Quilting Friends return to help support the Ursuline Sisters

It started for Beverly Howell in the 1970s when her aunt gave her a hexagon-shaped template made from a cereal box.

Howell used the template to cut fabric pieces, then her aunt taught her to sew them together. Before she knew it, another quilter was born.

“It gets in your blood, you keep going,” she said.

On March 11, 2024, Howell was back at Maple Mount for the third as part of the Quilting Friends, a group of women who either bring quilt tops they are working on, or use the ample amount of donated fabric on hand to make new tops. The quilt tops will either be hand quilted for the Mount Quilt Club, or machine quilted to use for Quilt Bingo on Sept. 8, both of which serve to support the mission of the Ursuline Sisters.

“I think it’s a wonderful program to be involved with,” Howell said, who lives outside Memphis in Covington, Tenn. She traveled with her friend Jean Person, who has been coming for 20 years. They are in the same quilt guild at home.

“I came for Runaway Quilters, then was invited to come back to sew,” Person said. “It’s great fun and such a worthy cause. It’s relaxing and satisfies a lot of personal needs. I feel useful and helpful.”

On March 11, Person was working on adding blocks with horses on them to a western-themed quilt top. She began coming to the Mount to quilt shortly after she learned the craft 23 years ago.

“I had a couple of my mother’s quilt tops. I looked for help locally on how to quilt them,” Person said. “Then I decided to piece something. It’s totally addictive. Once you get started, you can’t stop.”

She and her traveling companions look forward to their yearly trip with the other Quilting Friends.

“We’ve made friends who we see once a year,” Person said.

The Quilting Friends was the brainchild of Sister Amelia Stenger in 2002. She received many donations of fabric from people, and also knew many women who loved to quilt. The annual tradition ceased four years ago with Covid, with 2023 the first time many of the volunteers had returned to the Mount. This year the participants are gathering from March 10-13.

Sister Amelia coordinated the event again this year, filling Maple Hall with donated fabric for the quilters to choose their own patterns. Sisters Sally and Elizabeth Fitzgerald came from Bowling Green, Ky., bringing their friend June Cole for the first time.

“Elizabeth is the queen of the little pieces,” Sister Amelia said. “She takes all of our scraps and pieces them together.”

“You never know how it will come out until you sew it,” Elizabeth Fitzgerald said.

“Sally can take anything and make something out of it,” Sister Amelia said.

Cole was helping Ursuline Associate Mary Teder complete a quilt by hand that will later be raffled off in the Mount Quilt Club drawing.

“I’ve been quilting for 20 years,” Cole said. “I retired and I was looking for something meaningful to do.”

Linda Jones, from Columbus, Ga., and has been coming to the Mount since the second or third year that the Runaway Quilters began. “One of our group came and asked me if I wanted to go. It’s a good family here,” Jones said.

This year she came by herself, but brought many fabric pieces that belonged to her friend Celeste Cantrell, who died in 2021. In true Quilting Friends fashion, she thought some of the other quilters could use the fabric.

“I filled my car and I stopped by her home,” Jones said. “Her husband said, ‘Whatever you can get in the car, take it.’”


  1. Cecelia J. Olinger

    We’re so grateful for all these wonderful friends who help us make quilts – for the quilt of the Month club, for the quilt Bingo, and for the quilt sale. God bless them!

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