COVID-19 inspires mask making

Creating masks at NDEG

Sister cutting fabric for mask making at Sancta Maria in Ripa in St. Louis.

Sisters at Notre Dame of Elm Grove (NDEG), Elm Grove, Wisconsin, got the idea for making masks after hearing that local hospitals were in need. Running the idea by the campus administration, they realized their own community also needed masks for all sisters and lay staff. They found bed sheets in storage to use as fabric and collected wire from their craft supplies. Following patterns from local Milwaukee area hospitals, they set up to make 300 masks. Each day, Sister Margie Thole would sanitize tables in the Enrichment Center at NDEG and sisters would come and sit at their own table to help. Some sisters would wash and iron the sheets, others would cut or tear squares for straps and then they would be sewn together. Each mask has a pocket for a filter, so sisters also cut 300 filters to put in each mask. They played music and had flowers on the tables to provide a positive space for all who came to help. They currently have enough made for sisters and all lay staff on campus with hopes to make more for hospitals in the future. The masks are worn at all times on campus, except when a sister is alone in her room. This is a great example of being creative and recycling in order to respond to the COVID-19 crisis!

Sisters make masks at Ripa

Sisters are gathering materials at Sancta Maria in Ripa in St. Louis in order to make masks for sisters and lay staff.

During this time of social distancing due to COVID-19, sisters at Sancta Maria in Ripa (Ripa) in St. Louis, were looking for creative ways to stay active. Liturgical Fabric Arts, located on the Ripa campus, provided the perfect opportunity for sisters to make masks. Sisters Josephine Niemann and Regina Kabayama, who operate Liturgical Fabric Arts, started mask making with leftover material from various projects. They invited other sisters to help. Sisters Judy Obermark, Mildred Marie Glosemeyer, Rita Maureen Deimeke and Joan Andert, joined in making masking. They separated into teams, one group pinned and pressed and the other cut and sewed. The six sisters made over 300 masks in two weekends. These masks are designated for sisters living at Ripa or living in mission and essential lay staff. Sisters at Ripa wear their masks whenever they leave their bedrooms. Lay staff are provided a new mask every day. When staff arrives, they follow CDC guidelines of having their temperature taken and are offered a clean mask. As they leave, staff places their mask in a bucket for laundering and sanitizing every evening. Sisters and lay staff are very grateful and appreciative of the work that has been done to keep everyone safe.

Mask making at OLGC

Sisters sew and iron fabric to make mask at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mankato, Minnesota.

At Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) in Mankato, Minnesota, Sister Rose Anthony Krebs headed up the mask construction project. Twenty-two sisters, nurses and lay staff were involved in the mask construction over a two-week period. Sisters each took up a particular station to complete the project in a timely fashion; such as sewing, turning the fabric right side out, ironing, pleating, cutting elastic and whatever else needed to be completed. The material used for the project consisted of materials the sisters received prior to the pandemic. They only had to order elastic after they used all they had. Sisters and lay staff received masks. In addition, the sisters recently made roughly 200 masks for their local fire department.

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School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100


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