A birthday party at the Rec with the Reverend Mother

12 Jul

Faith Bell reacts to hearing the assembled birthday party guests yell “Surprise!”

When the stooped, austere-looking nun shuffled into the Webster Recreation Center cafeteria earlier this week, you could almost hear a collective gasp from the audience.  A few people who were standing near the doorway didn’t really know how to greet her, so chose to stay silent and just stand back to let her pass. Anyone who hadn’t attended Mass in a while tried to look very inconspicuous.

But no one needed to worry. The Reverend Mother Phyl Contestable wasn’t there to hear their confessions. She was there to roast Faith Bell, the Rec Center’s senior services coordinator, on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

Actually, Faith’s official title is “Transportation Coordinator,” a term left over from the Monroe County meal program. But she does so much more than that.

Jane Laskey, the Rec Center’s Deputy Commissioner, wrote,

(Faith) handles the daily transportation needs of the seniors so they can get to and from the senior center, she plans and implements educational, support, and recreation programs, she coordinates some of the services associated with the center such as elder source, AARP taxes, blood pressure checks,  leads programs such as the poetry club, and acts as the primary liaison for families and often health care providers and the senior that attends the center.  Mostly she is an advocate for the folks that attend the senior center, a sympathetic listener and a cheerleader. … She is incredible, kind, full of Irish wit, and an amazing advocate for seniors.

A good sport as always, Faith banters with the Reverend Mother.

Earlier this week, Faith was also the butt of the Reverend Mother’s jokes. For a full half hour in front of about 100 family, friends and Webster Rec staff members, Faith endured the irreverent humor and personal jabs that only former-nun-turned-Nunsense-performer Phyl Contestable could dish out. Fortunately, any real embarrassment was smoothed over by birthday cake and friendly conversation after the performance.

Not that there was much embarrassment. True to form, Faith took the entire occasion in stride, starting when she walked through the door and heard everyone yell “Surprise!”

I couldn’t stay for the entire party, but was so pleased to be there to help celebrate with my friend. Happy birthday, Faith, and many more.

 

 

About 100 friends, family members and Webster Rec staff members attended.

 

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