Sister Virginia Brien, SSND, 94, of the Atlantic-Midwest Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, was the first to offer her sewing skills for a Green Habits project coordinated by the province's Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation office. In a matter of months, Sister Virginia stitched up more than 25 reusable grocery bags, which were recently handed out at a local Baltimore grocery store by students from the province's sponsored ministry Notre Dame Preparatory School (NDP). The goal was to encourage shoppers to opt out of using plastic bags.
Sister Virginia explained her enthusiasm, "I have so much material that was given to me to do something with. I make items for babies, and do all types of household and clothing mending." She created three different patterns for the colorful bags and experimented with various handles for added strength. "I get ideas as I go along." With classical music playing in the background, Sister Virginia said, "It takes not more than hour for most of the bags. I start with a square, fold it in half inside out and cut the sides. I hem the top and for thinner fabric I double material." She has an image of The Little Flower, St. Theresa, on her sewing machine who she prays to, and one of St. Marguerite Bays, a Swiss seamstress who was recently canonized.
To view a short video of the Green Habits project, please click here.