REFLECTION: Our Lady’s Haven Mission Day

The following is a reflection by Elaine Cordeiro, owner of the Chocolate Works in New Bedford, who provided chocolate treats for guests who attended the Our Lady’s Haven Mission Day Mass last month.

Photos provided by Elaine appeared on page 15 of the 10.28.16 Anchor edition. 


It was the last day of summer, one of the season’s most pleasant days, when I walked through the doors of the Our Lady’s Haven in Fairhaven. I looked around and told Our Lady, “You did a beautiful job.” All the beautiful residents were coming in and out of this door and. I could hardly focus on one thing.

To my eyes, the people seemed like angels spreading their wings, going room to room. I think I was a little out of place because I was dressed so casually. I saw women who had sparkles in their eyes with all the glitter of earrings, necklaces, and happiness. I was there to write a reflection of the event. Looking around, I first sat at a table to the left-center of the dinning room.  

The woman on my left was Juliette, she was eager to talk. I wanted her to tell me a little bit of what she observed. She told me in the chapel she sat with a nun that she met on ae plane 50 years ago, coming from St. Michael to America. Her next thought was to tell me she felt all the love that was there in that room. To me this woman was so holy, she could it have been the nun that she sat next to at Mass. My next thought was that there was so much love in the look of her eyes — as if a saint in disguise

At the table sitting to my right was a gentleman named Henry. When I sat down, he had a plate with chocolate-dipped pretzels, pineapples, and marshmallows that Teresa, his mother, served him. I think he felt like a king. Teresa’s mother, Anna, lives at the home. She’s been in there or three years now. She’s 93 years old and does not communicate. She responds very well with the staff, which is a great blessing for her daughters. So family together is such a great bond for her mother, because her two daughters frequently visit her.

I then changed tables and people looked like they were happy to see and talk with me. 

Ronald Richard was born in Fairhaven and still resides there. He came out of the service and married his wife, Jeanine. They sat to my right at the table. He worked for UPS and has since retired. They have two daughters who are married; one in Mattapoisett and the other in Acushnet.  They spend quality time together. He’s just in a different home for his nursing care. Ronald gave Jeanine something that he wrote to her telling her how much he loved her. They were both quiet people, and it was hard to imagine them getting together in the first place. She reminded me of my mother and he reminded me of my father. I told her hearts always know there is love, so that quietness was special for Ronald and Jeanine.

Across the table was a familiar lady from church. Her name was Joanne. She told me of the time she and Joe went to Mother Teresa’s Mass during her visit to New Bedford in 1995.  They were in the crowd outside at St. Lawrence Martyr Church. There were too many people in the church. They were there at the time Mother Teresa came out onto the balcony of the Missionaries of Charity Convent across from the church when Mother was escorted by Bishop Sean O’Malley. Joanne had tears rolling down her cheeks today as she spoke of the day Mother spoke to everyone. Joanne told me she would never forget what mother said: “The family that prays together stays together.” Joe had his picture taken in the crowd when the words of Mother Teresa touched her heart. That’s when the tears came flooding down.

To me that was a miracle on the spot. Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Joanne. 

The reception was over and I was given a caramel apple and red candy apple to take as a favor. Mission complete.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts