The spiritual practice of nurturing others' souls, and our own as well, is part and parcel of shawl-knitting ministry, a worldwide ecumenical movement of small groups of women who create shawls for those who need them most. Think of a handful of women in a group knitting together. A prayer has stitched them together in common purpose and what they are creating out of their time and talent and love is something that will nurture someone else and fill them with joy. This group is bringing to fresh life the ancient Celtic ideal of weaving a simple but satisfying practice into the mystery of God. Those who receive these shawls find themselves swaddled in beauty, peace, and pleasure. They know in their hearts that others have given something precious to them that is filled with healing Divine energy and purpose.

Susan S. Jorgensen has been a spiritual director in private practice since 1989 and leads workshops and retreats across the country. She is the founding editor of Presence: The Journal of Spiritual Directors and the author of Rekindling the Passion: Liturgical Renewal in Your Community and As We Celebrate: Letters to God on Life and Liturgy. Susan S. Izard is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, serving as pastor of spiritual life in a parish in Hartford, Connecticut. Knitting into the Mystery contains chapters on a history of shawl-knitting ministry, ideas on selecting yarn, knitting alone or with others, keeping a journal, giving away a shawl, and receiving and wearing a shawl.

This is an awe-inspiring book about a very meaningful spiritual practice. We were especially moved by the group of prayers at the end. In a time when spiritual practices are expanding in so many fascinating and special ways, this is an essential volume for church libraries. For as the authors of Knitting into the Mystery put it, our hands are God's hands.

Try a Spiritual Practice on Nurturing