By Sisters Therese Feeley, SSND & Theu Nguyen, FMSR
Would that the white walls of the Assembly Room at Villa Assumpta could talk! They would recount in vivid language a “Happening” between 1PM and 3PM on Sunday, November 19. Picture 15 Vietnamese manicurists along with their children. The women were dressed in Western-style clothes and were prepared to give a manicure and/ or a pedicure to SSND residents.
One by one, those who had signed up earlier for this service were invited down to the Assembly Room by Sister Marianne Roderick, SSND. Each entered the room hearing familiar music mixed with Christmas Carols as supplied by a pianist, guitarist and 3 Vietnamese teenagers. To the amazement of all, Sister Eugenia Forbeck, SSND joined the group knowing all the words to the songs of yesteryear.
Before and after the “treatment” of hands and/or toes, each Sister was invited to enjoy an array of food brought by the Vietnamese. The menu included Mozzarella Sticks, Fried Rice, Egg Rolls, Shrimp Pasta, Pizza, Muffin Cupcakes, Cookies and an assortment of Strawberries, Grapes and Pears on the Fruit Tray.
SSNDs were wide-eyed as they watched Sister Felipe cautiously slide her bare feet into a small tub of warm water. Next followed the snipping of nails, the removal of calluses, an examination of each toe for rough spots while the pedicurist gently rubbed each foot before applying oil followed by lotion.
Apart from the “ohs and ahs” of the Sisters, there was little conversation because of our inability to speak Vietnamese. In a few instances, names or comments were exchanged to the delight of each party. The men present acted as partners to the women. Theirs was the task of carrying hot water, offering towels, proffering tools, and lending assistance to the Sisters getting in and out of chairs.
Those who opted for manicures were served by the women who owned or worked in local beauty shops. Those fortunate enough to receive a manicure by a professional smiled and nodded as each finger was soaked, shaped, oiled and brushed.
To her delight, Sister Dot Malone, SSND, showed off her bright pink nail polish which was applied and buffed to its natural sheen. Then she wiggled her toes for the rest of the day.
Actually, November 19 marked the second time the Sisters were given the opportunity to have foot and hand care by these generous benefactors. The “good news” spread quickly, in anticipation of their return.
Happily 27 Sisters took advantage of the day’s offering. All were smiling from ear to ear feeling relaxed and invigorated. Each was given preferential treatment, shared in the laughter, enjoyed the snack, and were buoyed up by the happy talk.
The much-loved Father Bao, S.J., who had worked out all the details of the day’s offering is planning to give the same foot/ hand care to the SSNDs residing at Stella Maris.
The event climaxed with a much-satisfied Father Bao dancing with a delighted Sister Eugenia!