"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.

Janet Severi Bristow

Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles..."

Shawls can be used for: undergoing medical procedures; as a comfort after a loss or in times of stress; during bereavement; prayer or meditation; commitment or marriage ceremonies; birthing, nursing a baby; bridal shower or wedding gift; leading ritual; first menses or croning rites of passage; during an illness and recovery; ministering to others; graduation, birthday, anniversary, ordination, holiday gifts; or just socializing...there are endless possibilities!

Request a Prayer Shawl

In 1998, Janet Severi Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the 1997 Women's Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut gave birth to a ministry as a result of their experience in this program of applied Feminist Spirituality under the direction of Professor Miriam Therese Winter, MMS. 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.

The shawls can also be crocheted, quilted, woven or machine knitted as well!

Whether they are called Prayer Shawls, Comfort Shawls, Peace Shawls, or Mantles, etc., 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 in need. Thus, the blessing ripples from person-to-person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the unconditional embrace of a sheltering, mothering God!

Our Lady of Mercy Prayer Shawl Ministry began in November of 2007, and in the years since its beginning, the ministry has grown to 20 ladies who meet Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening to share their love of knitting and crocheting. They begin and end each session with prayer, especially for all the recipients and their families. So, for any of our recipients, the prayers continue for them and their families. The ladies stitch hundreds of blessings into each shawl during the sessions. It is a wonderful opportunity to use their talents or learn as they go. Our ministry is always open to new members including beginners.

Love of knitting (and crochet) combined with compassion has developed into a prayerful ministry that reaches out to those suffering physically, mentally or emotionally. Many blessings are knitted into every shawl. When the shawl is completed, it is offered a final prayer by each lady at the session laying her hand on the shawl before it is presented to its recipient. The shawls are meant to be reminders of God's arms that bring warmth, healing and comfort. As said by Janet Bristow:

  • 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...
  • Wings of Mercy have made and presented needy 500 shawls since their beginning. One recipient, Msgr. Sperry, prayed daily while wearing his shawl. Msgr. Sperry asked to be buried with his shawl wrapped around his shoulders, a symbol treasured by our' ministry ladies. Other recipients feel the need to pass theirs on to someone in need, thus, the blessing is rippled from person to person.

    Prayer shawls not only for our parishioners, but an outreach to parishioners' family and friends who could benefit from the warmth of prayers wrapped around them. We also welcome you to provide names of people who you feel would benefit from a shawl. Contact Marilyn at 897-7762 or Kay at 899-2770, or email boppaMc@aol.com or kayfredkaeb@gmail.com.