More Stories and Inspirations

Shawl Stories
Myrtle W. and Diana Z.
 Diana made a shawl for her mother's 101st birthday.

"She had been a knitter all her life, and loves the feel the shawl around her.  
It helps me to know that although I am not with her, a part of me is there, 
wrapped around her  in the shawl."   Diana Z. - Winnipeg/Manitoba, Canada
Photographer Terry Drennan - photo used with permission
Our soup ministry began for about the same purpose the shawl ministry began.
  After reading about the shawl ministry in the "Anthonian" magazine, I passed the magazine
to one of the girls in the soup ministry.  Since I cannot crochet or knit I thought it best to 
pass this on to someone who does have that talent.  So we incorporated it into our 
soup ministry and have passed out about 12 shawls to date.  Our recipients are so very grateful.
  It is a wonderful wonderful ministry and fits right in with soup.  Sis W.
 - St. Mary's Soup Ministry, Star City, WV
This type of kindness is never wasted on the elderly. Anon.

My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with stage 4 metastasis renal cell carcinoma... She and I have had a

very rough relationship over the last 8 years.  I married her oldest son only 2 months after I went into

remission for bone cancer - they thought we were too young - and at times they didn't believe

I was ill because I didn't "look" sick - so over the last 8 years we've been less than "close" - My husband

and I have a 3 year old daughter and because of her I've tried to let the past be the past -

but you must know that some hurts run deep.


I have prayed daily since her first surgery - prayed to god that he would give me the strength to let go

of the anger I had toward my in-laws... and I woke up one morning and just knew that this was the beginning

of my *new* relationship with them...  we both had a hard time with it at first - but I had her over for

coffee for the first time in 8 years just the other day - she sat down in my living room and

we shared coffee and talked like we had never talked before...


now that she is preparing to undergo treatment I wanted to do something to show her how much I care -

to show her that I know (personally) that the road she is about to travel will be

difficult - and one of my knitter friends showed me your site.


I ran out today and got my needles and my yarn (her favorite color, pink) and have

begun my work.  I prayed long and hard over my hands and my needles

and the yarn and will work until it is finished.  I am also making her a matching journal -


Thank you for sharing this beautiful pattern with the world -

and for giving me something to help bridge the waters between

 my mother in law and myself - I appreciate it.


Christall M.


Last spring my sister, Bev, was dying of CA of the brain.  She was bedridden by April. 

At the end of April at my Eastern Star meeting in Enfield, Ct. Carlene F.

approached me and said she had a prayer shawl that she had

made for Bev.  I agreed to bring it to Bev, but, it was almost a week

before I got it to her.  I brought it to her as I was leaving for

Grand Chapter in Farmington, Ct.  I wrapped her in

the shawl and myself and said a prayer for her. 

When we stopped on our way home four days later, we

got the shock of our lives.  There was Bev sitting in her chair

in the living room and she recognized us.  (Myself and her good friend, Louise).

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I was a little skeptical

at first, but, I believed in that shawl after that.  It was a good

two weeks after that that she became bedridden again and eventually died in June. 

I have her shawl with me and I am using it now for my other sister, Judy,

who has kidney failure.  Carlene again made a shawl for

Judy and I brought it to her in November.  I was told that

using Bev's shawl will strengthen Judy's prayers. 

I am ever so grateful for Carlene for introducing me to the prayer shawl.


Millie A.  Wilbraham, Ma



You probably heard about our congregation, Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in

New Sweden, Maine April 27, 2003. This is when 16 members of our

church were treated for arsenic poisoning. One of our older members died that day.

It's the kind of story that you think will never happen to you or in your little town.

As you can imagine, there were satellite dishes on the church lawn,

reporters everywhere, and just generally a nightmare for this small, Swedish town

where the most excitement happens during the annual Midsummer Festival in June.


After this horrible, horrible time, we received many cards, e-mails,

and good wishes for our congregation. Two things I remember the most

from this time were the gifts of prayer shawls and the notes that came with them. 

A Lutheran Church in California sent one and told of how they had

prayed for each of the victims. I'm sure I wasn't the only one

crying that Sunday morning. Another prayer shawl

came from a church in Maine. This shawl went to the widow of our member that died.


Thank you for this ministry. I think I'd like to start one in our church.

Perhaps this would help our healing. Debbie B.

