“Prosper for us the work of our hands – O prosper the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17
The Nazareth Sewing Ministry began last year in 2018 as an extension of the St. Joseph Church Haiti Sewing Ministry. Marie Seaman, SFCC started that ministry eight years ago as a way for people to get involved with their sister parish in Haiti by making ‘love dresses and shorts” to be sent with the groups who pilgrim there each year. The group meets only during the month of January but have brought countless smiles to children in Haiti in those eight years.
Elaine Belflowers, who has been making “love dresses” for Haiti for several years has recently become more and more involved with the SCN Missions – by becoming an SCN Associate, volunteering in Appalachia and also at the visitor’s center. Combining her love of sewing with her passion for volunteering, Elaine approached Sr. Luke Boiarski, director of the SCN Lay Volunteer Mission Program, about beginning a sewing ministry at Nazareth for her many mission trips. Now, a year and a half later, there are 21 active women (about half are involved in the St. Joseph ministry too) that get together quarterly at Nazareth to bring their creations, they have made at home, to be shared with the children and families in Belize, Appalachia, Mississippi, New Orleans, and Montana! It is beautiful to see how the seeds of ministry continue to blossom and grow. After the group met in May, the ladies were asked to share how they were drawn to this ministry and also how being part of this group has touched their heart.
Here are some of their heartfelt responses:
“I had recently retired and was looking for a volunteer opportunity. Not sure why I went to the SCN website. Perhaps it was because my grade school teachers were SCNs. However, once I was on the site and saw the sewing ministry I thought to myself, ‘I could sew these little dresses’! After the first meeting I knew this was a group of authentic women with servant hearts.”
“I feel God has blessed me with the talent to sew and I feel I should help others in need. When we get to see pictures of the children and the mothers receiving the gifts we make, it touches my heart.” Romanie Ritchie
“I was invited to join this ministry and in turn invited a friend to come with me. I love sewing, but when I worked I never had time. It is a ministry of love and that is the driving force. Please join us and see for yourself!” Jo Paulin, SCNA
“I remember learning long ago that a sacrament was an ‘outward sign of an inward reality’—and that there are capital ‘S’ Sacraments and small ‘s’ sacramentals. Well, this sewing ministry is certainly a sacramental for me. It is an opportunity to use something as tangible as making clothes for people in need to connect with them and pray for them….and so to meet Jesus with every stitch!” Sr. Marilyn King
“Helping others was a part of our upbringing as a family from a very early age.” Margaret Mattingly
“This ministry has changed me in that I consider more now all of the things that I take for granted and am therefore more grateful. It is also very good to be surrounded by so many people who want to make the world a better place.” Linda Shaw
“I found out about the Nazareth sewing ministry from Marie Seaman, who started and coordinates the Haiti sewing ministry at St. Joe. About that time, I lost a friend unexpectedly. I decided to promise to make at least a dozen dresses in his memory. I actually make 18 and enjoyed doing it!” Donna Snider
“I look forward to being with a dedicated, creative, and fun group while sewing for such a worthwhile cause. When we hear the stories of how grateful the children and adults are to receive our offerings, we just want to do more and more to help. Not all of us can physically go on mission trips, but this ministry make us feel like we are a part of each of them.” Jane Harrison
“I found the ministry while perusing the SCN Nazareth website during an insomnia night. I was looking for a way to feel more connected to my sister who was an SCN and went to God in 2013 (Rose Riley). I wanted to feel as if in a small way, I was carrying a very small torch of good in comparison to all that she did. Every item that I make for the sewing ministry brings me such joy. It literally brings a smile to my face when I think of the little girl or boy in Belize or other ministry that will choose it. Each little dress or pair of shorts is my favorite, until I make the next one. My husband, three adult daughters and my teenage granddaughter get so excited to see and offer suggestions for my creations so it really feels like a family effort. We also have such a lovely group of women who comprise the sewing ministry who are always open to any new ideas and suggestions for further projects. And just being on the Nazareth campus brings me such inner peace!” Mary B. Hall
I’ve always enjoyed sewing, but knowing what I was doing in this Ministry made me feel really good–just knowing that I was making some young child happy to receive a pretty dress or pair of shorts that they may never have had before. It’s been fun to see all the different creations that we’ve made. The friendships are some I’ll treasure for a long time.” Nancy Stumph
“Every time we receive pictures of the little ones who receive the items we make and donate, my heart is filled with joy for providing one small new and clean item for a boy or girl or mom who likely has never had anything new made especially for them.” Elaine Belflowers