served there in 2011. The female volunteers will be living with the Dayton Precious Blood sisters and the male volunteer will live at the Formation House in Hyde Park.
One group of volunteers will begin their Orientation in the first week of August and the second group will participate in Orientation in September. Early in the summer we will be introducing each one of them to the Precious Blood community.
You can learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers at www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org