“We are in the world to serve. But to serve without love is not service at all.” Sister Angelita Molina never forgot those words, heard during a retreat as a young novice with the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale, Pennsylvania.
During her novitiate, Sister Angelita spent hours in the convent sewing room creating the intricate habits that the sisters wore at the time. Five decades later, after teaching children in her native Puerto Rico as well as serving God’s people in the mission fields of Nigeria and New Mexico, Sister Angelita has returned home to do what she loves — sew.
A gifted seamstress, Sister Angelita serves others through her sewing ministry. Every Tuesday, Sister Angelita travels with her sewing machine to Alverno Apartments in Millvale and on Thursdays she visits John Paul Plaza atop Pittsburgh’s Polish Hill. Here, she sews pillows, alters clothes for the residents and talks and prays with them. “Sewing is a ministry and as part of this ministry, I bring the word of God to others,” she says.
The skill she learned from her mother when she was just nine-years-old took Sister Angelita to Nigeria where she taught many women to sew by hand. “They would buy their materials alongside the street and then sit on a tree trunk where they would sew their wraps,” she says.
In Gallup, New Mexico she spent time teaching Navajo women to sew. “Everywhere I go, I teach people to sew,” says Sister Angelita, who also holds lessons in crocheting and embroidery.
Whether altering clothes or empowering others to develop their own sewing talents, stitching isn’t the only thing Sister Angelita teaches in her travels. Whether praying with a senior adult or sharing in conversation with an employee, Sister Angelita lives the gospel in word and deed. “I’m here to share the talent God has given to me,” she says. “In doing so, I have discovered that this ministry of sewing brings people closer to God and that brings me joy.”