Helping Hands

  • Sun rays = Light from above
  • 7 pairs of hands shaped like doves in the sun rays = 7 sacraments. The little hands were outlined, then used as the pattern to copy onto quilting blocks. They were then stitched onto a white background which was then stitched onto the quilt.
  • Christ is sketched into the sun rays. Stitching the outline was first done before quilting and then highlighted by quilting along similar lines.
  • Bottom left = Mary, Mother of the Church, holding Infant Jesus who is sprawled across Mary’s lap. You see Mary’s back as she is looking into the quilt to see all the action of the hands.
  • If you just look at the left side of the quilt, you will see the whole story of Jesus Christ: Baby Jesus in His mother’s arms and then the Resurrection of Christ.Bringing Christ’s Love to the World through His Body and Blood is directed by red and blue lines traveling from the off-white sun rays down to the Eucharist.
  • Striped band below praying and receiving hands (known to quilters as piano keys) separate praying and receiving hands from working hands.
  • Top right – Outline of church with colorful tree in yard. This outline is not easy to see from a distance. That’s okay since the building is not the Church, but rather the people , inspired by the Holy Spirit, going out to the world to do God’s will.
  • Garage under church outline is where the first Masses were held. Eventually the footprints go to the big church. Note the bicycle mounted on the back wall and the folding pink chairs in the driveway.
  • The extended rays of sun symbolize God’s Grace poured out on us as we live our faith.


Christ in the sun beams

Fr. Don BurnsFr. Jim PerklFr. Jim Zappa

  • 3 Priests on right side of quilt: Bottom is Fr. Don Burns, founder of Mary Mother of the Church. Above him is Fr. Jim Zappa, retired in 2014 and served 25 years. Above Fr. Jim Zappa is Fr. Jim Perkl, 2014 to present. All three faces were created by fusing batiks onto a background, then stitching the edges of each piece.

Receiving hands 1
The Eucharist and sleeveThe Eucharist

  • The Eucharist, being held up by the current priest, Fr. Jim Perkle, was created from a photograph I took. The two long white strips of fabric represent the sleeves of Fr. Jim.
  • Around the Eucharist are single hands and pairs of hands either praying or holding out to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. The large hands to the right of the chalice I call potato farmer hands – huge, rugged, and praying the Rosary. The other hands in this group were inspired by hands of friends and family. So many willing people to pose for me. The hands directly to the left of the Eucharist are done with negative space. Hold your hands together in a receiving pose, then imagine looking at your hands from the side.



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  • Working hands = hands belonging to people inspired by the Holy Spirit to do God’s work in this world: Comfort and consoling with a pat on the back, ringing the bells to glorify God, so much communication is done with a computer keyboard (note the letters and words quilted near the keyboard), more communication via the telephone bringing good news and bad… so many ways to help people. Next come the hands that nourish the community (note the steam from the soup bowl quilted above it), those that help build houses (note the action of the hammer, the extra tacks , the piece of wood being hammered are all quilted in), those that bring comfort with many prayers wrapped in a shawl or quilt (note the action of the crochet hook quilted in), bringing the Good News to the world through Bible reading (note the pair of reading glasses quilted above the Bible), hands that help heal (sometimes you need a bandage for your “ow”). There are over 90 ministries in this church: the hands shown are of but a few of these ministries. The hand holding the flower was added for our very ill Fr. Jim Zappa, and for anyone who needs a little cheering up with flowers. Notice the extra roses quilted around that hand.

Sandal clad feetWork boots into the world

  • Sandal clad feet = casual Christians coming into the church and learning more about their faith
  • Work boots = These Christians are now equipped with strong faith and headed out into the world to do God’s work


Back of quilt_The CrossRisen Christ at the Cross

  • The Mary Mother secret is the beautiful cross on the back side of quilt. Here is where the remaining sewn blocks of many church women are pieced into the cross. Note the Mary Mother blue square located at the bottom of the cross…same place Mary was found as her Son was being crucified. Bright colors at tips of top, left and right symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Hope for all the world.



My thanks goes to the women of Mary Mother who sewed quilt blocks for background of this quilt: Pat Johnson, Janet Sietmann, Lillian DeRaad, Lisa Anderson, Amy Perron, Merietta Johnson, Mary Clark, Paula Norgaard, Ann Johnson. Mary Woida and Gwen Amdahl, friends of mine and quilters, deserve my endless thanks for helping me put the top together when it was so big, building the cross in the back with any scrap of remaining blocks from the church ladies, squaring up the quilt, sewing binding, and constantly reassuring me that this quilt looked good. Special thanks also to a dear friend, a professional quilter, Jean Gordon, who offered the use of her long arm quilter for me to do the quilting. Jean watched me free-style quilt on her machine for 40 hours: she learned a little about my process and I learned a whole lot about long arm quilting – that was the trade-off (I’m certain I got the better end of the deal). Thanks also goes to the many people who allowed me to photograph their hands and feet to use in the quilt. Of course, my biggest thanks goes to my Savior, Jesus Christ, who inspired me with the design of this quilt, lead me to members who knew the story of the beginning of Mary Mother of the Church, gave me determination to complete the quilt, gave me people, at just the right times, to help me, and kept me humble. There would be no quilt if not for His help. And, lastly, I need to thank my dear husband, Lowell, for the countless suppers “out”, enduring a lack of attention from me, letting me hibernate in my sewing room for days on end, and taking on extra duties to keep the house from becoming a disaster area.



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