"Oh, fudge! What do I do about my student-loan debt?"

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Friday 07, December 2012 | Category:   Clergy,Consecrated Life
With the holiday season revving up—and I've already had my annual viewing of the stop-action-animation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer so Christmastime has officially begun as far as I'm concerned ("Why weren't you at elf practice?!")—thoughts turn to both sweet eats and gifts, and we here at VISION know of a perfect way to combine them: fudge—particularly fudge made by people in religious communities. But first a question: What do fudge, student-loan debt, and a religious vocation have in common?
SOME OF Kendall Ketterlin's fudge.
I've tried it and it's darned good.
Kendall Ketterlin knows the answer. He's using one to take care of another and get him to the third: selling his holiday fudge to help pay his student loans and allow him to enter the Order of the Carmelites, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary—where he is currently in the pre-novitiate—debt-free. (BTW, Kendall is featured in the 2013 issue of the VISION Catholic Religious Vocation Discernment Guide as someone who used VISION's VocationMatch to help him discern his vocation.) (Another BTW: According to a recent Pew Research Center study, almost 20 percent of U.S. households carry college debt.)

He's not the only person connected to religious life who's making and selling fudge these days. While the Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in Christoval, Texas don't make carmels, they do make fudge. So do the Brigittine Monks of the Priory of Our Lady of Consolation in Amity, Oregon. Also doing fudge are a number of Trappist men's and women's communities: the sisters of Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, Mass. as well as the men of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky and of Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, GA. Note: Lots of communities make sweets and many other good things to eat, and if I've left out any other fudge-makers, my apologies, and please let me know (like in a comment to this post)!
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