Mrs. Notten’s ‘prayer quilts’

Little did Harriet Notten realize that when she lovingly crafted one of her colourful “prayer quilts,” it would help change a mother’s mind about having an abortion. Mrs. Notten, a Hamilton grandmother with health problems, hand sews dozens of beautiful quilts decorated with lively nursery rhyme characters and themes and donates them to Toronto’s Aid to Women. She prays continually while working on a quilt, for the mother to whom it will be given and for the baby whom that mother is carrying.

Last year, a young couple whom she has never met were deeply touched by one of her quilts which helped save their baby. Kim and Igor, both in their mid-twenties, were “squeegee kids” who met on the street. They lived in a flophouse and were cocaine-addicted. When Kim became pregnant, she called Aid to Women, thinking it was an abortuary. Joanne Dieleman, the director of Aid to Women, invited her for a visit. When Kim and Igor arrived, pro-life counsellor Robert Hinchey showed them slides of fetal development, explaining their own baby’s stage of development. During the presentation, Kim was somewhat moved, but remained uncommitted, while behind her back, Igor gave the counsellors a “thumbs up” sign.

Sensing encouragement, Robert offered Kim a prayer quilt, which she accepted, promptly took home and hid. However, Igor found it in a cupboard and was delighted. He pinned it up on a wall and soon afterwards Kim accepted Aid to Women’s referral to a Hamilton maternity home, where she stayed for five months, earning a high school equivalency, and then gave birth to Kyle. During these months, Igor visited Kim regularly, supported her emotionally and got a construction job. Both became Christians.