Ilonggo craftsmanship in Pope’s Tacloban mass
SANTA BARBARA, Philippines – This Satuday, some of the proudest women will be the sisters and workers of the Immaculada Cordes de Maria congregation, WUTHLE Inc. Their intricate bobbin-lace that includes altar linens like corporal, purificator and hand towels, will be used during the Pope’s mass in Tacloban this Saturday, January 17. (READ: Official Schedule: Pope Francis in the Philippines)
Suzzette Villan vividly recalls the time she was informed that her organization was to craft altar linens that will be used during one of Pope Francis’ masses during his visit to the Philippines.
“We are very happy and blessed for this opportunity. We may not see the Pope in person, but at least he will use the altar linens that we made,” shared Villan, overall supervisor of the Women United through Handcrafted Lace and Embroidery Inc. (WUTHLE Inc.) based at the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Santa Barbara town here.
Villan said it was Father Alvin Nicolasora, their longtime customer, who recommended the women’s group’s handmade products to be used during the mass.
Aside from the altar linens, the group was also tapped to embroider the Pope’s coat of arms, which was also sent to Tacloban for the Supreme Pontiff’s scheduled meeting with the residents.
“We did not hesitate when they offered us the task,” Villan said. “They must have seen the quality of our works, which is much finer, compared to ones done using machines.”
She said it took them a week to finish working on the altar linens made of bobbin-lace. Bobbin-lace making, originating from Belgium, is an intricate weaving technique using the bobbin – a wooden object with flat ends and a tube in the center around which thread is wound.
Bobbin-lace making was brought to the Philippines in 1991 through a Belgian nun, Sister Madeleine Dieryck, ICM. She earlier founded WUTHLE in 1985 after she received two embroidered handkerchiefs from daughters of sanitarium patients.
“Embroidery used to be the main craft done here at WUTHLE,” Villan said. “But when Sister Madeleine went home for a vacation in Belgium, she learned bobbin-lace making to give recovering patients who still found it difficult to handle needles. These patients were already cleared of their leprosy, and bobbin-lace making was a form of their therapy.”
She added that bobbin-lace making and embroidery are also an opportunity for “ex-Hansenites” or cured leprosy patients to be productive and earn. Their relatives also help out in the organization.
The craftsmanship and history behind the materials helps to ensure that the mass in Tacloban will be all the more beautiful and meaningful. – Rappler.com