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.

Sister Maria Luisa Miller learned to crochet while attending school at Fatima Hall, the Congregation’s former school in Dayton. That skill remained with her over the years, and about four years ago, she began crocheting in earnest. She most often makes baby blankets.

“It’s something that’s easy to do while watching TV in the evening,” she said. “It can also be a very prayerful activity.” She initially made some blankets for family members. She then also began to make them for parishioners — particularly the Haitian immigrants who had settled in the area. Tens of thousands of Haitians have migrated to Chile over the past two decades.

“Sometimes they didn’t have much for their babies, so it was just something I could do to try to help them,” she said. Sister Maria Luisa has served in mission in Chile since 1966.

Sister Rita Manriquez, also in Chile, makes a variety of crafts that she has learned by either watching others or watching YouTube videos. She enjoys designing bracelets, rings, pins and angels; paints mandalas; makes blankets and ponchos; and makes greeting cards, especially for birthdays or anniversaries of the Sisters.

“All these crafts I have performed as therapy that helped me relax when I had a lot of work, and it is also a method of contemplation,” she said.

She gives almost all her creations to others. “I often make crafts while thinking lovingly about the people to whom I will give them, and thanking God for them in my life. I always believe in thanking God for the opportunity, time, materials and means I have to perform these works that I give with great affection.”

Story by Mary Knapke

Top, baby blanket by Sister Maria Luisa, contributed photo; second, crafts by Sister Rita, Michelle Bodine photo; bottom, Sister Maria Luisa crochets while her sister’s dog, Sparky, watches; contributed photo.

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