Sacred Stories | Massaging Souls

[Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet… – John 13:5

Prior to the pandemic, for more than two decades and nearly 1,800 hours, a volunteer I’ll call Joanna, has been massaging the feet of our patients. I always know it’s Thursday when I see Joanna walking down the hallway, carrying her box of lotions. I have no idea what her age might be. It’s hard to notice anything about her beyond the never-ending smile on her face and the forever sparkle in her eyes.

Joanna is a faithful, humble volunteer who offers a very special kind of healing touch to patients. As she massages the soles of their feet, she touches their souls with peace, comfort, compassion and reverence.

One day I asked Joanna if she had ever had a foot massage herself. Her answer was, “I’ve never had one. I just give them. That makes me feel good.”

Her approach to her work reminds me of the words often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always. Use words if you have to.” When I see Joanna, I also think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples on Holy Thursday.

How fitting that she volunteers on Thursdays.

Shared from the Sacred Stories Archive

Questions for Reflection

Reflect on the times you have received a unique or unusual healing touch in your life. What made that touch effective?

In what ways can you communicate God’s healing presence, with or without words?

About Sacred Stories

As CommonSpirit Health, we make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of
the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.

Sacred Stories convey ways our mission is being lived out by the gifted people in our ministry. We invite you to
use these stories for inspiration, as a meeting reflection, or to encourage discussion with your team.