A little over 4 years ago, my mother died of Pancreatic Cancer 
after a 6 month illness. I was blessed to be able to move home and 
stay with her until 72 hours before her death when she asked to go 
to a Hospice Facility.  She had been working on a "shrug" for me...
but it required concentration to count the rows that she no longer had.
 I asked her what she wanted me to do with this unfinished project...
and she told me to begin to unravel it...which I tearfully did. 
A short time after her passing, I picked up those balls of yarn 
and made an afghan (ripple style) adding other yarn to create the
 length I wanted. Whenever I really miss her or need to feel her 
presence, I wrap up in that afghan!  In a way...that has been 
a "shawl" for me! I'm So glad to see that I stumbled upon a meaningful,
 prayerful experience of remembering!  I can't wait to begin my 
first shawl! Peace and all good! Mary Helen J.
Recently I had forwarded a shawl to a coworker entering hospice care.
This lady was not well known to me, but had worked for this company for many
years as a manager with multiple responsibilities.    She had been fighting her cancer
for most of my time with the company, so we didn't get to know one another.

After a painful, valiant struggle, and with much pain, she passed away.  The day of her
memorial service, the church was full of her fellow congregants, family, friends, and
numerous coworkers, past and present. I was seated rather far back, without a clear
view of the altar.   As I approached the front for holy communion, I saw the reliquary
with her ashes, resting upon her prayer shawl as it draped over the pedestal.

That was a sight never to be forgotten.......  We can sometimes never know this
side of our eternity how our actions can affect another.   So I'll keep on with the
prayer shawl ministry as long as I have to do so.  Maryellen A.
We had our start-up meeting of the Shawl Ministry last night. Ten women came, ready
to start. Our ministry started kind of backwards. One of the women (Carolyn) had received a 
shawl when she was going through breast cancer and was now making a shawl for someone.
She didn't know of anyone at the time she began the shawl but after our first Health Care 
Ministry meeting, and I asked for prayers for my brother Frank, dying of cancer, she realized who
that shawl was for.  She called me up (we are now real close friends, just after 3 weeks of 
really knowing one another) and asked me if I would like the shawl for Frank.  I was thrilled. 
I will ask my brother if, when I give him the shawl, Carolyn can come with me.  
She has been through so much.   She finished the shawl, praying for Frank and his family and
brought it to the meeting last night.  Our pastor came over to say hello to us and we
started our ministry by blessing the first shawl for my brother.  Anne A. 
My father's only sister and a favorite aunt was killed last October when
a semi hit her car on a very dangerous stretch of I95 in the East Lyme, 
Connecticut area.  We were all devastated and greatly saddened by this loss.
Her daughter and granddaughter were hurt the most as they were all three
very close -- more like three best friends than mother, daughter and
granddaughter.  My Aunt Grace (and she did bring a lot of grace to the 
family) had started knitting her granddaughter a prayer shawl, using 
your pattern and inspiration, weeks before the accident.  Her granddaughter
wanted it extra long and so my aunt kept knitting and knitting. It was
unfinished when Grace suddenly died and they brought it to me to complete.
It was a very emotional experience for me.  I thought a lot about what Aunt
Grace meant to me, and what her reasons were to wrap her granddaughter
in the nurturing love of a knitted prayer shawl. She was probably going to
knit her daughter a shawl next, but the accident ended her life.  I wanted to
continue where Grace left off in love and add my own love, prayers, sorrow
and optimism into those stitches.  It was truly an honor to be asked to finish
the shawl. Well, as you can see by the pictures, the shawl is long!  It is long
enough to wrap around both Grace's daughter and granddaughter . . .
and even her brother.  Love goes a long way in this ministry.  Thank you 
from the bottom of our hearts for this great inspiration and another way to
make Grace's grace live on in our lives.  Carol M. 
My marriage was ending after 25 yrs. 
I had known my husband since adolescence and had married him after college. 
My daughter was away at school and I found myself alone for the first time in my life. 
A few years earlier I had enrolled in the Women's Leadership Institute at the Hartford Seminary. 
There I had bonded with the 9 other women in my learning circle. 
When one of my learning circle sisters discovered I was going through a 
divorce, she knit me a prayer shawl.  One winters day she came to my home and 
presented me with a cottony soft brown flecked shawl with beads and trinkets 
interspersed in the fringe. I wrapped myself in it as she told me that my "sisters" 
had blessed the shawl and prayed for my strength during this transition time. 
When my "sister" left,  I sat in the rocking chair wrapped in my shawl and cried. 
The threads of yarn were like their arms wrapped around me in support. 
For me the shawl represents a tangible source of comfort. 
Whenever I need to grieve, I wrap myself in it and feel the strength of my 
sisters whispering, " you are strong, you can crawl through this dark night 
of the soul and emerge transformed."  M.M.



A newly widowed friend was left off at her house on a very cold, winter night.  
She shared that she'd be okay because she could wrap herself in her shawl which 
comforts her so much when she's alone with her thoughts.

A recent divorcee keeps her shawl, made for her by her friends, 
always nearby for comfort.

