In 1998, Janet Severi Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut, created Prayer Shawl Ministry. Compassion and the love of knitting/crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy.
Many blessings are prayed into every stitch. Whether they are called Prayer Shawls, Comfort Shawls, or Care Shawls, the shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient. The intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is sent on its way. Some recipients have continued the kindness by making a shawl and passing it onto someone else in need. As a result, the blessing ripples from person-to-person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the compassion and care put into each shawl.
The shawls can be crocheted, quilted, woven or machine knitted as well. Shawls are given to TRU Patients either at home or in the care center to provide comfort. “Shawls … made for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles…” Written in 1998 by: Janet Severi Bristow
TRU’s Care Shawl Program
A group of TRU Volunteers began making Care Shawls in 2007 for TRU patients, and there have been over 25 volunteers who have contributed to the program since then. A current volunteer, Sue Samuels, has been making Care Shawls for 9 years. Her husband, Mike, has a knitting machine and has been making them for about a year. One sweet story Sue remembers, “We had a young mother of four at the Care Center. She was given 5 shawls, she wore one and gave one to each of her children.”
Sue also talked about a patient who has begun crocheting lap blankets as a result of their conversations. Sue was able to give a Care Shawl to another patient who snuggles up under it every night.
For more information on the original Prayer Shawl Program please visit shawlministry.com
Want to learn more or get involved?
The Care Shawl Project allows us to create a shawl with beautiful blessings and intentions for our patients and families.
Join us to learn more on Friday, February 28th from 1pm-3pm.
WHERE: Sue Samuels Residence
2165 Pinon Circle, Erie 80516
RSVP to Sue at 302-545-3315