Sisters of St. Francis
Contact Us
812-934-2475
Mailing Address:
Sisters of St. Francis
P.O. Box 100
22143 Main Street
Oldenburg, IN 47036

A New Ministry at the Motherhouse

By: Mary Ellen Rinklin

A new ministry has emerged for the Sisters at the Motherhouse in Oldenburg, IN with the help of the Associates.  Following you will find out the how, when and where of this new project.  It started as a way to recycle plastic bags keeping them out of landfills and our environment and help the most venerable of our society by providing them warm and waterproof insulated sleeping mats.

Chris Knabe first learned of crocheting mats for the homeless from a nursing home in Sidney, OH where her mom-in-law was a resident.  She thought it was a worthwhile project and took the idea to her parish, but due to other outreach programs it was never initiated.  By what could only be God’s nudging and guidance of events, Chris was put in contact with a journalist from a community newspaper which published an article about the mats and amazingly her group was born.

An Associate of the sisters, Sue Friedmann, and a friend who works with Chris on the mat project thought the sisters in Oldenburg may like to be part of this program too so the project was pitched to the sisters in February of this year.  Sue purchased the correct size crochet needles for the sisters and as the word spread plastic bags came pouring in by the car load!  Initially there was a large response to help make the mats but tedious folding and cutting of the plastic bags and looping it into the “plarn “, (plastic yarn) proved to be very hard on aged hands so the group now consists of fewer sisters. They are: S. Jean Michael Sauntry,  S. Pat Zartman, S. Janice Scheidler, S. Mary Louise Werner, S. Janet Born, S. Dianne Kaimann and S. Therese Wente.  Also helping produce the mats are Evy Kuntz and Kim Garvey, friends of the sisters, who help teach religious special education.

Crocheting the mats is a large commitment with each one taking anywhere from  65-70 hours or more to complete. So far the Oldenburg group has completed 7 mats with at least 4 more soon to be finished.  The mats are distributed personally by two men from DCI Outreach in Cincinnati who walk the homeless camps handing them out.  Recently there were several news stories concerning the homeless in downtown Cincinnati and several of these type mats were seen peeking out of tents and laying on chairs giving assurance that the work the sisters are doing is much needed and utilized.

If anyone would like to learn more about working on this project they can contact Chris Knabe at 513-777-0463.

Sisters of St. Francis
Contact Us
812-934-2475
Mailing Address:
Sisters of St. Francis
P.O. Box 100
22143 Main Street
Oldenburg, IN 47036