By Starrla Cray
LORETTO, MN In many ways, Louise Werbowski’s heart is a lot like her quilts warm, soft, and beautiful.
“I want to give back to the Lord, who has been good to me, I’ll tell you that,” said Werbowski, 93, of Loretto.
Since 1998, Werbowski and the Loretto Quilters have donated more than $80,000 to Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
And, they’re planning to give even more, through a “homemade quilts and covers bingo” Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Saints Peter and Paul Community Center in Loretto.
“This is the first time they’re doing a quilt bingo in Loretto,” Werbowski said.
The event, which is also sponsored by Catholic United Financial, is $10 per person. It includes a hot meal, a bingo card (20 games of bingo), and a chance at door prizes. Additional cards are available for $5.
There will also be a free bike drawing for children age 14 and under.
When someone from church asked Werbowski if they could purchase her quilts to use as bingo prizes, she wouldn’t hear of it.
“I said they could have them for free,” Werbowski said. “I’m going to donate the money back anyhow.”
Normally, one of her twin-sized quilts goes for about $85, and larger quilts cost more. There’s a high demand for them at fundraisers at the parish center, as well as orders from friends, family, and community members.
But, Werbowski wouldn’t dream of keeping the money for herself.
“What would I do with it?” she asked. “I give every bit of it to the church.”
Although Werbowski is seven years shy of a century old, she still has a sharp mind, youthful laugh, and bright smile.
That doesn’t mean her life has been easy, however.
As a young child, her father had been in poor health, and died at age 63. Then, a year later, her mother died suddenly, at age 48.
“I was 9 years old,” said Werbowski.
She remembers her mother excusing herself from the dinner table to lie down that day.
After dinner, her older sister said, “If you stack the dishes, I’ll wash them.”
Then, they saw that a plate of food their mother’s was unfinished.
“She never left any food on the table,” Werbowski said.
When they went to check on her in the bedroom, she was already gone.
From then on, Werbowski lived with various brothers, sisters, and other relatives.
“I’m the youngest of 12 children,” she said, explaining that two were stillborn, and eight lived to adulthood.
Werbowski said people have asked her the secret to a long, healthy life.
“I tell them, ‘I eat three meals a day, and I never drank or smoked,’” she said. “That’s my recipe.”
It seems that keeping her mind and body active have also been beneficial.
“One thing that keeps her young is that she computes the measurements for the quilts, and lays them out in pleasing color patterns,” said Werbowski’s niece-in-law Betty Jacobs.
Jacobs and other members of the Loretto Quilters meet at Werbowski’s home some Wednesdays at 9 a.m.
“Louise makes all the quilts,” Jacobs said. “We just do the tying.”
Quilt bingo Oct. 16 in Loretto
Catholic United Financial, and Loretto Quilters are sponsoring “homemade quilts and covers bingo” Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Saints Peter and Paul Community Center in Loretto.
Admission of $10 includes a hot meal, a bingo card (20 games of bingo), and a chance at door prizes. Additional cards are available for $5.
There will be a free bike drawing for children age 14 and under.
Proceeds will benefit religious education at Sts. Peter and Paul.
For more information, call (763) 479-2928.