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Brooklyn Cloister in Stitches

by Antonina Zielinska

SmilingWhen World Youth Day pilgrims go to confession in Spain this August and kneel to kiss the stole of their confessor, they may come in contact with purple cloth hand stitched in Brooklyn.

The Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará Sisters, who reside in the contemplative monastery of St. Edith Stein, Flatlands, stitched 25 stoles that have already been shipped to Madrid as part of the “Just a Stitch Away” World Youth Day campaign. It took them half a year to complete the project, while maintaining their already busy work and prayer schedules.  Four sisters did the majority of the stitching before their mother superior came with another sister from Argentina.

“We took this as an extra sacrifice offered freely in order to help World Youth Day,” said Sister Annunciation, S.S.V.M., who worked on the project from the beginning. “We saw it as a little way, in addition to our prayers, to participate with our work to give praise and glory to God.”

Mother Superior Maria Del Redentor said the sisters will not be able to partake in the pilgrimage because they are a closed cloister but they already are keeping the pilgrims in their prayers.

“We know this will be an opportunity for young people to come in close contact with God,” she said. “Some may be inspired to give their life completely to God. So we pray that they may have the strength to hear their calling.”

It is the sisters’ concern for all the people of the world that brought them to this project. During Lent, the sisters have a tradition of sewing the baby Jesus a vestment related to a special intention they choose to pray for. This year they dressed him in traditional Spanish garments in honor of World Youth Day. WYD

The sisters sent the World Youth Day committee a photo of their work.  In turn, they received information about the “Cozer y Cantar.” The project became part of the sisters’ celebration of the 25th anniversary of their community.

“We think this will be good to give as an offering to the Church in gratitude for being in this institute,” said Mother Superior Maria.

When the sisters sent their offering to Spain, they included a letter to Pope Benedict XVI.  The mother superior said the sisters are excited to have had this opportunity.  She pointed out that the pope will donate the stoles to new missions in poor regions of the world.

3 Responses to “Brooklyn Cloister in Stitches”

  1. Daria says:

    “When World Youth Day pilgrims go to confession in Spain this August and kneel to kiss the stole of their confessor”

    This has me very confused. I know the misspelling of “sewing” in this article is an error, but is the phrase appearing above a mistake or a reference to some ritual not practiced in America?

    • azielinska says:

      The tradition is practiced more frequently in Europe. Priests wear stoles and let them hang out of the confessional. Confessors may then kneel before it and kiss it as a sign of reverence to Jesus (the confessor would kiss the small cross stitched on the stole.) Many immigrant parishes in New York continue this tradition.

      And good catch on the “sow.”

      Thank you for reading.

  2. Jess says:

    What a happy coincidence that after I read this article about this order of nuns, I received an email from a dear friend with the news that she will be joining them in August. How much more wonderful could it be? I pray for the Sisters and I pray for my sister in Christ who will soon be a Sister for Christ.

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