‘Like a gift of prayer in the form of a quilt’

Nearly every month at Assumption’s parish hall in Atco, 12-18 volunteers get together to make quilts for the needy, a prayer in every pearl cotton string, square, and guardian angel design.

Since 2007, 300-plus quilts have been created at the parish and given to anyone with an illness or just in need of some hope and comfort. Anyone who would “like a gift of prayer in the form of a quilt,” Diana Quirbin, coordinator of the Quilt Ministry, says.

The quilt ministry at Assumption was inspired by similar ministries at other parishes, she mentioned. Today, there are about 45-50 volunteers signed up for the quilt ministry. On average, there are almost 20 individuals each month, cutting out squares, threading pearl cotton string throughout the quilt, and filling the quilt with padding.

The ministry receives requests from not only Assumption parishioners, but anyone in the Diocese of Camden or elsewhere who believes that a loved one could benefit from a quilt, be it a cancer patient, a person awaiting surgery, or one grieving the loss of someone close to them.

Quirbin knows the impact of these quilts is immeasurable. She cites the story of a sick woman who received a quilt, and, shortly before she died, requested to be buried with it. In another case, a father dying of cancer was given a quilt, and, after he died, a quilt was made for his grieving daughter.

Each month, an average of 12-19 quilts are made, and each week, one or two are blessed at Assumption Masses, by the priest and the whole congregation, with the name of the recipient being made known.

After the Mass, parishioners are invited to tie knots into the pearl cotton thread, that is intentionally left hanging off the quilt; each knot symbolizes a prayer to the recipient, and it is hoped they feel healing when they “cover themselves in prayer,” said Quirbin.

Sewn into each quilt is a guardian angel.

Quilt owners write thank-you notes to the ministry, grateful for the “helping hands, angels” who have provided them not only with a warm blanket, but also warm blessings.

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