Nothing like a woman on a mission. Marie Senechal is driven to sew as many quilted blankets as she can for the children. And she has no plans of slowing down at 90+ years.
When she can’t sleep, the best cure is for her to finish what’s on her sewing table. Marie has been sewing since she was a child but when she became a mother, she started making quilts for her children.
Marie declares “it is not about me – it is all about God’s children, that is why I do what I do.” As she cuts and matches the pieces, her mind is busy reciting the first verse of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want,” sometimes adding her favorite phrase, “with the Lord’s help I am in charge of my fate.”
Each blanket is done with Peace and Love. It takes Marie about 12 hours or more to finish a crazy quilt. Depending on the size, a crazy quilt might have 100+ pieces. Marie explains that it is called a crazy quilt because the pieces are irregular with varieties of colors and anything goes. There is no established pattern of color combination and the design is left to Marie’s imagination – but they do take longer. Quilts with large panels may take quicker to finish.
Marie insists that her quilts should be bright – it is rare to find a dark colored quilt in her collection. She wants her quilts to spread cheer to the children who receive them. Marie donates all her quilts to various local organizations such as St. Matthews House, Shelter for Abused Women and Children; Golisano Children’s Hospital and to the children of migrant workers. For the first time this year Marie will be donating her quilts to the children at Manatee Elementary School.
But there is more to Marie’s day than just making quilts for the children. She is an active member of the Catholic Council for Women at San Marco Catholic Church; active with the Marco Island Woman’s Club and Marco Island Center for the Arts.
Marie’s quilts are works of art – no two are alike. She is thankful to two special women who have provided her with ample fabric for her quilts – Carol Scrivener and Kathy Schetterer. Marie is also very appreciative of the generosity of Fairfield Batting Company that has donated quilt batting for her quilts. Marie adds her name, year and her age written in red indelible ink in every quilt.
She started sewing quilts in 2000 and according to Marie, she has stitched “with LOVE” about 4000 quilts. She used to finish 200 quilts for the holiday gift giving and will have about 178 quilts ready for this season. One very lucky child will receive a quilt for the holidays and will know that she/he is loved very much by Marie.
Marie Senechal has been a full time resident of Marco Island since 1988. She also used to paint and displayed her art at the Art League of Marco Island. Marie has four children, six grandchildren and two great granddaughters.