Michael Donovan Chooses a Retirement of Helping Others on Chicago’s South Side
Michael Donovan ’75 chooses to see the best in humanity, even when it is at its worst.
As someone who witnessed the World Trade Center attack on that tragic day of Sept. 11, 2001, Donovan had no choice but to watch the horror unfold from his Manhattan IRS office just across the street from Ground Zero.
However, when he retired at age 50 after a distinguished nearly 30-year IRS career, he did have a choice. He could do pretty much whatever he wanted during his retirement years. But instead of spending his time sitting on a beach in Florida, Donovan moved to Chicago to volunteer in prison ministry and restorative justice efforts.
“I knew it was time to give back,” said Donovan of his decision to get involved in helping those involved with violence and conflict. “I absolutely felt I did not have the time while I was working to give back. I wanted something substantive, and jail ministry and working in the inner city seemed like the right thing to do.”
For the past 13 years, he spends most of his days visiting prisoners at penitentiaries around the State of Illinois, and nights helping with the Precious Blood of Reconciliation ministry in Chicago’s infamous South Side. Donovan, a devout Catholic, said he believes this is what he was called to do.