A woman recovery from a mastectomy was told by her nurse to rest her sore arm
on a baby pillow in her bed at home.  Her husband looked far and wide for a baby 
pillow, but was unsuccessful, so she was going to use a harder throw pillow.  It 
didn't feel right. She folded her shawl under her arm and it was perfect… just 
soft enough for the job.  She shares that she wears her shawl all the time and 
gets so much comfort from it during these difficult times, that she intends to 
take it with her to her chemo and radiation treatments.
I finished the shawl last week, and after passing it around my family so everyone could
see how it felt wrapped around them, sent it onto my friend.  I got the sweetest
voice mail from her husband, wishing that I could have been there to see her open
it.  They told me that they both cried!  My friend is very weak now, and spends her
days in the recliner, so she is wearing her purple hug all day long!
I found the process of making the shawl highly therapeutic.  It was wonderful lesson
for my children (both boys, ages 10 and 12) about how we can always find
something to do, even though we feel helpless in the face of such harsh circumstances.
The shawl spent many nights with my family.  I worked on through homework angst,
the beginning of a trumpet career, and spent evenings nestled between my husband
and I, as it grew.  I included these thoughts to my friend, so she would know how often
she was in our thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for this fabulous idea.  I don't know how
I would have coped with this time otherwise.  Carol Orr
I had planned to make it (a shawl) for a friend, but I learned that my daughter-in-law's
grandma, who I love like my own, is failing rapidly, so I decided that she needed it.
She is 90.  We went to visit her and I included in the card the Prayer Of Blessing 
(blessing for a completed shawl) By: Janet Bristow.  My personal message said that I thought of,
and prayed for her as I knitted her shawl.  She is very alert and seemed pleased as did my
daughter-in-law and her mother.  My daughter-in-law read the prayer and the whole card to her.
I explained to my daughter-in-law beforehand about the ministry and just told a little to Grandma,
that it was to show love and bring comfort.  My son's in-laws are very good to us and I was glad
to have this meaningful way to express my love for her mother.  I shall now start the shawl for
my friend.  Nancy D.
Post Script: Now that Grandma passed away... my daughter-in-law took what she calls the
"Love Shawl" because of its sentimental value.  That makes me feel very good.
Submitted By: Gladys Cole - Shawl Ministry - Epiphany Cathedral - Venice, FL 
From an article in NCR
Mantra For Healing and Peace
In memory of Bishop Raymond Lucker - who died of cancer on September 19, 2002
While dying in the hospital a priest friend asked Bishop Lucker what he was doing and
his response was:
"I am just sitting here and letting Jesus love me."
While reflecting in prayer I said to Wisdom:
"Let me be your servant".
And what I heard was:
"You don't have any choice!"
Reverend Susan Izard
Director of the Spiritual Life Ministry at
First Church of Christ Congregational
West Hartford, CT, USA
Unexpectedly last year I received a prayer shawl in the mail, while home recovering from a double
mastectomy.  It was a very low time for me.  When I opened the package a wonderful soft and dreamy
shawl was inside, with prayers and wishes from the Congregational Church of Rocky Hill, CT group.
This wonder has been with me for 5 surgeries and several hospitalizations during the last year.
It has given me hope and comfort, enveloped me when I have not wanted to further burden my family
with my sorrows.  I am a knitter myself, and finally on the Lion Brand Yarn web-site this morning I have
found the pattern, which will enable me to make some for other women who are in recovery, many of
whom have none to comfort them.  I'm very blessed with a wonderful, caring husband and family,
and I am very aware of how hard it must be to face this alone.  Thank you so much for your inspiration
that started this mission.  You are all angels.  Sincerely, Jan D.
Recently, two beginning knitters from Texas were sharing their frustrations about learning to knit 
at a small dinner party, and one announced that she had ripped her shawl out three times and was
about to give up.  From the end of the table, a voice quietly said, "Let me tell you what it means 
to be a recipient of one of those shawls."  (This woman had received the very first shawl from 
their church's Shawl Ministry.  She is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer....her husband 
of over 50 years died during her treatment)  "I keep my prayer shawl folded at the foot of my bed.  
Some nights I wake up and can't go back to sleep.  I reach for my shawl and wrap it around me.  
I am filled with peace and I snuggle in and go back to sleep.  So you just keep trying!"
Melanie Fahey
St. Michael's Episcopal Church
Houston, Texas
My first shawl was made for my brother who was in a motorcycle accident on Easter Sunday. 
As a consequence of the accident he lost both legs and is paralyzed below the diaphragm. 
Knitting the prayer shawl for him in the waiting room of intensive care as he fought for his life was 
first a ministry to me and to those waiting when they found out what I was knitting - "Knit faster" 
was what they told me. ...prayer was like a mantra for me as was the knit 3 purl 3 rhythm. 
Colin sleeps with his shawl every night and finds great comfort in it. 
Three weeks after the accident my mother had a heart attack and I again started knitting in the 
waiting rooms - shawls are a great ministry witness! She's doing fine now. And just this past week, 
a doctor friend had to undergo angioplasty. He's a very private person and didn't want 
people to know about his condition. I knit a "heart" sized shawl very quickly because he was 
undergoing the procedure in two days. He put the "shawl" under his head during the procedure 
and told me today what a great comfort it was to have something tangible representing all the 
intangible thoughts and prayers it held. This is a wonderful ministry and I'm so glad you contacted 
us with your site information.  Diane K. Synod Resource Center - Wisconsin
This web site  had a profound effect on my life.  I came upon it by accident.  I was up early Sunday morning.  
I was not feeling well and decided to amuse myself on line.  I am a 58 year young female.  
I have Crohns disease, Parkinson and just had surgery on Jan 6th.  I had a tumor on my appendix that in 
compassed the colon and both ovaries.  I had a third of  my colon removed.  The appendix and both ovaries.  
I went in to the operation thinking that I had cancer.  I was at peace with it all.  the good news was that it 
was not cancer.  I am getting stronger everyday. I am Jewish and a knitter.  I have knitted things my whole life 
and given them as gifts.  in 1986 I had a near death experience.  I saw the light, heard the music and meet 
my father again.  I also knew that I was in the presence of God.  I was told that I had to go back to my body.  
I had a mission to accomplish on earth.  I think that I have finally found my mission.  Being Jewish, I am quite
familiar with pray shawls.  Men cover their heads and shoulders and pray with the shawl on. Women also are 
wearing pray shawls to pray.  The idea spoke to me about wearing them for nursing, cancer patients, 
to heal etc.  I know that it would comfort me.  I have so many challenge in my life right now.  The one thing 
that I do know that to give something as inspiring  and made with love and full of good thoughts is a most 
wonderful gift to give.  I just wanted to let you know that I am going to try to gather special people to do this
wonderful mitzvoth.  I think that it was meant to be that I should find you most wonderful angels.  Judith J.

