“By Their Works,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 78
Infant Burial Gowns Sewn by Relief Society
Losing a loved one is never easy, and without a full understanding of the plan of salvation, it can be particularly difficult. But Relief Society sisters in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake have made a difference through local hospitals for parents who have lost infant children.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia contacted Cathy Moyer, stake Relief Society president in the Philadelphia stake, seeking someone to provide burial gowns for infants who die in its Newborn Infant Center. The hospital had cared for two of Sister Moyer’s daughters, both of whom died of cancer. Sister Moyer asked Tammy Engebretsen, a member of the Broomall Second Ward, to head up the project.
Sister Engebretsen arranged for a local children’s clothing store to donate fabric and design a simple pattern. Each Relief Society in the stake has participated in sewing a total of more than 200 burial gowns in this ongoing project. The gowns are made to fit a baby as small as two pounds.
The Relief Society includes a card with each donated gown testifying of the return of the child’s spirit to its Heavenly Father and of the power of the Resurrection. Also on the card is the scripture Luke 18:16: “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Chris Clarkin of the Newborn Infant Center at Children’s Hospital expressed her appreciation for the gowns. In a thank-you letter, she wrote: “I want you to know that because of your group’s kindness, families know that they are not alone, that others acknowledge and sympathize with their loss. … You have made a significant contribution.”