I Washed the Feet of Christ

by Katy Groom

In my youth, I read Catherine Doherty’s book, The Gospel Without Compromise and Dorothy Day’s story, and I was forever changed. Now that I am old, 71, I am reminiscing about my life and would like to share this story with you.

In my youthful search to do God’s will in my life, I was fortunate enough to come in contact with some Sisters of St. Joseph, and I went to live and work with them at a house they ran for women in transition.

It was Holy Thursday night, the night of the washing of the feet. About six Sisters were at the door ready to go to church, and I just lined right up with them. I was feeling like I was part of something bigger than myself, and I was euphoric about going with the group.

The senior Sister turned to me and said, “Oh Katy, we need someone to stay and look after the house while we are at church.”

“Oh, of course,” I replied and nonchalantly slipped off my coat. My voice and my actions were saying that nothing was wrong, but my heart was broken. I took my wounded self back into the house.

A short while later, the doorbell rang. When I opened it, there was a very old native woman standing in the doorway looking very sad and tired. I invited her in.

At that house, we removed our shoes at the door, and put on knitted slippers before entering.

This woman was having trouble getting her shoes off, so I told her to wait a minute, and I got her a chair.

She sat down and looked so sad. I knelt down and was about to untie her boot, but as soon as my knee hit the floor, I was overcome with emotion.

The hallway seemed to take on a very bright light, and reverently, more reverently than anything I had every done before, I placed her cold bare feet in the slippers. I knew I had experienced the washing of the feet.

It was the first time I had done a real act of love. I was one with the poor now, and this feeling has never left me. Now I was living the Gospel without compromise.

Thank you, Catherine and Dorothy Day.*

*Dorothy Day was the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.

This article is a letter which was sent to Madonna House and is used with permission.