Lacemakers fill Manna House with delicate artistry

June 24, 2016 by


This is the sixth time Sister Susan Trezek has travelled from her home in Orange, Calif., to Concordia to take part in the annual lacemaking retreat at Manna House of Prayer.

Working on a delicate and intricate white lace Christmas decoration, she says the appeal of spending a week making lace with other women is more than just the lace. “It’s my retreat, it’s my time to contemplate,” she says. “It’s always worth the trip.”

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Several of the other 12 retreat participants from across Kansas and beyond share that sentiment. For others, it’s a chance to learn a new art and help preserve a tradition among the Sisters of St. Joseph that dates to the 17th century.

This year’s retreat, titled “Woven Together as One,” is being led by Ronna Robertson of Manhattan, Kan., and Sisters Janet Lander and Mary Jo Thummel, both of Concordia. It began June 26 and continues to July 3.

The original Sisters of St. Joseph came together in Le Puy, France, in about 1650, and members of that early congregation made bobbin lace as a way to support themselves and their works. Today the Concordia Sisters have revived that centuries-old artistry in delicate bookmarks, angels and other decorations.

Lacemaker Myrna Shelton of Randall, Kan., has been to the annual retreat several times and this year is creating a hedgehog — considered the symbol of bobbin-lacemaking because its many quills resemble the straight-pins used to create each design.

One first-time lacemaker this year is Helen Glatter of Amherst, Neb., who is the niece of Sister Ann Glatter of Concordia. “She is a natural,” said instructor Sister Janet Lander. “She has been at it for less than a week and she’s where most of us are in our second year.”

The weeklong retreat includes daily communal prayer, contemplative discussion and a guide for personal prayer. It is held at Manna House each year and is open to anyone who wants to learn bobbin lacemaking. Previous experience is not required.


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5 Responses to “Lacemakers fill Manna House with delicate artistry”

  1. Sarah Jenkins on December 29th, 2016 6:43 pm

    This is from Sister Janet Lander, one of the leaders of the lace retreat: “I don’t know what the OC Guild is. Our local guild is the Sunflower Lacers. There was a previous name, but I can’t remember it. The international organization is IOLI. Our local guild meets in Kansas but has had participants from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Misouri and Colorado as well.”

  2. D.Hale on December 29th, 2016 3:09 pm

    I noted the Hedgehog lace piece. Are you of that O.C. Guild? Ihope to join them this/next year. Bless your hands + hearts.

  3. Susan Peterson on December 27th, 2016 6:12 pm

    Can a lay person attend? I would be very interested.

  4. Ralph Thummel on July 15th, 2016 7:20 am

    Thank you for the picture of Sr Mary Jo making the lace butterfly! Beautiful! When my wife and I travel to the Motherhouse to visit Sister we enjoy looking at all the crafts in the gift store. You women of God are creative. The love of the Lord shows forth in all you do!

  5. Missy Ljungdahl on July 1st, 2016 6:08 pm

    This looks like a great experience once again. I admire all of you who can do this work…and appreciate the finished products.

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