Two of the last chapters in our religious education workbook are on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In case you're not familiar with them, allow me to put on my catechist hat for a moment and list them.
The corporal works of mercy are:
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Visit those in prison
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Bury the dead
And the spiritual works of mercy are:
Help others make good choices
Teach those who lack knowledge
Give advice to those who are confused
Comfort those who are hurting
Be patient with others
Pray for the living and the dead
I try to impress upon the kids that a quilt can be both a corporal work of mercy and a spiritual one. It can "clothe the naked", in other words, be warmth for the body, and if the images are beautiful, it can also "comfort those who are hurting" in their soul.
So each year as an end-of-the-year class project, I have my 3rd graders draw pictures to be transferred to fabric to make blocks for a quilt that will be donated to Catholic Outreach or the homeless shelter. I usually give them minimal guidance about what to draw. Kids are full of wonderful imagery on their own, so I just ask them to make something cheerful, colorful, or uplifting. I absolutely love seeing where that takes them in their imaginations!
Left to right, top to bottom:
a cheerful rainbow arcing over puppies, a flower reaching for the sun, two girls showing off a quilt
some very imaginative animals (drawn by a future Laurel Burch?), an Easter bunny, high flying kites
Mom's car (I happen to know his mom's car doesn't look like this, but he can dream, can't he?), the burning bush from which God spoke to Moses (wow!), a happy cat
a sweet black kitty, some simple crosses on a hill, and some dramatic crosses
We'll be presenting our quilt tonight at the end of the year celebration. We hope that whoever receives it will feel the warmth and care that went into designing it!