Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Morgan Cathcart
During the pandemic, people have been lonely, away from friends and family, longing for the days that they could go outside without a mask and without worry of catching the virus, especially those in elder care or hospitals.
Wethersfield resident Jeanne Cathcart is spreading love and joy to friends, family, and strangers from her home. She spends her free time knitting prayer shawls that she then gives to others. Prayer shawls, if you don’t know, are blankets that are done with three stitches to represent The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit, and are a few months of work to complete each one.
“One went to a very good friend who never took it off his shoulders when he was in a nursing home, his wife displayed it at the funeral on her husband's casket,” Cathcart said. “That was the first time I was in awe of what I made and how it could make people feel,” she then added.
With the changes the world is facing since the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathcart’s knitting group at a local church has stopped meeting for the time being. However, this hasn’t stopped Cathcart from making prayer shawls and volunteering. “Since COVID, I have made many more for friends. I have had more free time which has allowed me the time to knit more,” Cathcart said.
So many have lost loved ones or been separated from their families in order to stay safe. Cathcart and her husband, have been lucky to be able to stay in good health through this past year. Sadly, the same can’t be said for one of her good friends who had surgery recently and is in the hospital. It is situations like this that the prayer shawl is the most important to Cathcart. Being able to give a friend in need a gift of warmth and hope is something that has no price or restrictions. That friend will be receiving a prayer shawl soon, Cathcart has confirmed.
These gifts aren’t always for friends or family. When Cathcart has the time and resources she donates her knitting to her church and sometimes other organizations. From those places, the shawls are given to people in need, people that she doesn't even know. It isn’t hard to brighten someone’s day, could be family, a friend, or even a stranger you have never met, and Cathcart has proved that.
Along with knitting, Jeanne spends many hours volunteering at her church, whether it is setting up the altar for the next mass, or cleaning up the garden. She plants flowers, pulls weeds, and decorates the interior of the church with flowers in the springtime. You may ask why someone would do this, and from Jeanne herself, she said, “You hope people appreciate it, but that's not why I do it. I do it because I want to. It's a feeling of giving and doing something for someone else.”
Anyone can be a hero, whether they want recognition for it or not. Jeanne is exactly that, a hero in our very own community. Always striving to give to others and brighten other’s days. “There’s so many other people that are heroes other than me that do so much good. So many people do so much and that's what makes the world go round, we all need to give in one way or another,” Cathcart said.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.