Quilts are ‘labor of love’ that graduates will take to college

| June 18, 2013 | 0 Comments
As quilter Winnie White-Scherber watches, Cristo Rey graduate Jasmyn Taylor reacts to the custom-made quilt she received June 7 from the quilting group at Pax Christi in Eden Prairie. The group worked during the school year to make quilts for all 47 graduating seniors. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

As quilter Winnie White-Scherber watches, Cristo Rey graduate Jasmyn Taylor reacts to the custom-made quilt she received June 7 from the quilting group at Pax Christi in Eden Prairie. The group worked during the school year to make quilts for all 47 graduating seniors. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

There is an old superstition among quilters that the first person who sleeps under a new quilt will have his or her dreams come true. Members of the quilting group at Pax Christi in Eden Prairie hope this proves true for the recipients of a project they have worked on since last September and recently completed.

The group presented quilts to each of the 47 seniors graduating from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis during the annual “graduation shower” June 7. All 47 graduates are headed to colleges in the fall, and the quilters wanted to send them off with something created especially for them.

The group of 18 women gathered twice each month to work on the project. “We prayed for the project, we prayed for the students as a whole and individually as we worked on their quilts,” said Becky Jensen, a member of the quilting group.

At the start of the school year, the seniors were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their interests and hobbies as well as their favorite colors. But they were not told what it was for.

As the “shower” began, the lights went down and a slideshow started on a big screen in the front of the school’s auditorium. As the students watched slides of the quilters doing their work, it began to sink in that they would be getting one of these special quilts.

“Watching the realization as it hit them that what they were seeing on the slideshow was connected to their biography and then to them — it was a very tearful and joyful experience all the way around,” Jensen said.

“All of you and your quilts have been prayed over all year long,” she told the seniors as they were seeing their quilts for the first time.

Photo courtesy of Pax Christi, Eden Prairie

Photo courtesy of Pax Christi, Eden Prairie

A personal gift

Antonio Delaluz, who will be attending Normandale Community College in Bloomington, was very surprised to receive his sports-themed quilt, and excited to take it home to show his family.

“There are no words to describe it,” he said. “I thank God for them and I’ll cherish this forever.”

The quilters were happy that they were able to see the students open their quilts.

“The appreciation that we did something for each of them individually was just heartwarming,” said Mary Jo Hollinger, a member of the quilting group.

Senior Jessica Niola-Lazo likes pink — a lot.

“I wrote that I love pink in big bold letters on my biography sheet,” she said. And as she looked at the beautiful pink quilt made just for her, she said, “I’m really thankful they did this.”

“I’m really grateful because these people don’t even know us,” said Niola-Lazo, who will be taking her quilt with her to the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.

A history of giving

Members of the quilting group have been meeting twice a month since 2006. They have made numerous works of art that are displayed at Pax Christi as well as hundreds of quilts that have been given to local charities.

Cristo Rey is a grant recipient of Pax Christi’s stewardship committee, and some parish members that own businesses provide internships for students.

“Their community has been interested and invested in the success of our students almost since the school opened [in 2007],” said Annemarie Hansen, the school’s director of admissions and communications.

The students also received either a backpack filled with school supplies or a set of sheets — depending on whether they are staying at home for college or going away  — and a laundry bag, all donated by some of the school’s Hire4Ed Work-Study partner companies.

The school’s president, Jesuit Father Tim Manatt, blessed the quilts during a Mass at Pax Christi in May.

“The prayer which the Pax Christi quilters brought to the enterprise was very moving, especially when the seniors learned the identity of their anonymous prayer partners,” Father Manatt said.  “As for the quilts, our graduates will have a daily reminder — at least during the fall and winter — of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and its myriad supporters.”

For the quilters, the experience was a labor of love.

“It’s just been such a joy,”said Sigrid Ruhland Mellby, the liason between the school and Pax Christi. “You definitely get more back than you give.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Featured, Local News