Service and Prayer!
By Sister Patti
I was so excited to see that there was a piece on Loaves and Fishes in Sacramento in the news! You see in May 2009 within a program called Mercy Challenge, 7 women discerning religious life as well as 5 sisters spent a week there volunteering and… giving service to the homeless who are assisted by the programs.
The program was amazing. The services provided included a private park where the homeless could go and not be afraid that they would be picked up by the police, a woman’s shelter, a school for homeless children, housing assistance, medical assistance, a program to assist in drug and alcohol recovery, and a soup kitchen run like a restaurant.
The group was split into teams and rotated through the different areas. I have memories of playing with children in the school, mashing 50 pounds of potatoes, giving out sunglasses in the library, sorting in the woman’s shelter, assisting with basic needs in the park and the most significant – the washing of the feet that took place.
The washing of the feet is a sacred experience. You can imagine that the feet of homeless men and women are the most abused parts of their bodies. There is such a risk for infections that as we washed, cut toenails and massaged lotion into their feet the nurse would check for any problems. I remember the gratitude of the men and women we served.
The experience gave me a better understanding that anyone can be homeless. And that the hospitality of the volunteers is more important than what we actually did.
As we spent time after the experiences sharing with one another, meeting other sisters and experiencing community as well as praying together, we knew we had been touched by the face of Christ in others.
What experiences have you had that have brought you face to face with Christ in another? How are you called to serve and love as Christ did?