A Servant’s Heart: Dottie Webster
When you come to Mass on Saturdays or Sundays, you may or may not notice the missals perfectly in order, envelopes neatly placed in the pews and a nicely stuffed bulletin that you grab on your way out the door. Ok, so you probably haven’t noticed any of the above, but there is no doubt that if it wasn’t in order, something just wouldn’t seem right. The interesting thing is, they don’t just stay neat after the weekend, there is someone who week after week — without fail — cleans up all the pews, refills them with envelopes, organizes the missals, and stuffs whatever bulletin, envelope or book needs to be stuffed. Dorothy (also known as Dottie) Webster is the woman behind these great works. The Massachusetts native is one of the parish’s beloved volunteers who sees no task too big or too small, and we couldn’t be more excited (probably more than she) to celebrate her 90th birthday.DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
When I told her we wanted to feature her in the bulletin, I had to beg for her to sit down and do an interview; not because she’s shy, but because she said serving is not about her, it’s about Jesus. Without further ado, read about, and celebrate with us, the woman who has blessed us with her time, compassion and smile—and doesn’t plan on slowing down. After all, she says this Tuesday, she’s just turning 12, again.
Danielle Koleniak: Tell us about your childhood.
Dorothy Webster: I was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and was one of six children. There were three girls and three boys. I went to St. Michael’s School. When I was in the third grade, we moved to the other side of town from the school, so we would have to take a car or bus to get to school every day. All the children would go home for an hour during lunch, but since we lived 5 miles away we packed our lunches and ate together at the school. They made great use of us after we ate! We did chores around the school. I guess that’s how I was trained to serve in the church! Haha!
We went from rich to poor. My father was an electrician. He didn’t work for two years. We were grateful to have bread.
DK: You volunteer so much of your time in the church. How did you first get so involved?
DW: I really got involved when my 21 year old son, Brian, died. He was my first born. It was a real turning point in my life. He went in for what was supposed to be a routine medical procedure, and died from doctor error. It changed my whole life. My own flesh and blood was in heaven. And then my mother died seven days later. I put my selfishness aside. I no longer wanted to go golfing on Mondays. I didn’t want to do anything unless it had to do with God. My focus became helping people. I wanted to dedicate everything I did to Him. I also joined a servant group at St. Rita’s in Lowell. Even today, I use my experience to help the grieving by talking about Brian.
DK: You are turning 90 on Tuesday. Happy Birthday! Can you believe it?
DW: No! I’m always 12 years old in my heart. I want to be 12 the rest of my life with God.
DK: In your almost 90 years, what’s one childhood memory that stands out to you?
DW: Every morning my mother would give us a dime so my brothers, sisters and I could take a car or bus home from school. We decided one year to save the dimes she gave us every day. We would run home five miles from school every day, so she wouldn’t notice, or have my dad pick us up at the park. We saved the money all the way to Christmas. Then on Christmas, we gave her the money. She was shocked. It was a lot of money back then and we didn’t have much at all.
DK: What’s the most important thing that keeps you healthy and strong every day?
My God, my Father. My dream is to one day put my head on God’s lap and have him rub my head like a little girl’s. Every day I remind myself, God works straight with crooked lines. You just have to be patient.