Faith and fabric have been interwoven from the very start. The Law of Moses prohibited weaving two different kinds of threads into one garment. Much later, the Paul the Apostle, supplemented his missionary journeys by returning to his previous profession making tents. Grand tapestries decorated the walls of the great cathedrals teaching the often illiterate the lessons of the Bible.
Today, many Galveston County churches encourage the faithful to sew skirts, knit scarves, crochet baby headgear, embroider emblems or create quilts. One of the most productive collections of crafters is headquartered at Friendswood’s Mary Queen Catholic Church. They go by the name of the Queen’s Bees.
“You’ll have no trouble finding us,” said Sara Genoa who leads this group of almost 50 women ranging from 50 to 91 in age. “Just listen for the laughter.”
The Bees enjoy both breakfast and a potluck lunch as they pray, chat and knot. Each finished product, a labor of love, is done almost entirely by hand using a 9-knot process. Only a few steps involve the u-shaped stable of modern computerized sewing machines at the back of their meeting room.
Preparing lunch is also a creative endeavor since the church’s master chef must combine whatever concoctions the ladies bring each week into a memorable repast.
The finished quilts are generally delivered by priests or deacons, but the ladies do get letters from many of the recipients of their prayers and crafting.
“Please tell your mother and her co-servants in Christ that the workmanship on the quilt is just beautiful, every stitch thoughtfully and prayerfully placed, with such pretty colors that the love for Jesus and his people shines right through,” reads one such letter, whose author retains medical privacy.
Such charity touches even our battle-hardened warriors. Perhaps, more for them than for others. Genoa said that a quilt was offered to one recovering Marine in a local hospital, but he refused to take it.
“I want you to give it to my captain instead who is in rehab,” she said the soldier told her. “I told him we had enough for both. We got this lovely letter from his captain who was moved by the gifts.”
The church includes a special military prayer book with each of the quilts.
More? How about a request for a Jewish quilt sewn by this coterie of Catholic ladies?
“There’s no doubt the Holy Spirit is alive here,” said quilter Dottie Carlin. “We love to give quilts and once we had a request for one from someone with a Jewish friend. It turned out that someone else had previously donated fabric with the Star of David on it to us years ago. It wasn’t a coincidence.”
The Bees are open to anyone interested in helping or donating, Genoa said.
“We receive some donations, funds from boutique sales that enable us to buy good quality fabrics and supplies. The Bees are quick to give back to our church community with our time, talent, treasure and are a very compassionate group.”