The WBR Chapter of Born With Angel Wings hosted a workshop on July 9 at the WBR Sheriff’s Posse Building. Anne & Cliff Ancelet, founders of the ministry, welcomed 40 attendees. They were especially honored to welcome 14 ladies who had never attended a Born With Angel Wings workshop.
During her opening remarks, Mrs. Ancelet gave an overview of the organization and dedicated the workshop to the memory of Carolyn Swanson, a dedicated volunteer who passed away. Carolyn’s sisters, Cheryl Moses and Natalie Badeaux, shared some memories of their sister. Andrea Norman, a retired nurse who consoled many parents following the loss of their babies, told of the comfort a family feels when receiving an Angel Box.
The remainder of the day involved making items for the boxes. Table leaders assisted volunteers with sewing burial gowns, making tiny diapers, making ribbon cross bookmarks & beautiful beaded dragonflies, and much more. After a delicious lunch provided by WBR volunteers, more items were made and some volunteers brought projects home to complete.
The following volunteers were in attendance:
Cheryl Tassin, KK Blanchard, Cliff Ancelet, Anne Ancelet, Linda Peterson, Tammy McLin, Kristin Garcia, Colleen Martin,Terry Farrar, Chris Resweber, Carol Quattrone, Ruth Stanley, Cindy Carroll, Cheryl Moses, Zoe Moses,Pam Hebert, Susan Dufrene, Janell Woods,Vicki Glader, Betty Calcagno, Metha Arnold, Sara Grady, Melissa Guilbeau, Susan Brown, Tina Chenevert, Pearline Laprarie, Anita Wilkinson, Linda Mouch, Pam Walsh, Karen Perron, Gerry Achee, Julie Achee, Andrea Nornmand, Michelle Cagle, Wendy LeBlanc, Mona Landry, Dorene Mayeaux, Pam Keowen, Terry Saizan, and Natalie Badeaux.
Anne & Cliff Ancelet would like to thank Sheriff Mike Caze for the use of the facility. Chapter Leaders Metha Arnold and Colleen Martin wish to thank those who attended and all of the volunteers who helped to make the workshop a huge success. They invite you learn more about the ministry by visiting their Facebook page, Born With Angel Wings, or their website www.bornwithangelwings.com.
Meet a group of Northshore ladies who hand-sew burial garments for the parents of babies that are stillborn.
The Born With Angel Wings ministry is proud to announce that due to increased participation by its volunteers, it is now able to offer Angel Boxes to funeral homes in the area. These beautiful boxes are offered free of charge to grieving parents who lose a baby before, at, or shortly after birth. Each box contains a burial gown, many made from donated wedding gowns, blanket, hat, booties, diapers, mommy-baby bracelet set, cross bookmark, locket-of-hair bag, kleenex, photo album, journal, forget-me-not seeds, stuffed animal, & a book on grieving. The ministry is a non-profit and operates strictly on donations, with volunteers using their God-given talents to create handmade items for the boxes. The focus of the WBR chapter during April and May has been on collecting items and assembling them in boxes for delivery to the funeral homes. The first delivery went to Wilbert Funeral Home for their locations in Port Allen and Plaquemine. More deliveries to other funeral homes are planned for the coming weeks. In order to prepare the Angel Boxes for delivery, items were collected from the many volunteers who make them and a workday was held at the KC Hall in Port Allen. Several WBR volunteers gathered to assemble approximately 100 boxes under the guidance of Anne and Cliff Ancelet, founders of Born with Angel Wings. The volunteers who helped with this project were Metha Arnold, Colleen Martin, Toni Brantley, Ruth Stanley, KK Blanchard, Michelle Cagle and Cheryl Tassin.
Anne & Cliff Ancelet would like to thank the Knights of Columbus for the use of their hall. They would also like the community to know that an Angel Box can be requested directly from them if a family does not have access to one from a hospital or funeral home. Contact information can be found on the Born With Angel Wings Facebook page or at bornwithangelwings.com. Anyone interested in volunteering or making a donation are asked to send a message through the Facebook page. Anne Ancelet often says that it takes a village to dress the baby angels for Heaven. West Baton Rouge has an amazing village of volunteers who work tirelessly and generously toward this end. Offers to donate wedding gowns are appreciated, but are still not being accepted at this time due to covid.
Michelle Cagle and Catherine Wilbert Chustz
BORN WITH ANGEL WINGS
About four years ago, Anne McCoy felt the pain and sorrow of losing a great grandbaby. She was traveling with her fiance, Cliff, and needed a way to deal with the grief she was feeling over her family’s loss. She began crocheting, and it turned into a comforting way to pass the time.
She had heard about Angel Groups that made Angel Gowns for babies who were “born with their angel wings.” In her search, she stumbled upon vibrant communities who made gowns and gifts for parents who lost their newborns. As she began learning about these organizations, she became friends with many of the founders. Some sent her patterns for dresses and bonnets and shared information about the process of making Angel Gowns.
Anne, along with her friends Peggy, Sheryl, Sue, Mary, and Helen, who were in other Angel Groups, got into a routine of helping one another by sending each other materials, finishing dresses and bonnets for each other, and lending emotional support.
“I had collected and accumulated a lot of stuff, and everything started stacking up,” Anne says. “It kind of ran like that [for a while], with me solo, with my support from these ladies. And then one morning, I woke up and prayed, ‘Lord, I can’t do this by myself. This is your ministry, and if this is what I’m supposed to do, make it possible. You need to send me some people.’”
Shortly after, April Welch Aucoin came to her, wanting to help. April put an ad in the local newspaper, asking for wedding gowns, and the gowns started piling in. Then, Jennifer Starns reached out after seeing the dresses and crocheting on Facebook. She, too, began working with Anne, buying fabric and embellishments and working with the patterns.
The community in Central has jumped on board with endless amounts of energy and open hearts. Born with Angel Wings, as the organization is now called, meets once every six weeks at Blackwater United Methodist Church. While some ladies deconstruct donated weddings gowns and cut out patterns, others crochet bonnets, make diapers, and string beads into matching mom and child bracelets. Some women get creative and make tiny vests and bowties to add to the gowns for the boys.
Once the items have been made, they are arranged in boxes to be sent to hospitals. Each Angel Bereavement Box contains a crochet blanket; gown; hats; diapers; journal; booties; tissues; stuffed animal; and a book, which includes information on the stages of grief, funeral arrangements, and poems. Then, the boxes are tied together with a pink or blue bow and labeled with boy or girl and the age of the baby the clothes will fit.
Anne has found hospitals in the area who don’t already have an Angel Group serving them, and she delivers the boxes to them to pass out to parents when they are needed.
“I feel that every person should be shown the dignity to be buried right,” Anne says. “Many of these parents aren’t prepared when their baby passes away. Some have financial difficulties. To help these families at this time of their life is such a feeling of accomplishment, and you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”