The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields is an Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Pennsylvania that is centered on the worship of God, the ministry of all baptized persons, and the call to be agents of Christ’s love in the world.
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Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
8000 St. Martin’s Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19118

The Rev. W. Jarrett Kerbel

St. Martin's Cloak

The Cloak is a collection of audio vignettes—stories that reveal parishioners’ faith journeys. Share your thoughts by sending us an e-mail.

She helped me make my wedding dress; we laid it out on her living room floor.

Eugenie Dieck

For Eugenie Dieck working with fabric and thread is a metaphor for how she forms bonds with the people she loves.

Working with my hands, particularly in textiles, is how I’ve come to know myself and to know how to be in love with other people.

My first sense of competence in working with my hands was from Girl Scouts. I earned a Girl Scout badge making a little dress, and my paternal grandmother turned it inside out to make sure I had finished the seams properly. So I’ve always known that what isn’t seen is as important as what is seen in terms of the construction of a garment but also in the construction of our intentions.

Another thing that’s mattered to me about sewing is – one of my sisters and I have been tremendous companions to one another. When we were in high school we didn’t have a lot of money and we needed to make a lot of our clothes. So we would sit up late at night watching old Cary Grant movies on TV and make dresses together. And it was just a wonderful form of sisterhood and companionship and pride about being good-looking high school girls.

Then when David and I got married, I didn’t have enough money for a going-away dress. And my mother insisted that I must have a new dress to go away in. And I had used all my money to make my wedding dress – all $63 – and my sister stepped in and made me a going-away dress. It just made me feel so loved and so proud.

One of the things that stitching has done for me is it’s allowed me to have an avenue to get really close to my mother-in-law. She’s a very private person and not one to do a lot of disclosing, particularly through conversation. And over the years we have come together through our handwork.

She helped me make my wedding dress; we laid it out on her living room floor and she helped me cut it out and then she sewed the buttons up the back two days before the wedding – in part because I needed help, but in part because I knew she would need something to do to soothe herself before the wedding.

And then over the years we’ve become avid needlepointers. We just sit and needlepoint together and chat and talk and give each other needlepoint gifts and buy each other needlepoint. It’s just become a way to be present with her. I’ve come to regard my companionship and friendship with her as one of the great blessings of my life.