Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Threaded Family Tree - Part II

Greetings from Ireland! While here on the Emerald Isle, I thought it only appropriate for the next installment of "Our Threaded Family Tree" - the Ireland edition!

The art of embroidery and needlework lies deep within our family's history. Despite the fact that our family heritage includes such striking differences in American settlers - such as Irish Immigrants, Italian printers and butchers, German aristocrats, and rebel soldiers in the Civil War - one thing seems to remain a general interest among many: embroidery and needlework.  Join us as we travel around the country, tracing a deep-rooted interest in sewing amidst a world of Indians, Immigrants, and convents, unknowingly paving the way for what is now known as, "Catholic Embroidery". 

Part II - From Emerald Isle to Ellis Isle
Bridget (Beatrice) Stenson Ludwig - Born in Tubercurry, Co. Sligo Ireland in 1891

In 1910, a young pious Catholic Irishwoman left the growing hardships in a struggling country to find a better life in the the land of opportunity. Seeking shelter in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, Beatrice Stenson, known for "never walking, but running", greeted Ellis Island with all the energy of her 19 years. Beatrice began employment as a domestic, often assigned to the lowest and meanest of jobs in a wealthy household. After three years of life in America, "Bea" met and married Frederick Ludwig, a German immigrant, and raised a family of 6 children together with him in a small apartment in the Bronx. When Frederick passed away in 1935, Beatrice was forced to take on odd jobs and begin a laundry service from her home, while also allowing her oldest daughters to work and supplement their small income.

To keep the family fed and clothed throughout life in the small apartment, Beatrice washed laundry and offered her services as a seamstress. Her handiwork with needle and thread was known far and wide for it's excellence. Many wonders were worked with her needle, favorites of which still live on in the memory of her granddaughters, who treasured handmade dresses - labors of love from Grandmother "Bea".

Thank you, great-grandmother Beatrice, for the gift of your hands and the example of a truly Valiant Woman - in more ways than one.

"Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her... She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands... she hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle... Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day... Her children rose up and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her."

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