One of the biggest draws for many socials in the Southern Indiana area is the opportunity to win a handmade quilt. It has been no different for the Sisters of St. Benedict summer socials which are held every five years. Sister Leona Schlachter coordinated the quilt-making efforts for the most recent summer social, which was held last June. “I made many phone calls,” she relates. “People donated quilts to our social, but three of us – Sister Dolorita Libs, Sister Laura Marie Schmitt, and I – also quilted and bound many [of the over 70] quilts.”
Although Sister Leona had done embroidery work, she never pictured herself quilting. “When I was a teacher and when I worked at Kordes, I never thought I would be quilting,” she confesses. Sister Leona began quilting about seven years ago to help get ready for the 2012 Summer Social. “One thing led to another and Sister Dolorita and I just connected. She was an inspiration [to me] and I did a little at a time. I worked at it until I got it.”
Sister Dolorita began sewing scraps of material together using her mother’s sewing machine before the age of 12. “My legs were too short to reach the pedals,” she relates. “My mother put a Sears Roebuck catalog under the pedal so I could reach it.” Sister Dolorita’s mother taught her how to quilt by hand. “She allowed me to try to quilt along the edges of the quilt because my stitches were crooked. Little by little I acquired better stitches.”
Sister Laura Marie, who currently works in the monastery kitchen, shared that her first mentors for quilting were her mother and her aunt. “They took pride in what they did. They would always analyze everyone’s quilts and were very precise. No crooked corners. I always admired how pretty my mother’s quilts were.” Sister Laura Marie has helped with quilting for the past two or three socials and shared that she “got into the action” when she returned to the monastery after a career in teaching and Sister Leona invited her to work on a quilt that was in a frame in the sisters’ activity room.
All three sisters find that quilting is an avenue for their creative and artistic energies and also provides time for quiet and contemplation. “Quilting is calming and contemplative [to me] especially if I am by myself,” shares Sister Leona. The sisters also recognize that the quilting that they do fits into a larger history of quilting. “I used to admire the old quilts, especially really old quilts. It gave me a great feeling to know that I was following an art that many women found a necessity. I also enjoy the work which is being carried on by quilters today,” shares Sister Dolorita.
Several opportunities are available for those who are interested in owning a quilt stitched or bound by the sisters.
A monthly quilt raffle began in January and will continue until June. For 10 dollars, one can purchase a raffle ticket and have an opportunity to win one of four beautiful quilts per month. Drawings are held on the first Friday of each month. The names of the winners are posted on our website, www.thedome.org. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Jill Scherzer at 812-367-1411, extension 2639.
Quilts can be viewed and purchased at Monastery Gift Shop, which is located on the grounds of Monastery Immaculate Conception on the north side of Monastery Event Hall. Monastery Gift Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. (All times are Eastern.) Quilts are also available in Monastery Gift Shop’s online store at www.monasterygiftshop.org.