Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Home Maker. (in Person: Angela Lariviere)

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Home Maker. (in Person: Angela Lariviere)

Article excerpt

FOR THE FIRST, 10 YEARS OF ANGELA LARIVIERE'S life, her family prayed 2 Timothy 1:7 every day: "For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." It is no small challenge to find power, love, and self-discipline when you are a homeless child who has moved 39 times, attended 13 different schools, and slept on couches or at shelters or wherever you and your family can find a place.

Despite the physical and mental illnesses Lariviere's mother suffered, and the instability that resulted, the one constant was faith. "We barely had food," she says, "but we always had that basis of faith that carried us." Primary in that faith was the duty to care for those around you. "Even when things were really bad for us, we were always taught to share what we had," Lariviere says.

She tells a story of one Thanksgiving, now referred to by family and friends as the "turkey incident," when a local church brought a food basket with a turkey for her family. Not much later, a service agency brought another basket--with another turkey. Although her family was usually unsure where their next meal would come from, Lariviere's mother said, "There are lots of people in this neighborhood who could use this. Take it to the neighbors." As one of the children left to deliver the basket, another agency showed up at the door with yet another basket--another turkey! "We got at least five more baskets. It was like we were bringing them out the back door as they came to the front. And it's those experiences that gave me faith."

Lariviere always thought she was not like other kids, but she had no idea that as many as 35,000 other children were going through the same thing, in Ohio alone. As a college student, she knew she was different from the other women in her dorm when her little sisters would come and spend the weekends because her family was homeless. "The other girls were going to parties, and I was working two jobs and worrying where my mom was going to sleep," she says.

But by advocating for herself, she overcame the odds. In high school she joined the ROTC program to take advantage of a loophole that allowed her to stay at the same school without proof of a local address. She earned an "A" average.

Lariviere believes someone must have been watching out for her, guiding her, and knows that she has found the place where God wants her to be now. …

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