When it came time to plan a National Catholic Sisters Week event, Sister Belinda Monahan, OSB, decided to provide extra warmth to Chicago's neediest.
She designed a March 11 event at St. Scholastica Monastery called "Knit & Give: an afternoon for young Catholic women," where young women joined Benedictines and learned to knit. Together, they crafted hats, mittens and teddy bears to donate to low-income local families.
The event seized on a seemingly antiquated pasttime that has seen a recent resurgence among young women: knitting.
The activity reflects some deeper commonalities among women religious and young women, including a hunger for contemplation.
Once the fundamentals had been taught and the women took up their needles, the joint venture served as a great launching pad for conversation. "Once you get in the rhythm, you can talk as you go," Sister Belinda said.
Multiple young women expressed interest in a follow-up event to complete their projects. For some, an interest in religious life is also percolating.
"There's definitely an interest out there about discerning religious life, or an openness," Sister Belinda said. "They're open, and they're all seeking something that I think the monastery can provide."
Chicago Catholic, the newspaper published by the Archdiocese of Chicago, recently published an article summarizing some of the NCSW 2018 events held in Chicago.