St. Joseph's Sisters will be caring for soles this Christmas

By 
  • December 22, 2010
Sr. Gwen SmithTORONTO - With Christmas coming, it’s socks, not Christmas stockings, that the Sisters of St. Joseph are hoping will come by way of gifts for people living on the streets.

“On Holy Thursday, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and said, ‘Do likewise,’ it’s always a privilege for us to do that. It reminds us of who we’re called to be,” said Sr. Gwen Smith, director at Mustard Seed, the Sisters’ ministry to help the homeless and individuals at risk.


The Sisters and Mustard Seed volunteers are planning to fill more than 100 Christmas bags for guests to their drop-in centre on Queen Street East. The gift bags will include items like soap, a toothbrush, shaving cream and socks, preferably with very little elastic. They also come with hand knit toques and mittens by volunteers.

“Many of our guests live in rooming houses with no privacy or security and have little money left once rent is paid,” said staff member Leanne Kloppenborg. About 50 to 60 guests are expected at the centre for a Christmas party when they will receive their gift bags.

Smith administers the drop-in centre while Sr. Rosemary McGinn and some student nurses have been providing foot care for the past five years.

McGinn offers “care of the sole” three afternoons a week. She spends an hour with each person, many with swollen feet.

“I am deeply blessed to provide foot care to all who come and they enrich and nourish my soul,” she said.

During a drop-in visit, Smith met one of the guests who asked her if she saw “a pair of grey socks running down the hall?” She answered, “No,” to which the guest replied: “Yes, they were so happy to get off my feet, they ran away.”

“I’ve got new feet and new socks. I’m a new man,” Smith recalled the guest saying.

For more information about the program, call (416) 465-6069.

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