• August 5, 2017

Brooklyn: Our American Grandparents

by Sr Blandine Paponoud

The passing of our dear friend Ted Conlin last year and of his wife Adela in June brought my heart a great sorrow: we, the Heart’s Home mis­sion­aries, have lost our American grand­par­ents and are very much in pain. But, just as it was every time we saw them, our hearts are also full of peace. The sorrow of today is full of this same peace that our friend­ship has always brought.

I will never forget the first time we met each other in the Bronx, 15 years ago. They knocked on our door a little sheep­ishly, having been sent by a mutual friend to drop off a gift for us. They were not at all sure that this was the right house in the right neigh­bor­hood, but were curious nonethe­less. I remember their smiles, their eager­ness to dis­cover who we were, these young Heart’s Home vol­un­teers newly arrived in the US. We dis­cov­ered in each other kin­dred spirits and a mutual love of the Blessed Mother – they declared them­selves our American grand­par­ents from that moment on. The rest, as they say, is his­tory!

I remember the first time I went to visit their home. It was for Thanksgiving dinner. What a blessing to be invited! Their home was very spe­cial even though it was an ordi­nary home. It was kind of small, yet full of life, the walls filled with pic­tures of their family and friends, friends still here on earth and also friends in heaven. But what made it so spe­cial is that it was filled with peace.

Ted always shared with us about his spir­i­tual journey, their devo­tion to Mary. Although Adela didn’t always say much, her silence was full of Mary’s pres­ence. What made it unusual to me is that nothing was forced on us, no devo­tion imposed, no opin­ions we had to agree with in order to remain friends. But sure enough, there was the explo­sion of their own amaze­ment: amaze­ment in front of life, amaze­ment in front of God’s grace. Thus, all our con­ver­sa­tions were filled with peace.

As true apos­tles, Ted and Adela have passed on to us the Peace of Christ, and so our mournful hearts are filled with grat­i­tude... and peace!

Back to top