Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Pentecost Quilt

The three-part Pentecost quilt, in red with orange, yellow, and white flames.

Pentecost Quilt, by May Reisz and Phyllis DeFano, 1981

The design was donated by May Reisz, a professional artist and member of University Lutheran Church, and incorporates several symbols associated with Pentecost. The most common visual symbol for the Holy Spirit is the dove, based on the account of the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, and John 1:32. Tongues of flame are also used to speak of the coming power of the Holy Spirit, based on the story of Pentecost in Acts 2. The nine pointed star is a symbolic representation of hope and the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Phyllis DeFano, a professional quilter, was commissioned to create the work. In honoring the memory of a woman pastor, it was especially appropriate to select an art form that has been traditionally identified with women. Phyllis has been working in traditional quilting since 1973. She is active in “The Quilters’ Connection,” an organization of over 250 quilters from this part of New England. As a self-employed craftsperson, Phyllis makes a variety of fabric objects in addition to quilts, including toys and children’s soft furniture. She has also completed a major project of a children’s play exhibit for the Los Angeles Children’s Museum.

These banners were commissioned by University Lutheran Church to remember and honor the ministry of the Rev. Patricia Hundley. Her ministry here took place during the short season of the final days of her life, from her ordination on January 12, 1975 until her death in August 1975.

Photo by Chris Pollari. All rights reserved.