As a traditional Master in The Usui System of Reiki Healing, I practice a daily discipline of reciting the Five Precepts
of Dr. Usui, and of hands-on self treatment.  I have extended that to the knitting.  Each day before I add some
inches to the current shawl, I take it in my hands and treat it, imagining that I am also "treating" the person
who will eventually turn to the shawl for comfort and healing.  I then recite those Five Precepts:
feel no anger
have no worries
show gratitude
be diligent in all undertakings
treat others with kindness.
I find myself saying those Precepts several times as I knit, and my intention is that the consciousness brought
about by the energy of those Precepts be blended into the shawl.
The other field that I teach is The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music  And some day as I knit,
I listen intentionally to some particular pieces of music that I have found to be exceptionally healing, and
imagined that the vibrations of the music can somehow blend into the shawl.  I am considering including
a special CD along with the gift of the shawl.
Linda Keiser Mardis
Consultations and Training for Healing, Self-exploration, and Spiritual Discernment
My name is Lisa Richmond and I am the Administrative Assistant at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Richland, 
Washington.  In February of 2002, a member of our parish, saw the article written by Susan Izard about the 
Prayer Shawl Ministry.  She showed the article to our Pastoral Care Team, a group of parishioners that visits 
members of our church who are in the hospital and keeps tabs on other members who are ill or in any type
of crisis.  They immediately welcomed the idea of starting a prayer shawl group in our church.

A year later we have a group of 19 women who are making shawls on a regular basis.  So far we have 
handed out 157 shawls to parishioners, family, and friends.  We have had people who have received shawls 
or heard of our ministry request information about the prayer shawl ministry so that they can start a similar 
group in their church.   Our Shawl Ministry has a monthly get-together, very informal, to knit and share stories 
about our shawls, compare colors, and generally have quality fellowship time together.  
It's a very popular activity!  

We recently had a speaker at our church, Noemi, a Hungarian woman who was a prisoner at Auschwitz.  
She was a wonderful speaker, full of joy and inner peace, while telling us stories of the horrible conditions
under which she suffered.  At the end of her presentation, we presented her with a shawl.  She was grateful 
and deeply touched by the gift. 

As a member of the Prayer Shawl Ministry and find it incredibly fulfilling to create something that is so appreciated.  
The Bible speaks of each of us having special talents and using those in God's service.  I am delighted to have 
found a way to use my abilities to His glory.  It is also heartwarming to know that I am part of such a large 
fraternity of people doing the same thing to help those in need.  
It is truly a very special ministry.

In God's Peace,
Lisa Richmond
All Saint's Episcopal Church - Richland Washington
Special Photos


Dr. Craig Whitcher Pastor of Congregational Church of Topsfield, Massachusetts.  Baptizing twins: Zachary and Zoe.  Baptismal shawls knitted by the church's group of knitters ages 9 and up. The congregational church has 50 adult knitters who meet on a regular basis!


Zachary O.



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