Palettes of Prayer

Creative pursuits of all types allow us to express thoughts and feelings that can sometimes be difficult to put into words. Color, form, texture or sound can take us to a place beyond language as we continually seek transcendent experiences that elevate, challenge and inspire.

Many Sisters of the Precious Blood make art and crafts, and while the forms of their creations vary widely — carving, painting, quilting, singing and many more — they share in common a means of communion with others, and a way to reflect the beauty of God.

Quilts evoke comfort, warmth and a sense of home. A few years ago, Sister Terry Walter asked Sister Cordelia Gast, a noted artist within the Precious Blood Congregation, to join her on a shopping trip to Jo-Ann Fabric, where they picked out fabrics for Sister Terry’s first quilt. Sister Terry pieced together the quilt top by hand using the popular, traditional pattern known as the log cabin, and then quilted it, which involves adding the batting, backing and binding.

“I like to take something to quilt when I go on retreat, because it’s a very contemplative process,” Sister Terry said. Not long after beginning her foray into quilting, she moved to Guatemala with Sister Joyce Kahle to begin a new ministry: Casa Sofia, a home for women studying at local universities. Many of the quilts she makes are gifts to the young women at Casa Sofia; one quilt serves as a wall hanging for the front of the house.

Sister Terry makes some quilts in a simple block pattern, using the sewing machine; some use more elaborate designs and are made by hand. Some utilize specialized fabric; some, scraps from previous creations. All of them represent that comfort and warmth that only a handmade quilt can provide, as well as the contemplative spirit in which Sister Terry makes them.

In another creative pursuit, Sister Terry also utilizes that contemplative spirit to write prayers, which the Congregation has used on prayer cards and at homicide vigils in Guatemala.

“I get very inspired when writing prayers,” Sister Terry said. “It’s the feeling that the Holy Spirit is speaking through me. I feel the Spirit’s passion. The Spirit wants to get people praying.”

Story by Mary Knapke

Sister Terry arranges fabric shapes; examples of her quilts; contributed photos.

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