Prayer Shawls provide comfort, thanks
Dodge Center resident, Mary Trapp, is a soft-spoken, kind woman, with a lifetime of nursing, education and world travel bubbling just below the surface that can become a veritable geyser of touching, sometimes amazing, stories.
Knapp’s stories can perhaps spill forth most freely in an almost stream-of-consciousness barrage as she methodically weaves a string of yarn atop one of her many knitting boards, crafting yet another of her multitude of “prayer shawls.”
Not to be confused with the more traditional prayer shawls, or mantillas—ornamental veils most commonly associated with Roman Catholics in Spain—Trapp’s prayer shawls, instead, are knitted yarn creations that can be almost scarf-like in size or as large as a medium blanket.
“These shawls come in all different shapes and designs,” said Trapp. “But they have to be done in a prayerful way; they have to have a meaning for me and originate from a good, positive state of mind. If not, I think negative emotions or thoughts may transfer into the shawl itself.”
A long-time cardiac surgery/intensive care nurse with St. Mary’s Hospital, Trapp also worked in general nursing before conducting outreach work and education that took her around the United States and worldwide, including Palao, Saipan, American Samoa, Guam and even Africa.
As she wound a long strand of light gray/brown yarn amongst the many pins comprising one of her knitting boards, she related an experience in Africa during which she helped feed one of five premature quintuplet boys.
“There wasn’t a single tube or wire like you’d see here,” she said. “I just held this little guy and tipped a tiny teacup of his mother’s milk to his mouth, and he drank it with the smallest of little sips. All five of those little boys survived, I think.”
As she paused to correct an almost imperceptible weaving error, she went on to explain how she eventually started crafting her prayer shawls as an ongoing and ambitious hobby following her retirement.
A surgical mishap during an otherwise routine procedure on her left hand years ago made it incredibly difficult for her to perform more traditional crocheting or knitting, and just everyday tasks in general. While searching the Internet for alternative yarn knitting options, she discovered knittingboard.com, which featured the ingenious knitting board invention that made it much easier to knit using her right hand almost exclusively.
“I needed something to do,” she said. “I needed a purpose. I saw that knitting board and I bought one specifically for making prayer shawls. I became good friends with the knitting board inventor, but her product has taken off so much that I can’t just call her up and just talk any more. But I think I own five of those knitting boards now. Different sizes, for different projects.”
Despite maintaining a journal of her thoughts and meditations,