(Published Dec. 5, 2008)
By Sister Ramona Medina
I was the eighth of thirteen children. My mother died when I was 18 months old. Yet, I never felt deprived of love and affection. Our father, grandparents, and extended family were always there for us. They instilled in us the importance of faith and prayer and taught us to always follow our conscious and do what we thought was the right thing to do. In addition to working hard on the farm, the older family members stressed the importance of having a balance of work, prayer, and play in our everyday lives. Of the thirteen children, seven of us became religious sisters – all in different communities!
I appreciate my call to religious life more each day. It is a journey leading to contemplation, union with God, and the dear neighbor. During the past fifty-plus years, I have ministered as a primary grade teacher in Kansas and Colorado, developed and set up occupational therapy departments in Missouri, Florida, and Kansas, and provided community service during the past nine years on the administrative council.
Growing up in the era I did, we had magazines and books to read, but did not have any store-bought games, so we had to make up our own games and entertainment. Since Dad and my older brothers and sisters encouraged creativity, I enjoyed recycling everything into something useful or lovely. To this day, I continue to find myself creating beauty out of weeds, cans, silk flowers, or whatever, to make table decorations, cards, and many other creative endeavors. I especially take delight in making bobbin lace, which I find to be a contemplative and centering art form.
I start with a pattern, fastening it to the lace-making pillow. Next I thread the bobbins by hand and pin them in place on the pillow. For a small piece of lace each bobbin needs about three or four yards of thread. Each stitch is pinned in place until the piece is completed. I keep a scrapbook with the different laces I have created showing a month-by-month progression of my learning.
Sister Janet Lander and I offer bobbin lace retreats at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia. I also teach individuals how to make doilies, bookmarks, and greeting cards. As I make bobbin lace, I truly feel connected to our first Sisters of St. Joseph who created lace in LePuy, France in 1650, as a means of supporting themselves.