Sue Brinker Knits and Purls into the Heart of St. Boniface
By Dena Forret
After her husband’s death, Sue moved to be near her daughter in Waukee. She had done some quilting, making a golf shirt quilt in memory of Dick with symbols of fishing and golfing along with a special spot for the Krispy Kreme logo. During Dick’s illness, he craved foods he had never eaten before and Krispy Kreme donuts were one of those cravings. From remnants of Dick’s flannel pajamas, Sue made a quilt for Becky who had loved to wear her father’s flannel shirts during her college years.
Sue felt a need to give back in return for what she had received. She remembered that during the last six months of Dick’s illness and when he was bedbound, a hospice nurse gave him a prayer shawl that remained with him until his death. The shawl brought a lot of comfort to Sue. The day of Dick’s death, Sue placed the prayer shawl over him. She explained, “When he died there was such a peace. It is hard to explain. Immediately, I thought of the shawl and wondered if the knitter’s gift and prayers had helped Dick to experience a peaceful death.”
One weekend, Sue attended a St. Boniface Ministry Fair where she visited with Marge Lause about the parish’s prayer-shawl ministry. In her earlier years, Sue had knitted and thought she would give it another try. Knit and purl, knit and purl–Sue began to knit and soon created more small-size blankets than she would ever need! The abundance of blankets meant she needed to find a home for them. She decided to contact Birthright and donate the blankets for new babies. Birthright was more than happy to receive Sue’s donation.
Sue took her first prayer shawl to Donna Dressel and visited with her about the prayer shawl ministry. Later, Sue talked with Donna about making baby blankets for babies baptized into the St. Boniface Church family. That lasted only a year since it was impossible to keep up with the number of babies being born into our community!
So began Sue’s knitting ministry and the creation of over 80 prayer shawls for St. Boniface’s ill or hospitalized children and parishioners. She said it takes two to three weeks to complete one shawl and she creates about 17 to 20 shawls a year. Sue says, “It is a fun and creative process to put colors together. Knitting is a way for me to give back and bring comfort to others”. Knitting is peaceful and comforting to Sue. Through a personal experience of loss and the gift of a prayer shawl given to her husband, Sue found a way to give back and has been doing so at St. Boniface ever since.
Sue uses some donated yarn to create her beautiful shawls. I gave Sue my mother’s (Lena Angaran) bag, yarn and needles. If you have unneeded yarn, feel free to drop it off at the church office. Thank you Sue for sharing your gift with St. Boniface!