Youth sews his way into people’s hearts


By Patti McTaggart

Serving others seems to go hand in hand with Will Colony’s persona. It’s part of who he is as a Catholic.

On April 21, I received an email from Will asking if St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Iowa City needed any protective masks to give to people during this current coronavirus pandemic.

Will Colony, a graduating senior from Regina High School and member of St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Iowa City, shows off one of the masks he made.

“My grandma, Ellen Colony, taught me how to sew when I was about 10 years old,” said Will, a 2020 graduating senior from Regina High School in Iowa City. “My grandma thought it was very important for a young man to know how to sew. She studied Home Economics at Iowa State in the late 1940s and was a very creative seamstress in her younger years — she even made her and her two daughters’ wedding dresses!”


Will has made more than 175 reusable cloth masks and has given them to family, friends, the University of Iowa, the North Liberty Health Center, Regina teachers, the Iowa City Senior Center, and his parish — St. Mary’s.  And he’s not done yet!

“With the pandemic striking the country, and face masks being very hard to come by, I thought this was the perfect time for me to dust off the sewing skills I learned years earlier from Grandma and make masks for the Iowa City community,” Will said.

Personally, as someone who in eighth grade was politely asked to spend the rest of her time in study hall because I jammed two sewing machines in home economics class, I still get a twitch around sewing machines!

So, I was especially impressed with the detail and quality of Will’s handiwork. Each mask is different and quite comfortable for people to wear. They look terrific and the people that have received them so far are just thrilled to have them!

You may also recognize Will as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at St. Mary’s. He is one of those young people who understands that his service to the needs of others flows from the Eucharist at Mass. Even though he is currently unable to receive and distribute Communion, Will’s outreach continues in the community with the strength of his “spiritual Communion.”

Will Colony and his grandmother are example-setters for all of us — young and young at heart.  I am grateful to Will and Grandma Ellen for keeping many people connected in such a meaningful way with their “stitches of God’s love”!

(Patti McTaggart is youth minister at St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Iowa City.)

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