The Church Welfare Quilt

Just a year following World War II, an assignment was given to the University Ward Relief Society in Chicago, Illinois. The assignment was to make eight quilts for distribution to needy members of the Church in war-torn Europe.

Sister Matis was president of the Relief Society at the time and along with the other sisters in her ward, she was very happy to accept this assignment to help others in need. It didn't take long and the sisters were busy making these quilts. Soon they completed seven beautiful quilts and turned them over to the stake Relief Society president.

As it was nearing the end of the year, the sisters were worn out and just too tired to get that last quilt made to complete their assignment.

But Sister Matis was eager to complete the work so she called the women together one more time. It was just under the holidays when these sisters hurredly stitched goether several pieces of cloth cut from some dark, old trousers. When they finished it, they had to admit it just didn't look very pretty.

Sister Matis took it home to make a backing for it, but when she took a look at the topside, she thought to herself, "This just isn't our best work. It isn't very pretty. When we make something for someone else, we should make it as pretty as we can." So Sister Matis hunted and hunted until she she found a pretty pink and blue shirt. She cut it up into strips. Then she took the quilt apart and inserted the colorful strips in between the darker patches. When she finished, she had a very pretty quilt top.

The next day, Sister Matis took the quilt back to the Ward where the sisters lined it with soft wool and finished the quilt. Now at last they were happy with such a nice quilt they had made. They were confident that the family that would receive it would like it very much and that it would keep them warm and snug. This eighth quilt was turned over to the Church for distribution.

Two years later on, Sister Matis joined with her husband, Brother Henry Matis, to a country called Finland where Brother Matis was to be the very first president of the Finland Mission. Of course, their family joined them.

Only a few years had passed since World War II when the Matis family was preparing to leave for Finland. As all future missionaries would be instructed, the Matis' were told to take warm clothes and blankets with them to Finland. They did as they were asked, yet when they arrived in Finland, they found that during the journey, all their trunks and boxes had been broken into and that much of their belongings had been stolen including clothing, bedding and housewares.

They were soon suffering from Finland's arctic chill as were many of their missionaries and Finnish Church members. So President Matis wrote to Salt Lake to the First Presidency and asked for help. At that time, they could not even buy what they needed in Finland.

It took a long time for the supplies to reach Finland because it is so far away from Salt Lake City. At long last, however, help arrived. Sister Matis went with her husband to inspect the shipment. When they opened the first box, they were amazed to find lying on the top was the very same quilt, that eighth quilt, that Sister Matis had insisted be made back in Chicago. Once again she admired the pretty pink and blue strips she herself had sewn. How the Matis family enjoyed that warm quilt sent to them through the Church Welfare Program!

Contributed by Frank R. Smith

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