Vocation in Avocation: Sewing
By AJ Keith, Communications intern
Sewing is a recreation that many practice for comfort and for craft, but for S. Christine Rody, sewing acts as a way to exercise the virtue of patience and the talent of creativity. Through this activity S. Christine has managed to produce personalized gifts for others and fulfill her charitable spirit.
First taught to her by her mother, S. Christine has been sewing since she was 6 years old. She began small at first with cross-stitch sewing, then took up more advanced techniques like counted cross-stitch. She recalls that one of her first projects was when she was 9: “A Protestant friend of my mother bought a transfer pattern of the Our Father. In the envelope were two versions: Catholic and Protestant. So, she had this Catholic version that she was never going to use and gave it to my mother, who ironed it onto cloth for me to sew. I finished it when I was 11.”
As an adult, she never wanted to repeat a pattern for one of her projects, but found this to be difficult when she was making one of her highly requested gifts. In recent years, S. Christine has sewn purses and potholders for other members of the Community. She gives these away as gifts and as Christmas and birthday presents.
Because sewing comes in many forms, S. Christine has tried her hand at the many different varieties of it to keep her skills sharp. Some of these techniques include embroidery, applique and macramé. S. Christine recalls using macramé specifically during her ministries in El Salvador to help some of the indigenous people. She says, “Before I left the country, I taught myself how to macramé and I taught them how to make pot-hangers to protect the plants from the wildlife.” While S. Christine was able to apply her skills in her ministries, she continues the practice in her leisure time. She states that sewing takes practice, patience and willingness to make mistakes, something that she compares to the faith journey. She says, “Like in sewing, you have to look at the mistake and say, ‘Can I work around this error or do I need to fix it?’”
Since coming to the Mount, S. Christine and a group of retired Sisters have gathered regularly to sew together and to apply their hobby to their Community in a unique way. By building these relationships through their shared interest, members of the group saw how they could use their talents and skills to live in the spirit of charity. S. Christine says, “The purses that are in the Gift Shop are some of the ones that we made and donated.”
Not only does sewing give S. Christine an outlet for her creative energies, but it provides a sense of casual focus on a project that will eventually land in the hands of those she cares about. In true Sisters of Charity-fashion, S. Christine finds herself most content when she is able to dedicate her time and energy on a project for another person, making sewing the tailor-made hobby for her.