Columbus, OH – Missions start in many ways. Sometimes it’s a person of faith seeing a need, and working to answer it. Sometimes it’s a project identified by a person of authority and assigned to a person or a team to carry out. And sometimes, it’s a response to a question. That is the story of the Welcome Blanket project recently completed at the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
The national Welcome Blanket Project, the brain child of Chicago’s SMART Museum, is the result of a question asked about the Administration’s proposed “border wall.” In the words of the museum’s website:
Imagine if the 2000-mile distance of the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico was re-conceptualized and re-contextualized not to divide, but to include. Instead of a wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?
This question was brought to the Congregation’s Immigration Reform Committee, and a mini-mission was born.
“The Dominican Sisters of Peace and their Associates are committed to comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform,” said Conni Dubick, Chair of the Immigration Reform Committee and an Associate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. “This act of peaceful resistance and heartfelt welcome is a natural response to the current crisis faced by those new to our country who are being attacked by a hostile and heartless administration.”
Of course, the next step in the process was creating the blankets in a very short timeframe. Spearheaded by Dominican Sisters of Peace Associate and Staff member Mary Ellen George, Sisters, Associates, and Congregation staff worked in off hours to sew, knit, and crochet blankets and quilts for the Welcome Blanket Project. Seven quilts were crafted by associates and sisters, and a large group of Sisters came together to knot each quilt and offer prayers for the recipients.
In all, nine blankets and quilts were crafted by Sisters and Associates, and blessed in a special mass at the Motherhouse Chapel. The blankets will be sent to the SMART Museum to be displayed as part of the Welcome Blanket exhibition through December 17. After the show’s close, the blanket packages will be distributed to refugees and other immigrants through resettlement organizations.
“Jesus taught that when we receive a foreigner, we receive Him´ said Kelly Litt, Social Justice Promoter for the Congregation. “By creating these blankets, we are receiving immigrants with love and prayer. We all hope that actions like this, by everyday American citizens, will help to soften the heart of the president and his administration to create more just and compassionate immigration reforms.”
About the SMART MUSEUM OF ART:
As the fine arts museum of the University of Chicago, the Smart Museum of Art is home to thought provoking exhibitions and an exquisite collection of more than 15,000 objects. The Smart has established itself as a driving force for creative thinking through the arts at the University and a pioneering model of what a 21st century academic art museum can be. The Smart first opened in 1974.