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Home : Community : Charity Connection : Stories : Prayer Shawls

Stories from the Heart

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Caring and Sharing

While so many of us love making things for ourselves and our families, many in the Lion community go further, creating for those in need. Join us in this section and be touched by these true stories of caring and sharing submitted by Lion Brand readers.

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Prayer Shawls

In March of 2003 the husband of one of my friends called to our attention an article from our Lutheran magazine. We were looking for a project to do for others and this fit the bill. It was for Prayer Shawls.

We started making Prayer Shawls within the month and had 17 completed and dedicated on Mother’s Day of 2003. We use 3 skeins of the Lion Brand Homespun yarn for the shawls because it is so soft to the touch and the colors are so lovely and pleasant to the eye. We also have some more experienced knitters who have made several chemo caps from the leftover yarn and from the eyelash yarn.

The shawls are given as a gift to hospice patients in our area. We have three hospice nurses affiliated with our church so they have the pleasure of giving these lovely gifts to their dying patients hopefully to bring them some comfort in their last hours. Each shawl has a label indicating it was made with tender loving care by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Dallas, PA. A card is attached to each indicating its purpose along with a prayer of comfort to those who are wrapped in the shawl.

We have 20 dedicated women who, in their spare time, have knitted or crocheted 160 prayer shawls in the first year. Some more experienced knitters are able to finish a shawl in two weeks but then there are those of us who spend a great deal more time because we are novices. To date 140 patients have benefited from this worthwhile cause.

It is so heartwarming to receive the lovely notes of thanksgiving from families of the loved ones who received the gifts. It brings tears to our eyes each time we hear the moving story of the comfort they have brought not only to the recipients but also to their families who now have something tangible to wrap themselves in following their loss. Our very first gift was given to a patient who was having a very difficult time that particular day trying to get comfortable. Our hospice nurse laid the shawl over his body, read the prayer and immediately his body just relaxed and was at peace. He died peacefully within a few hours. In a thank you we received lately, it was indicated that the shawl was placed in the casket with the patient because it brought them so much comfort in their last days.

This wonderful project has brought many people together on a very worthwhile project. We do not meet formally but we are bound together by our purpose.

Our project has reached many people from areas other than Pennsylvania. Prayer shawls have been sent to people in Canada, California, Florida, Oregon and even North Carolina. As a result of our outreach there are other churches who have started the same project. One church, in Ohio, started their own shawl ministry as a result of visiting their cousin who is active in our knitting ministry.

Our prayer shawl ministry started out with the knitters buying their own yarn. It now has been able to continue with donations we have received from the hospice families and friends or relatives of the knitters. When our funds were getting low this spring our social ministry committee decided to have a homemade soup sale. Those monies will allow us to purchase enough yarn for 24 more shawls!

Lois R. Hardisky

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