Our Story in Fabric...
Bobbie Sullivan is a contemporary quilt artist and has been a St. Frances parishioner for 27 years.
Bobbie has crafted a visual display of St. Frances X. Cabrini's amazing journey by documenting each year of the vigil in originally designed quilts. All of the quilts hang permanently in the church.
Bobbie had previously made over 40 liturgical season quilts for St. Frances as a member of the Art and Environment Committee.
Sacred Versus Profane: The Seventh Anniversary Quilt
In May of 2004 when it was first announced that St. Frances X Cabrini would be “suppressed” I was taken back by the use of this word in relation to a church. Seven years later the church that we have saved is now being relegated to “profane use”. This phrase is an insult to all that has gone on in the past seven years and the people who have strived, prayed and sacrificed to keep this church open.
The quilt reflects this thought in two parts.
On the top of the quilt a dove, representing hope and the symbol of the vigil wraps its wings around the brick façade of St. Frances. Springing from this image are green leaves and vines because during the past seven years we have grown as a community and have generously helped local families and charities. Written on the leaves are the names of those who have participated in the vigil past and present. The words “Elevated to Sacred Use” captures the essence of St Frances and the reverence we have for the Eucharist.
The bottom of the quilt depicts the church upside down which is how the community of St. Frances feels when the archdiocese “relegated it to profane use” in July 2011. Blue skies have been replaced with dark and purple. All around is confusion and darkness as countless “sevens” conjure up turmoil while elusive dollar signs float along the sides. Finally the quilt bottom is in tatters, to close this church will destroy a Catholic community.
Hope Soars – The Sixth Anniversary in Vigil Quilt. This quilt takes its inspiration from the word hope embodied in the design of a dove which is central to the quilt. Within the wings is written St Frances' story to date: six years in vigil, a simple statement which represents a complex and tedious journey of 2,583 days. The spiritual community of St. Frances looks ahead with hope that the church will reopen at some point in the future.
The quilt hangs as an antependium from the altar, if one looks closely in the glowing yellow background there are many number 6's spreading out from the dove's wings. On the back of the quilt there is a statement entitled Why We Are Still Here written in response to the denial of St Frances' appeal from the Apostolate Signatura in the summer of 2010. Additional statements in the form of signatures and comments from the vigilers and visitors in October of 2010 are also included on the back providing personal insight from those committed to keeping this church open.
The Fifth Anniversary Quilt, Boundless Energy Driven by Faith. This quilt was inspired by the color red and red can suggest numerous ideas: power, passion, and love. It's a shade that grabs attention, brings things to a stop, expresses anger and gets the point across; it also can represent happiness and confidence...red is a remarkable color of emotion.
The community of parishioners who have been holding vigil for five years at St. Frances X Cabrini in Scituate can easily identify with these qualities of red. Each one has personally experienced similar emotions in the past five years. Sustaining a church 24 hours a day is not easy and without the sacrifice of time and energy it could not be done.
The Spirit of Hope Quilt, Four Years in Vigil. The shape of the number "4" is the inspiration for the design of the fourth year anniversary quilt. Within the interior of the "4" there is a triangular shape which suggests the front of the exterior church and the large stained glass window with the subtle impression of the crucifix. The single white candle represents the sanctuary light on the altar, which signifies the presence of the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle. Having the Eucharist allows the community at St Frances to celebrate weekly Communion Prayer services, which are an integral part of the vigil's spiritual life. Along the slanted left side of the quilt the mission statement of the vigil is silk-screened over and over onto the fabric. The repetition of these words emphasizes the commitment of the parish.
The Journey Quilt 1,095 Days in Vigil. Taking its inspiration from the vigilers themselves this quilt features symbols that represent the incredible journey of vigiling 24/7 for 3 years. The quilt is divided into 3 panels, emphasizing the passage of three years. Dominating the quilt is a road which winds its way towards the church. The people walking this road are determined and focused, exuberant and mindful of the course before them. The road also has a timeline beginning on October 26, 2004 to October 26, 2007 printed along its center which lists all the significant events experienced by those in vigil.
The Suppression Quilt Constructed during the summer of 2004 before the church closed, Bobbie felt compelled to make quilt to honor the church and to express her feelings about closing of other churches throughout the diocese of Boston. This quilt lists over 1000 parishioners and the names of the 85 churches to be closed.
The Vigil Quilt In January 2005, the vigilers and Bobbie came together to make a quilt that would reflect their feelings about the vigil. As people were encouraged to express their ideas in words and images, Bobbie took those ideas and cut them from fabric, inviting all to participate in the creative process. The result is a quilt which has energy and variety along with deep spirituality.
The Quilt of Hours-365 Days and Nights This quilt which was made to commemorate a year in vigil was inspired by the daily sign up sheets that are on the bulletin board in the vestibule of St. Frances. A replica of this quilt was presented to the Cardinal O' Malley at the first meeting December 3, 2005.
The Dove and the Door Constructed in the Fall of 2006, this quilt marks the second year anniversary. It is comprised of 730 squares of fabric which represents each day of the vigil since October 2004.