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From The Chicago Tribune:
The nuns always come to the Westmont dentist in pairs, dressed in full habits, to which the dentist adds a white paper bib when it’s time for one sister to lean back, open her mouth and say “Aaahh.” Before they head back to their convent in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Dr. Patrick Blaney tells the Missionaries of Charity to keep him in their prayers — and he doesn’t collect a dime. “He does it for lots of good,” said Sister Anna Rychnovska, 34, the superior of the sisters’ contemplative house, who had her teeth cleaned by Blaney in mid-December. “Surely this is his motivation. He knows we’re serving God so he wants to serve us also. We pray for him. That is our recompense.” Blaney, 62, a deacon at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Westmont, fills cavities, extracts teeth and cements crowns as a gift to religious clergy, nuns and other spiritual advisers. A longtime dentist with a modest yet modern three-room office in downtown Westmont, he has served many of his patients for decades. “Clergy have a special place in my heart,” Blaney said, adding that he started catering to clergy as soon as he graduated from dental school at Northwestern University 36 years ago. “I didn’t consider that really a burden. … It was a reward in itself.” But his rationale for providing the complimentary care has evolved over the years. Blaney, who was raised in suburban Evergreen Park and west suburban Downers Grove, said he took after his father, an electrician who would wire and fix anything for anybody who asked. Likewise, Blaney couldn’t imagine charging a priest to cap a broken tooth, even when he worked for someone else.
Photo: Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune