Reporting intern joins lacemakers at annual retreat

June 21, 2013 by

The lacemakers are back, and they’ve taken over Manna House of Prayer again — but this time they’re recapturing the 17th-century art in a retreat titled “Making Lace for the 21st Century.”

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Seventeen women from across the country and Canada are spending a week practicing, or perfecting, their skills at bobbin lacemaking. And this weekend they’ve been joined by a reporting intern with the National Catholic Reporter.

Women from as far away as Sierra Madre, Calif., and Toronto, Ontario, Canada, gathered to spend a full seven days focused on the meticulous threadwork to create delicate bookmarks, angels and other decorations. Most of the participants are Sisters of St. Joseph and represent congregations in Ontario, Canada; Wichita; St. Louis; Orange, Calif.; La Grange Park, Ill.; and Concordia. The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kan., and the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, Ky., were also represented, with the rest of the group made up of laywomen and CSJ Associates.

Eloísa Pérez-Lozano

Eloísa Pérez-Lozano

Reporting intern Eloísa Pérez-Lozano arrived late Saturday afternoon to spend an evening and part of the next day with the lacemakers. She said she expects this to be one of her last assignments during her six-month NCR internship, which began in January. She has written and taken photographs for both the online and print editions of the Kansas City-based NCR.

Sisters Ramona Medina and Janet Lander, both members of the Concordia congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, are leading the weeklong retreat that began Tuesday evening, June 18, to give participants the opportunity to experience and integrate the spirituality and practice of making bobbin lace in a contemplative setting. Sister Cecilia Green, also a member of the Concordia congregation and an experienced lacemaker, is also helping with the retreat.

The Sisters of St. Joseph was founded in Le Puy, France, in 1650, and members of that early congregation made bobbin lace as a way to support themselves and their works.

Today, Sisters Ramona and Janet lead the retreats at Manna House to share the craft as a contemplative practice that “creates in us heart-space where the connections with God and the dear neighbor may be woven in prayer, as surely as the design of threads and spaces evolves on the lace pillow before our eyes.”

The annual workshop ends at noon Tuesday, June 25. This is the sixth year is has been held at Manna House each year and is open to anyone who wants to learn bobbin lacemaking. Previous experience is not required.



The lacemakers and their leaders gather with a group photo June 21, 2013.


6 Responses to “Reporting intern joins lacemakers at annual retreat”

  1. Sarah Dussing on October 20th, 2014 5:06 am

    I am very interested in learning about the lives of lacemakers. It is a fascinating art and I find that little is written about it. In Europe we see it everywhere (not all handmade, of course). I have seen lace exhibits in the states as well. I assume much of it was made and fine tuned in cloistered communities and I would like to learn more about their lives and how lace and ribbon making skills were taught, the trials and tribulations, apprenticeships and so on. Can you suggest any books or sources I can go to?

    Thanks. Looking forward to your reply.

  2. Sr Madeleine on October 26th, 2013 10:51 am

    Is there a retreat for 2014 and what are the dates? I too am a lace maker.

    Sr Madeleine CJ

  3. Linda Beck on June 25th, 2013 2:34 pm

    If only Sr, Ramona and / or Sr. Janet could be hired as a “personal” trainer for a couple of week, I know I’d learn a lot . . . beautiful pictures & beautiful works of art!

  4. Anna Marie Broxterman on June 24th, 2013 11:52 am

    How delightful to see and read about the lace-making retreat while in Teresina. Marica, Pat Eichner, Rosie and I talked about it during lunch today. Luckily we did not have to do it in Portuguese.

  5. Christina Brodie on June 23rd, 2013 10:16 pm

    A beautiful week watching these contemplative artists create….

  6. Loretta A. Jasper, csj on June 23rd, 2013 9:40 am

    Familiar faces and hands returning to expand and to fine tune the historical csj artform of bobbin lace making.
    The csj MORE in action.

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