The Life-Giving Gift of Quilting

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Quilting has become my avocation and passion; it all began with a gift given to me by a hospice patient.  Wanda was my first “client” when I started serving as a hospice caregiver.  She loved to quilt and being terminally ill with COPD was not going to stop her from enjoying this life-giving hobby.  Not knowing anything about quilting, she invited me to learn alongside her, even hiring a teacher to work with us in her home.

Every week we would work together on individual projects, exchanging ideas about what fabric colors to select or what designs to complete.  We would have “show and tell” sessions to share what we were working on or completed.  Oftentimes during my visits, she would have to stop and do breathing treatments, and then she would continue talking about quilts and offer encouragement with the projects I was working on.  (Her family told me that they felt her quilting interests gave her life in the midst of her dying.)

Wanda’s projects were dedicated to family and friends, wanting to leave them with a remembrance of her love and care for them.  We enjoyed our quilting adventures for almost three years before Wanda met her Creator.

Before Wanda died, she talked about how lap quilts would provide warmth and comfort to other hospice patients.  Taking this suggestion to heart, I started a quilters group called Wings and Prayers in her honor and memory.  Her idea of providing for others gave birth to the making of almost 200 quilts over the years our group was together.  With each knot that we tied to secure the quilt, we said a prayer and a prayer card of comfort was pinned to each quilt.

What Wanda taught me was far more than quilting.  She taught me to always embrace the moment, to give joy to others, and that creative expressions can be a way of sowing seeds of delight for both the giver and the receiver.  And so I’ve found that God can use me through my quilting to bring joy and comfort to others.  Quilting is a way for me to co-create with the Creator, connecting my creative gifts with the creative genius of God, whose own creativity led to the design of each of us and all that exists in this world.

What are your gifts?  What life-giving gifts can you share with others to make a difference?  Could being a religious sister be your calling and way to be present to others?  If so, take the next step and contact one of our Vocation Ministers.  Let God use you to fulfill the Gospel message of love to all people.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

7 responses to “The Life-Giving Gift of Quilting

  1. That’s a beautiful gift she left you. Yes, patients have so much to share/give us, if we but listen.. and you did!

  2. Mary Ellen,
    I was touched by your account of your experiences with Wanda. It reminds me clearly that we all have a purpose in life and hints from God about what that purpose is.

  3. Mary Ellen,
    Finding others and God in the quilting is so refreshingly transformative. Thank you. Loretta

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