Block(s) Party Nursing Home's Quilt Is a Hands-On Pride and Joy

By Theresa Tighe Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 2, 1995 | Go to article overview

Block(s) Party Nursing Home's Quilt Is a Hands-On Pride and Joy


Theresa Tighe Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The first thing you notice as you enter the nursing home at the Nazareth Living Center is a quilt hanging almost from ceiling to floor. No two squares are alike. Tulips, balloons, fleurs-de-lis and a food pyramid cover the quilt.

Then Monta Penning, 92, who parks her wheelchair near the quilt, will motion you closer. She may even hold your hand as she points to a block covered with hand-embroidered pink roses.

"That's mine," she'll say.

Nearly everyone you see in the halls of Nazareth - volunteers, housekeepers, family members, bookkeepers, residents - had a hand in making that quilt.

The work began in May. By August the quilt was hung. Along the way, people from 30 to 80 who had never quilted learned to. Everyone felt useful and creative. Some blocks turned into memorials.

The project was Sister Rita McGovern's idea. McGovern, 55, handles admissions, marketing and patient rights for the center, which offers assisted living and nursing home care to retired Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the public.

Every department in the home and any resident or family who wanted to created a block.

Some of the techniques used were traditional - embroidery, applique; others, such as liquid embroidery and computerized photo reproduction, were throughly modern.

Emily Hearst, 69, opened a chest of family treasures and parted with a quilt block her mother, Theresa Ziegler, 91, had embroidered long ago - a rose in shades of pink from rose to ice, surrounded by a forest-green oval. The satin stitches were small and even.

Ziegler explained that her stitches are no longer even; she wanted her best work displayed on the quilt.

Another resident, Sister Marie Scallety, 88, used liquid embroidery to draw a treble clef, a staff and a few notes of music. Scallety, a nurse for 60 years, said, "I've gotten into music. I'm in the rhythm band, and I go to all the sing-alongs."

Parkinson's disease makes it impossible for Tillie Kohlberg, 91, to sew. Her daughter, Chris Booker, 63, created Kohlberg's block. A computer reproduced a picture of Kohlberg at 20 in green and blue on the white block. Then Booker used skeins of variegated pink, gold and green thread she had been unable to throw away when she dismantled her mother's home to frame the picture with flowers. …

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