EUSTIS | In 2011, Connie Prudhomme was looking for a way to serve others and joined the Prayer Blanket Ministry at St. Mary of the Lakes Parish in Eustis. She had health issues at the time and says, “I knew I wanted to do something, but I was going to be laid up a while with this surgery.” She saw the notice in the bulletin and decided it would be the perfect thing to do while homebound. “That helped me a great deal knowing that I went through a lot, but was giving back at the same time,” she said.
Last year, Prudhomme had another surgery. She had the foresight to cut out several blankets to sew while she recuperated. She gave many of them to stroke survivors in recovery. “It’s was incredible to see the expression on people’s faces – to see that this little blanket can give somebody some hope,” she said.
Blankets are sewed, crocheted, or knitted just as they were when the ministry began in 2010. “Our ladies are generally busy with other things, so they sew when it’s convenient for them. No meetings or anything,” says Prudhomme. The group of approximately five women “just fly under the radar and do our thing,” Prudhomme says nonchalantly. Yet the ministry brings joy and comfort to many.
Recently, Pastor Father Carlos Bedoya blessed 60 blankets. The ministry produces nearly 200 blankets per year. Prudhomme says, “The blankets are covered in prayer. I pray (Prayer to the Divine Physician) when I cut it out.” Then she prays Hail Marys or other prayers while sewing.
Anyone is eligible to receive a blanket from those suffering with cancer to those battling severe emotional distress. A brochure explains they are also gifted to those who feel the need to receive the enormous gift of love and warmth that emanates from these small blankets. The mission is simply to help heal God’s hurting children.
Prudhomme emphasizes the blankets are not just for parishioners or Catholics. “I have presented some to atheists,” she says. “You never know what something like that might do to make them start thinking about things.” It is her way of evangelizing and being Christ’s hands and feet. She has filled requests from visitors throughout the country, sending them at no charge.
Supported through the thrift shop donations, the women fund most of the ministry themselves. The names of people who request blankets are added to a prayer book at Mass. “I’ve had the experience of seeing the joy that it brings to people. That’s payment right there.”
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic August 09, 2019