She is my friend Evelyn. I happened to meet her this afternoon at the Basilica di Santa Pundenziana. Tradition has it that the basilica was built on the house where St. Peter the apostle was given hospitality when he was in the Eternal City. At present Santa Pudenziana is the home of Sentro Pilipino, the Filipino chaplaincy in the diocese of Rome.
Evelyn is a pinay domestic helper who has been working here in Italy for the past five years. From work she went straight to the basilica to say her prayers and participate in the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The ritual washing of the feet was done immediately after the gospel reading which quoted Jesus as saying, “If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should also wash each other’s feet”. The ritual must have struck a familiar chord in pinoys who took part in the liturgical celebration. For almost daily they have to stoop down in order to serve their employers, to tidy up the floors, to clean the toilets – to do acts of humility, servitude and sacrifice.