Lent Remembrances: Sister Betsy Moyer and the washing of feet

Sister Betsy Moyer continues our “Lent Remembrances” with a memory from her days serving in Santa Fe, N.M., from 1989-93.

“It was Holy Thursday and Archbishop Sanchez celebrated the Mass at St. Francis Cathedral. I was in awe and so impressed with his example and actions at the washing of feet. Twelve were chosen; not just the elite but commoners and some from the streets. They were assembled at the end of each pew, center aisle, six on the right side and six on the left side.

“The Archbishop, with the assistance of a few acolytes, came down the center aisle, dressed in his alb. He knelt down beside the person, lifted the foot and proceeded to relieve the foot of its shoe and sock, gently caressing it while piercing into the eyes of the person, as if to say, “how deeply loved you are.” He continued to stroke the foot as he lifted it over the bowl, taking a pitcher of water and pouring the water, not once but twice, over the foot allowing the soothing water to cleanse it.

“Thereafter, a towel was quickly gathered. The Archbishop began to dry the foot slowly; as he dried it, he looked lovingly into the person’s eyes. He kissed the foot, hugged the person, and gave a rosary as a gift. You could have heard a pin drop as the Archbishop moved forward to the next person, reliving the washing of feet as done with the first. The Archbishop never hurried through the ritual. He made each action a prayerful experience for all, those assembled and those whose feet he washed.

“This experience was a moment in time when I truly understood the washing of feet. I saw through the Archbishop’s actions Jesus’ servant leadership; how the washing of feet was an amazing example of His profound love for us and service of others. He only asks that we do the same. That memory in time continues to stoke my heart with the tenderness and soothing love of Jesus each Holy Thursday evening.

“When reflecting or meditating on the 6th station of the cross, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, one can see her unselfish action as one of compassion, service, and deep love. I recognize the correlation of the experience witnessed by the Archbishop’s washing the feet and Veronica’s washing/wiping the face of Jesus. The reality of both reminds me to walk life’s journey in service and love.”


  1. Michele Morek

    This was beautiful, Betsy, and did honor to the memory of a good man, Archbishop Sanchez. Thanks, Michele

Comments are closed