A Day in the Life of Santa Teresita…Our Neighborhood of Care

It all started on a very strange day. The weather wasn’t like the rest of the days during that season. It was a cold morning and I was just getting to work. As I was driving through the parking lot I noticed a man banging on the chapel door. “That’s strange,” I thought. “Maybe he needs help.”

I parked my car and started walking towards the Manor where I work. The man saw me drawing near to the Chapel and he moved towards me. He was yelling something that I could not understand. As I got closer he continued to yell, “Why is the chapel closed? People depend on it and use it to pray.”

The man seemed troubled or bothered by something more than the fact that the front doors to the chapel were closed. I began to explain that the front door was probably locked or stuck but that the side doors are always open. Even though it was going to make me late, I decided to escort this man into the chapel. After all aren’t we “at the service of the family for life?” At this point I knew helping this man was more important than being on time to work.

As we walked up the steps towards the chapel, the man began to cry and he thanked me for my help. He went on to explain that he was going through a difficult chapter in his life and he needed to pray. I was happy to offer him the company of a sister and perhaps they could pray with him. The man refused the pastoral help and said that he would be fine from here on. Just before leaving him, I told him that I wished the best for him in these hard times in his life and that I knew he would find the right guidance here at the chapel. Me and the not so mysterious man shook hands, hugged, and said our goodbyes.

Never would I come to imagine that in a couple of months I would come face to face with my old friendly acquaintance that I had met at those chapel doors…

One day when I arrived at work, I walked through the doors and we made eye contact. We both recognized each other. He quickly stood up and walked towards me asking,

“What are you doing here?”

Before I could answer, another staff member tried to introduce us but the man brushed her away with “Oh we already know each other.” It turns out he made the decision to become a resident at Santa Teresita and had just moved in.

This marked the beginning of a long friendship. Now we often spend time together. We have cups of coffee, talk about the good old days when he used to play mandolin, and sometimes he helps me barbecue for the rest the residents.

I laugh when I look back at the day when at first glance I saw a “strange old man.” Now I know that he was just a friend asking to enter and become one of our family members here at Santa Teresita.