From the archives: Beautiful tapestries

embroidered tapestry

A tapestry hand-embroidered by Mother Caroline Friess.

From the Michele Levandoski, archivist at the School Sisters of Notre Dame North American Archives:

Mother Caroline Friess was known for her embroidery skills. She established the Tapestry Department at the Milwaukee Motherhouse as a means to generate income to support the sisters. The department made various types of liturgical items, such as vestments, palls, chasubles and burses.

The photos show two examples of the work done by the sisters. The first, attributed to Mother Caroline, is a pall that was hand-embroidered with gold thread. The worlds “”O Salutaris Hostia” (O Saving Victim)” are above a chalice. Surrounding both are bunches of grapes and wheat chaffs.

The second photo, also a hand-embroidered pall, depicts the Lamb of God. Based on the type of stitches and thread used in this piece, it dates to approximately 1900-1940 and was most likely made at the Milwaukee Motherhouse Tapestry Department.

embroidered tapestry

Hand-embroidered tapestry dating back to approximately 1900-1940.

SSND foundress Blessed Theresa of Jesus believed needlework was important in educating young women and children. She believed the skill taught focus and discipline. To learn more about the importance of needlework in the SSND community, visit:


The School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) North American Archives is the repository of historical documents and artifacts for the congregation in North America. Located at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the archives include more than 2,000 linear feet of records that date back to the establishment of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in North America. Learn more at