Stitching heartsDoug Conway
The Trinity community is filled with focused groups who volunteer their time and energy to give back to those in need – both inside and out of the School community. The Trinity Grammar Quilters are one such group, and their handiwork provides comfort in times of real distress.
Primarily made up of mothers, the Trinity Grammar Quilters were brought together by Susie Cujes, the wife of former Head Master, Mr Milton Cujes, in 2005.
“We were a craft group to start with,” says Ms Evelyn Wise, who was there at the start of the group and is still a part of it today. “In the same year we started, a couple of the boys at the School got really sick and Susie suggested that we make a few quilts for them, so we started there.”
Now 17 years later, the group is still meeting and creating quilts for staff and students who are experiencing illness, having created around 40 quilts together in their time.
The group is always creating, but when they’re not needing to create a quilt for the Trinity community, they make them for Stitching Hearts, a patchwork group that then distributes quilts further afield, to recipients in nursing homes, women’s refuges, Meals on Wheels, hospitals, and schools.
They also create quilts that can be raffled or auctioned off to raise money for either Trinity or through Stitching Hearts for other organisations.
For the centenary of the School in 2013, the group created the Centenary Quilt which took over 18 months of dedicated work. The quilt featured an old schoolhouse pattern, in Trinity’s green and white, with a triangle pattern, honouring the 16 Houses that students belong to throughout their time at the School. The quilt was then auctioned off, raising more than $4,000 for the School’s centenary project.
The group has fluctuated in numbers over the years, at times growing very large. While many of the women involved are mothers of Trinity students or Alumni, there are also mothers of students from other schools – as well as those who have been Study Hall Supervisors or connected with Trinity in other ways.
“We have one mum who has been there right from the start,” Ms Wise says. “Numbers were very big for a while, but it’s all voluntary so different mums come and go over the years.”
After many years of meeting at the School, the group now meets at a couple of different houses – including Ms Wise’s – each month. At the moment, they’re working through a stack of leftover fabric to learn new techniques and create masterpieces.
“I’ll usually show the group a technique and they’ll work with it, we’ll put a quilt together using the things we’ve learnt, and then it will go off to a charity.”
The group loves new additions – anyone who is willing to learn is welcome.
“Some sewing experience is better than not having any at all,” Ms Wise laughs. “I’m not a proper teacher or anything like that, I’m just another mum that was involved at the School.”
Ms Wise’s son graduated from Trinity in 2008. She also knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of one of the quilts.
“I was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. The girls put together a quilt for me at that time. These quilts are made to show that the community cares and that there are prayers and support for them.”
Ms Deborah Xuereb, Secretary to the Head Master, has also experienced the power of receiving a quilt from the group during difficult times.
“In 2018, when my late husband was diagnosed with cancer, he was presented with a Trinity Quilt,” she said. “It was such a comfort to him. It went with him to his chemotherapy sessions and whenever he was admitted to hospital – it was a constant reminder that prayers were being said for him.”
Ms Sarah Grant, Administrative Assistant in the Head Master’s Office and Enrolments also recently experienced the care and generosity from the Trinity Grammar Quilters.
“I’ve seen the Trinity Quilters in action over the years and know the countless hours and the amount of effort that goes into making each individual quilt,” Sarah says. “The quilt is such a lovely expression of support, it’s so representative of the community of Trinity Grammar School and the genuine care that the people within the community have towards each other.
“When you are going through a difficult time, a gesture such as the Trinity quilt is so appreciated.”
Mr Tom Mae, Head of Professional Standards, has been in a position to receive two quilts within the last three years throughout his experiences with Legionnaires Disease, cancer and pulmonary embolisms.
“I think of the quilt as being a little bit magic,” he says. “They make you feel that you are being cared for by the community. The personalisation of them is amazing – not just that they’ve been made by hand, for you, but also the delivery to your home. It really lifts your spirits and you really feel that people are around you.
“To know that they’re there, it makes your heart lift, it makes you smile and it makes your family smile. That’s part of the magic.
“The second part is that they’ve obviously worked! On both occasions, I’m not supposed to have made it through. It must be something in the green and white, and it’s not only in the blankets, it’s also in my blood – it’s the merging of the two.
“I love what I do and I love Trinity. Trinity is my extended family and the quilts really represent the Trinity spirit.”