From the left: St. Mary’s Anglican incumbent Rev. Dr. Anne Quick is shown with the quilt. Member Marie-Clare Ivanski holds a quilt made by Lauriette Brisson in Russell church. Thompson Goddard Photo
RUSSELL – Stitch and Praise, a community outreach group of crafters at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Russell, gather together most Friday afternoons to socialize while creating quilts for Victoria’s Quilts Canada. Victoria’s Quilts Canada is an organization that seeks to provide people in Canada who are living with cancer handmade quilts.
Marie-Claire Ivanski, a member of the Stitch and Praise group at St. Mary’s, explained the quilting group began in 2001 after receiving some blocks from Victoria’s Quilts (VQ) at a quilt show. After putting them together and spending the summer of 2004 quilting the tops, two members of the group attended a quilt-a-thon in the fall and upon returning “convinced the Stitch and Praise to only do quilts for VQ.”
“Quilters are generous, kind women. Some have been touched personally or have a friend or family member that has been diagnosed with cancer,” explained Ivanski. She mentioned how since becoming a Friends of Victoria Quilts Canada group, the group has grown from the initial seven members to 50 members in 2023 and is open not only to parishioners but also to members of the local community. Group members are able to pick up kits to make the tops at home. Ivanski noted group members are able to socialize, support one another and have an enjoyable time while making the quilts.
Once the quilt is completed, they are blessed at St. Mary’s Anglican Church during a Sunday service, with some remaining in Russell to be provided to locals, noting the group “deliver about 100 in our area alone, with the remainder sent, for distribution throughout Ontario and Canada, to the head office of VQC in Ottawa. “There are branches in most provinces, but if there are no branches near the recipient, the quilt is mailed. They are delivered with the message ‘you are not alone,” said Ivanski, before continuing that in 2019, the Russell group made 326 quilts for those dealing with cancer.
More information on Victoria’s Quilts Canada can be found on their website located at www.victoriasquiltscanada.com.
Carolyn Thompson Goddard, grew up in Chesterville and attended North Dundas District High School. After completing her BA in Political Science at Carleton University she has worked as a medical secretary and library technician. In 2020 she graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Journalism and has been a reporter and column writer for The Chesterville Record for over 10 years.