Sister Rose House’s  Ray Duarte receives Sydney
Adams Award from Inter-Church Council of NB

By Dave Jolivet

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Raymond Duarte, program manager of the diocesan Catholic Social Services-run Sister Rose House and Grace House in New Bedford once told The Anchor that his concern and compassion for those in need began at an early age. “I can recall riding my bicycle as a child around the city. When I ran into a homeless individual I would ride home as fast as I could and make a brown-bag lunch for the homeless person. My favorite situation would be to see somebody sleeping and if I could put the brown bag next to the individual without waking them and leave, then it made me feel like Santa Claus.”

Duarte has maintained that philosophy all his life, eventually leading him to CSS and championing the homeless and those in need in the Whaling City since 2012.


On October 27, the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford (ICC) recognized the humble and powerful works Duarte performs on a daily basis, presenting him with the Sydney Adams Award for outstanding community service.

Robin Muise of the Board of Directors of the ICC presented the award, saying, “As the Volunteer Coordinator of the Extreme Weather Overflow Shelter at Sister Rose House, I have worked closely with Ray over the last few years. It is with great honor I introduce Ray Duarte as this year’s Sydney Adams Ecumenical Lay Leader Award. 

“Ray is a gentleman of great integrity and compassion. He has risen to each challenge he has faced and has excelled as not only a leader but a man with great heart. He strives to give all and goes above and beyond. Words cannot express how well Ray lives the mission that Jesus Christ Himself instructed us to live. To serve, to love and to have compassion for the least of our brothers and sisters.”

Reverend David Lima, pastor, New Seasons Worship Center and Executive Minister of the ICC, told The Anchor, “Ray Duarte is a man deeply committed to working with those less fortunate, to help get them basic shelter and food while helping them to get back on their feet. In the process he helps people to feel cared for, protected and gives them back the integrity and self-worth that being homeless can take away from you.

“I’ve worked with Ray since he began doing this work as the community comes together to make sure that all of the children of God are cared for. Congratulations Ray, a more than worthy recipient of this award.”

The Sister Rose House is an emergency shelter for men, staffed 24 hours a day, that offers men in need supportive services like job skills training, budgeting information, and access to mental health and other services, with the goal of helping its clients gain long-term sustainability while helping them out of their homelessness situations. The Grace House is a female shelter.

Duarte still maintains his ties to his once full-time job as a neighborhood barber. He continues there part-time and also offers men at Sister Rose House haircuts when they are preparing for job interviews or meeting individuals offering them potential housing.

The Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford is a “faith-based non-profit organization in the community consisting of 47 member congregations as well as hundreds of partners across the Southcoast consisting of all faith lines.” Its mission is “to unite all faiths through community outreach initiatives that support Spiritual renewal, social, economical, and racial justice,” according to its website. Members of the council and staff are devoted to address and face the issues affecting the Greater New Bedford community such as suicide, homelessness, and drug addiction.

Winter is coming and Sister Rose House will soon activate its Extreme Weather Overflow Shelter. The overflow opens when temperatures drop below 28 degrees. Volunteers are needed to help assemble cots with pillows and blankets from 4 to 5 p.m.; serve shelter guests and residents from 5 to 7 p.m.; and to monitor bathrooms and sleeping hall in two- to four-hour shifts from 6 to 10 p.m. Volunteers can sign up alone or sign up as a team of co-workers (all must be over 18). Many hands are needed. 

Please contact Robin Muise to volunteer at or call 774-553-5490.

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