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The Mission to Restore Ecclesiastical Damask

This particular corner of all-things-fine-and-liturgical has been calling to us for several years now. Linen field disasters, poly-yuck-ster, and the wreck-ovation of the artistic dignity of altar linens has resulted in an almost complete dearth of ecclesiastical linen damask.

Some days this vacuum almost physically hurts. At my last parish, way before the St. Martha's Guild, I was asked by the new pastor to make an altar cloth using fabric that he had purchased from Joann Fabrics. I should have asked to see it before I said yes.

Kelly green.


Sweatshirt ribbing.

I wish I was making it up.

That trauma chased me away to St John Cantius and I've been trying to recover from it ever since.

One breakthrough moment in that journey toward healing came when I first encountered damask with churchy stuff woven right into it. Everything froze. A profound silence settled over my brain. I think I went a little deaf there for a minute.

Then a nice fat light bulb blinked on, “Restore this Sacred thing.” There are certain items that just must be rescued from oblivion.

There is hope. We've found some signs of life. Last week we joyfully unboxed a newly loomed, 100% linen, damask altar cloth from Sanny de Zoete. Magnificent!!

You can get one too, you'll just have to order it from the Netherlands. So far that is the only place we've found that produces linen, damask, altar cloths.

Isn't that just beautiful?!

Talk about taking your altar up a notch! Thank you Sanny! Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

She offers a matching corporal too...

...and this very fine damask rendering of the Last Supper.

It fits perfectly on our favorite alabaster altar.

I am totally smitten with this episode of our St. Martha’s Guild adventure. We have screwed up our courage and we are setting out into the deep. Wish us luck...

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Sep 30, 2023

The Damask cloths are a wonder!! I had thought there must be “liturgical thrifiting” because so many churches were closed in last 20 years. The entire blog is terrific ( and I’m not a needlewoman.)

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