In all big cities many people, for various reasons, are forced to live on the street. Contrary to popular belief, living on the streets is almost never by choice. The members of the Community of Sant’Egidio, following the example of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel parable, stop and try to take care of people who live in these situations of great difficulty.
The commitment made by the Community to this world started in Rome towards the end of the 70s when the number of poor on the streets of the city was rising rapidly, posing new problems. This same phenomenon has continued to occur in many other cities all over the world.
Several episodes of intolerance and violence towards these people have made us reflect on the situation of neglect and danger in the lives of these poor people. We were particularly struck by the story of Modesta, an elderly homeless lady who we met at Rome’s Central Station. Modesta died without medical help because she was dirty and the ambulance crew didn’t want to treat her. In her memory, every year the Community celebrates a liturgy in memory of Modesta and all of those who die on the streets.
The first meeting with this world of poor people has created and built up a network of friendship and support and has given rise to concrete initiatives of solidarity.