By ABBY BELDEN
VICTORIA -- What some people see as scraps to be thrown away, a quilter in Victoria sees material with which she can piece together a crazy quilt.
"This here, I don't throw even an inch of fabric away, because it will all get sewn together," Ethel Younger said.
Younger has been sewing for many years, since she began piecing together material for blocks and finishing her first quilt between the age of 10 or 12.
Now 71, she said she can sew up to two to three quilts a week, depending on the pattern.
Younger learned to sew on her mother's treadle machine.
"It belonged to her grandmother. She got that sewing machine from her grandmother, and her grandmother was born in about 1820 -- something like that," she said.
Younger doesn't quilt to drape them over beds or hang them to be looked at. She quilts so they can be donated to the sick, shut-ins, those who are in the hospital and nursing homes of the Catholic parishes of St. Fidelis in Victoria, St. Boniface in Vincent and St. Ann in Walker.
The idea sat in the back of her mind for more than 10 years. The idea first took seed after Father Christian Fey, now deceased, approached her while she worked as the secretary for St. Fidelis Catholic Church in Victoria. Fey, who was in failing health, received a prayer quilt and gave Younger the ribbon that bound the quilt together, along with the tags from those who made it.
"I never did see the blanket that he received, but he said, 'You keep this. Someday you might want do to this,' " she said.
Younger kept the ribbons and tags, and one year ago, she approached Jeff Ernest, pastor at St. Fidelis at the time, with the idea of creating and donating quilts to the sick.
And so began the parish's Prayer Quilt Ministry.
"I don't know, I just feel like this is what we are on earth for, to help each other," she said. "God told us to love him and love our neighbor. This is all involved with love. You do this out of love. It's a wonderful feeling."
Younger and Rosie Kreutzer are the only two who actively are quilting in the ministry.
"We would really like to get more people involved. ... Hospice is crying for prayer quilts," Younger said. "In our parishes here, we always have somebody that is sick or terminally ill or something. It's never-ending."
Since the Prayer Quilt Ministry began a year ago, Younger and Kreutzer were able to finish and donate 107 quilts.
Younger said each quilt has a label sewn into it that includes where it came from and that it had been "crafted with loving prayers for your healing of body, mind and soul."
Before the quilt is donated, each one is blessed and prayed over by a Capuchin priest.
The quilt isn't just prayed over once though.
"I've gotten into the habit, of when I'm working on them, I will pray," she said. "And I always ask God to bless that person, whoever is going to be using it, receiving it, and then Father blesses them before they are distributed."