Prayer Shawl Ministry praises generosity of charity knitters

107-year-old celebrates birthday by knitting

Church groups are a great place for knitters to share skills and work together on important charity projects.

Providing a community space to meet and plenty of willing volunteers you can often find many likeminded people who are keen to do their bit for the local area through the medium of craft.

This is exactly what Eileen Novotny of Canfield, Ohio found six years ago when she founded the Ursuline Sisters' Prayer Shawl Ministry.

She told Vindy that she was extremely proud of the members and grateful for their kind generosity in buying quality yarns and spending hours of their time to knit or crochet shawls for those in need.

Each design typically takes between 30 and 40 hours and must be of a high standard so that it can be washed repeatedly.

Ms Novotny of the Ursuline Center said: "Everybody can do something to make life better for somebody else. It's just a matter of choosing, and these ladies choose to do that."

The group has created more than 700 handmade prayer shawls over the past few years which have been distributed to a range of organisations, including the Ursuline Sisters' HIV/AIDS Ministry and the Hope Cancer Center.

Each of the shawls is designed to offer physical warmth for patients as well as healing benefits, for the recipients and the group members who spend their time making them.

She told the publication: "As we work on them at home, we're connecting with somebody who is hurting. The prayer shawls are a perfect match with the Ursuline Sisters' ministry and mission, which is helping the poor and the marginalised and the abused of this valley."

Before each of the shawls are sent off the women collectively bless them and then deliver them to the recipient with a prayer card, which features and tiny cross and heart charms attached.

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