Was Tim Kaine "Ruined for Life"?

From humble beginnings 60 years ago in south-central Alaska, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps has grown to become the largest lay Catholic full-time volunteer program in the world. Committing themselves to the four core values of JVC---spirituality, simple living, community and social justice---young volunteers, most of them recent college graduates, spend a year (or two, or three) living together, and working with and for the poor and needy in over 40 US cities and 6 countries around the world.

FJVs (former Jesuit volunteers) often laughingly refer to having been "ruined for life" by the experience*. By "ruined for life" they mean that the experience wrought such a profound change within them that it changed---in many cases permanently and for the better---the direction of their lives.

One of those FJVs is Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine who is now the Democratic candidate for vice-president. Kaine spent some time in 1980-81 as part of the JVC community in El Progreso, Honduras.

I'd be curious to know if there are any FJVs and/or Virginians who can offer any perspective on Sen. Kaine and the extent to which his JVC experience may have shaped his career in public office.  (We can also use this as an open thread for reactions to Sen. Kaine's nomination.)

Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons. 

Also by this author
America's First Slavery Museum

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads

Politics
Culture
Books