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Benedictine Sisters restore Miraculous Medal Shrine vestments

Benedictine Sisters restore Miraculous Medal Shrine vestments - (01-02-2017)

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PHOTO: A variety of vestments from the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia recently received new life thanks to the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

It’s said we should never judge a book by its cover.

Perhaps we can also say one should never judge a vestment by its color.

The liturgical vestments department at the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson, Arizona, received some worn out vestments from the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia that were in less-than-ideal condition.

“They were vestments originally created a long time ago, possibly in France, and were old and stained from use over the years,” LVD director Sister Mary Jane Romero, OSB said. “It was up to us to bring them back to their former glory.”

Handcrafting and repairing liturgical vestments is the Benedictine Sisters’ oldest work, dating back to its pioneering Sisters who arrived from Switzerland in 1874.

However, even with a long history of detailed work, this was a monumental task for the Sisters involved with the project.

“The embroidery is so beautiful and very delicate,” Sister Patricia Vereb, OSB said. “We knew it was a project that needed time and a delicate touch.”

“It required a concrete plan too, detailing step by step exactly how we’d approach it,” Sister Mary Jane added.

Over a period of several months, the Sisters carefully removed the embroidery from the old garments, cleaned it and put it on new fabric to recreate a cope, humeral veil, chasuble and chalice pall. It took about 10 months because the Sisters had additional projects to complete during the same time.

“We were amazed at how wonderful each piece turned out due to the initial state the vestments arrived in,” Sister Patricia said.

The transformation of the Miraculous Medal Shrine vestments were, in a way, miraculous and are now back home in Philadelphia ready to go back into service.

“The vestments were indeed a challenge, but seeing them come together piece by piece made the entire project worth it,” Sister Mary Jane said.

For additional photos of the restored vestments, please click here.