Threads of faith, quilting intertwine

Patsy Murphy displays a quilt made to honor Rukora Parish in Tanzania, Africa, which is a sister parish to St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville.

By Betsy Schneider

KNOXVILLE — God sends a letter to St. Anthony’s of Knoxville! Well, sort of. At the Spirituality of Quilting workshop held Feb. 1 at St. Anthony’s Parish in Knoxville, Martha Popson, presenter, read a letter from God. It compared the vibrant colors and patterns of life to the designs, colors and textures of a quilt. She then spoke of the lessons of patience, perseverance and love learned as the seamstresses put the quilt pieces together.

 The 19 participants shared stories of how they began quilting and the influence it had on their lives. Some remembered that as they quilted in groups with family and friends the conversations were focused more on life’s problems and solutions than on quilting techniques. Some of the ladies displayed their quilts as they told stories of illness, financial hardship or family crisis that directed their loving hands to create a quilt or finish one that someone else had started.

One of the quilts shown will be hanging in St. Anthony’s church to remind the parish of its solidarity with its sister parish in Rukora, Tanzania, Africa. Another quilt was the work of three generations of women who worked at different times, but all with the love and strength that binds the family and their faith together. Yet another quilt was made of different caps from farm dealerships, companies of employment and sports teams. All together, this told the history of the family and its members.

Martha summarized the program by weaving together stories of personal experience with those of religious qualities of love of God and neighbor that warmed the group’s spirit as the quilts warmed the person they covered.


As the program drew to a close, a drawing was held for the door prize of an oak quilt rack, donated by Marilyn Smith of Knoxville. It was won by Betsy Schneider, a member of St. Anthony’s parish. All left feeling pleased with their quilting accomplishments and strengthened by the community of church and love of Our Savior.

(Betsy Schneider is a member of St. Anthony Parish’s Family Life Commission.)


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