Blankets of Love & Prayers

The annual eighth grade fall retreat was a day of reflection and memorable interactions for 135 eighth grade students who attend Ascension, St. Benedict the Moor, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Mother Brunner Catholic Schools.  Sponsored by the Urban Child Development Resource Center (UCDRC) and the seventh grade Peacemakers, the theme for the day was “Learning about self”. 

image of blankets eventA variety of activities allowed students to reflect upon who they are in their family, in their school, and in their larger community.  Personal inventories and time for sharing with one another added opportunity for introspection and lively discussion.  Each eighth grader created a personal time capsule that will be developed as items are added throughout this academic year.  At the end of the year, time capsules will be given to students with the instruction to open them after high school graduation as a means for looking back on how they have grown over four years.

Retreat usually closes with a prayer service, but this time UCDRC counselor, Noelle Willey, had something different in mind. She invited the students to complete a service project while at the same time being immersed in prayer.  There were only two requirements: Pray quietly and tie knots!

Students could pray for whomever they wanted, whether it was someone in their family, a friend, somebody who was facing a challenge, someone who was ill, or even themselves.  During this quiet time, students were called forth in small groups to tie two knots on a “no sew throw” with the understanding that the blankets would be given to children image of blankets eventwho are ill.  With the first knot tied, they were asked to say a prayer for the child who would receive the blanket.  With the second knot tied, they were asked to say a prayer for anyone who may need support from God.

The silence and stillness that fell over the group of 135 eighth grade students was astounding.  It was obvious that they were serious about their prayerful intentions and contemplation, about the needs of others, and about those children who would ultimately possess a beautiful blanket made with love.

Three blankets were completed at the fall eighth grade retreat and donated to Dayton Children’s Hospital where they were warmly received on behalf of three children who will also benefit from the prayers of many other children who care about them.