The "Pious Union of the Precious Blood" promotes works of mercy and a spirituality united to Jesus' Passion.
Among the many “public associations of the faithful,” there exists a beautiful group who devote themselves to various works of mercy and a unique spirituality united to the Blood of Jesus Christ. They are called the “Pious Union of the Precious Blood” or “USC” for short (which stands for Unione Sanguis Christi).
What is a “public association of the faithful”?
The USC was founded in Rome in 1808 and according to its website, “The rule of life that the USC proposes to its members is summarized in the words of the Gospel: ‘No one has greater love than this: to give his life for his friends’ (John 15:13). In fact, as Jesus, the Son of God, manifested his charity by giving his Blood, so we, guided by the Holy Spirit, commit ourselves to love God and our brothers and sisters with the gift of our lives.”
One of the primary figures in the founding and promotion of the USC was St. Gaspar, who founded a society of priests called the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. According to an article on EWTN, Gaspar was deeply inspired by the Blood of Christ and it propelled him to work zealously with the poor and forgotten of society.
St. Gaspar brought devotion to the Blood of Christ out of the sanctuary and into the streets. His preaching was rooted in the saving act of Christ on the cross and so he carried the crucifix close to his heart. Indeed, the mission cross became the symbol of the newly formed community. Gaspar’s words and witness became the wings to lift the burden of sin from the hearts of his listeners. He called people to reconciliation; to restore the right relationship with God and others. The power of Gaspar’s presence and preaching was found most dramatically in his work with the bandits.
Fr. David Kelly, a Missionary of the Precious Blood, relates a similar spirituality that is lived today in the broken neighborhoods of Chicago.
We have to create communities of hope where we recognize that our lives are intertwined with one another and that what affects one, affects us all. This ethos—the interconnectedness of all—is at the heart of the spirituality that calls us to be ambassadors of reconciliation. It seems to me that at the very core—the very essence—of who we are, has to be the willingness to enter into the tension and messiness of life and witness to the power of God’s love to transform. I have to believe that is our ministry -walking faithfully into the muddled mess of life and giving witness to the transforming power of the Blood of Christ.
Besides promoting devotional practices to the Blood of Christ, members of the USC “undertake to help create a social order based on justice and peace among peoples, within the bounds of their possibilities, and individually or in groups they co-operate with every initiative of the Church and civil society to improve the life and foster the dignity of the human person.”
The group remains active today, particularly in areas of the world were the Missionaries of the Precious Blood have a strong presence.