Random Thoughts

A quilting bee to remember

 ... warm hands and hearts at work in Melrose

by Marie Salamanca

Front row:  Gertrude Ginn, Elena Sullivan, Nancy O'Keefe, Saundra Bruce, Mary Lin, Mary Spagnolo. Back row: Mary Ellen Dee, Caterina Gentile, Marie Gill, Jean Hong, Fernanda D'Alessandro, Claire Mooney. Missing  from the picture are Lucy Ward and Marie Salamanca, who took the picture.

Although this has been the most piercing cold, miserable winter in anyone's memory, there have been many warm hearts and hands at work in the hall of the lower church of St. Mary's in Melrose. Many women have been working in small groups, cutting, pinning, sewing and pressing over 100 quilts to be donated to the residents of the nursing homes within the parish.

Under the direction of Maryellen Dee, R.N., who created the idea, approximately 20 women have trudged through snow and crept warily on ice to meet nearly every Wednesday since shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday. They lugged sewing machines, scissors and other equipment and lots of good cheer to provide something warm and comforting to the residents to remind them that they have not been forgotten. Others who could not be there donated fabric and money, while others worked at home and brought the finished quilts to the church.

Father John Ronaghan, Pastor of St. Mary's enthusiastically approved of the project and provided pizza and sandwiches to this dedicated group. There was a general atmosphere of merriment and cooperation coupled with a great deal of discussion, chatter and kidding as the women were deciding how this large undertaking should be accomplished. It was decided to form "stations" - one group cutting, another pinning, another sewing, another turning and finally pressing, as the quilts moved from one station to the next.

The plan is to meet perhaps monthly to assemble 10 to 12 quilts each time for newly arriving residents. The quilts will be placed on the altar and blessed by Father Ronaghan at a weekday Mass and then distributed. Father Shea of St. Mary's says Mass at many of these residences and Maryellen visits them regularly. They will bring the quilts on their visits. A printed prayer is attached to each quilt with a reminder that the receiver is being remembered by the parishioners of St. Mary of the Annunciation in Melrose.

May 7, 2004

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