St. Leo’s quilting ministry provides newly-baptized babies with gift to cherish
BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
There is something about a quilt that is comforting and welcoming.
“And usable,” added Rose Cullen, who is part of a group that makes baby quilts for newly-baptized infants at St. Leo Parish in Murray.
“We’re avid sewers; it just seemed natural to do this,” said fellow parishioner Linda Breck.
The group began sometime between late 2012 and early 2013, following parishioner Ann Landini’s retirement – and her desire to do something for the babies of St. Leo’s.
Landini had been attending a retreat with the Quilt Lovers of Murray – a local quilting guild – and “the thought popped into my mind, why not baby quilts for St. Leo’s?” said Landini.
Landini approached Cullen and another parishioner-quilter, Jane Blankenship, about starting a quilting ministry for the littlest parishioners. The idea grew into a reality, and a ministry.
In the beginning, the women were not sure how many quilts to make and set aside in anticipation of upcoming baptisms.
“We had to rely on (parish baptism) records from the previous year because we were not sure how many babies there might be,” said Landini of the rough approximation.
Over time, however, the quilting group has built up a solid supply of quilts for whenever the baby of a registered parishioner is baptized.
They make sure they always have a variety of both boys’ and girls’ quilts, and “everything is washable!” said Breck.
Each quilt also has a fabric label on the back with the embroidered message: “For a beautiful child of God, from St. Leo Parish.”
Cullen explained that the parents of the baby to be baptized are taken to the sacristy, where the quilts are stored in a basket. The parents then select their favorite quilt.
Landini said that St. Leo’s current pastor, Fr. Brandon Williams, has begun a tradition of blessing the quilt in church after the baptism, and presenting it to the baby.
“Baptism is such an important part of our Catholic faith,” said Breck.
Landini, who refers to herself as “not a Catholic by birth; I’m a Catholic by choice,” said she has always believed in contributing time and talent to the church, even if “treasure” is not always feasible.
The number of the group’s members has ebbed and flowed over the years. Currently they have about five regulars, but they always welcome more people.
Lynn Fromm is one of the newest members, and was warmly welcomed by the friendly, laid-back group. She is perfecting her quilting skills through the group.
“Linda taught me all I know,” said Fromm.
The group meets on the first Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the parish hall, and “we don’t just talk about quilting. We talk about all kinds of things,” said Breck.
They take a break at noon for lunch, and in cold weather have been known to have soup simmering in a slow cooker.
The quilter’s group sees their ministry as providing a gift from the parish community that the children can treasure forever.
“The most heartwarming thing is in the winter when you see a mom has brought her baby to church in one of our quilts,” said Landini.
Originally printed in the November 2018 Western Kentucky Catholic.
Copyright © 2018 Diocese of Owensboro/The Western Kentucky Catholic