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Alison Blanchet

Loving our neighbor means getting attached

A few words from a judge ended our time with the toddler yesterday afternoon. The little boy that had been my shopping buddy, who I had packed lunch notes for and who I had prayed with every night for the last five months walked into a courthouse with me and walked out with his family. Before […]

It isn’t all about the Benjamins

Waitressing was my primary source of income in college. Anyone who has taken an order, cleared a plate or rolled silverware for a job can attest that it is not easy work. Running drinks, serving food, sweeping crumbs and trying to smile through it all will earn $2.13 an hour plus tips in South Carolina. […]

Youth put tithing in perspective as a privilege to participate

Noah and Garrett — brothers who attend middle school youth group — have started a busi­ness mowing lawns. Last week, I was talking to their older sister, Kate, about how they were doing. She shared that they were adding new clients, hoping that by the time they were in high school they’d have a full-time […]

True leaders follow the Gospel message about loving your neighbor

A few weeks ago the teens and I attended a summer camp in Tennessee that had a focus on service. For three days we spent our mornings doing yard work and main­tenance for the elderly and those in need, in a neighborhood that looked a lot like any street you might drive down in your […]

Learning to show mercy freely, without the cloud of judgment

It’s the year of mercy, and so far my biggest personal challenge has come from an interview I heard reporter Sarah Koenig conduct with the U.S. Central Command. The women interviewed, who were anonymous for their protection, work in “personnel recovery”. Their jobs are to search for anyone missing in a conflict zone. Their work […]

Hoarding cold pizza and trusting in God

Let me tell you something about middle schoolers that I’ve learned over the years. They hoard food. In every parish I’ve worked in or visited — no matter how well I know the kitchens are stocked in their homes — middle schoolers will stuff their pockets with cookies, chips and cans of coke before, during […]

Make room in the pew and help others figure out how to belong

Carpooling parents, I salute you. Your job is harder than it looks. Last week my friend Theresa asked me to pick up her daughter, Sydney, from kindergarten. “It’s kind of confusing though,” Theresa began. Confusing? How con­fusing could it be to retrieve a child from school? I half listened to her instructions while I clicked […]

We all fight the battle between good and evil

While this may seem like heresy to some, I didn’t have plans to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Jim was going with friends the same night I was supposed to chaperone a middle school dance (also very entertaining), so I was content to eventually catch the highlights from YouTube. However, Jim came home so […]

Protecting children against accidental impurity

Middle school is a jungle. As annoying as adulthood can be, with its monthly bills and preoccupation with fiber intake, there’s no way I’d want to go back to seventh grade. In seventh grade, the orthodontist can make or break the next 18 months of your life. In seventh grade, it’s incredibly exciting to be […]

Don’t wait to plan for Heaven

Not to brag, but I consider traveling one of my talents. Scouting the best airfare, shopping for accessories, choosing planes, trains or ferries — I love every step. I was especially excited to plan the first trip my husband Jim and I would take together. The school in Belize, where I was a volunteer teacher, […]

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