HARAHAN (WVUE) - For the last seven years, a Harahan woman has been using her hands to get people to talk to God.
And she has touched thousands of lives in the process.
“The sound of this machine humming is like music to my ears ya know. I love to sew,” says Louella Lange was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, underwent surgery and chemotherapy and at the time, made a promise to God.
“I told the good Lord if you bring me through this and stay with me on this journey, I promise to do what I can to help other people who are going through this. The faith in Jesus is just unbelievable because I’ve never run out of fabric, ribbon, or lace,” she says.
Those materials are the pieces she uses to put together prayer pockets.
"Right now I’m on spool 408 of threads that I have used for these prayer pockets," says Lange.
It’s a tedious job but to date, she’s made more than 4,000 of them.
"What I make them for is for the patients to put their special scriptures, their special Bible readings, and their rosaries, their medications, whatever it takes to give you that spiritual comfort that you can get through prayer," she says.
All of the fabric, buttons, thread and ribbons are donated.
In turn, she then donates the prayer pockets too.
"The American Cancer Society uses them in the Southeast District of all the Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodges," Lange says. "There are 10 of them in that district and they go out to all of the Patrick F. Taylor’s in the district."
They also go to senior centers, nursing homes and on this day, to the oncology department at East Jefferson General Hospital.
Lange says it always comes full circle.
"I can leave and come home and there’s a package on my doorstep and it’s a package of material and guess what? I needed material. I was running out," Lange says. "Or I can go to the senior citizen center and there are people who gathered buttons for me and I was running low on buttons. And low and behold, the good Lord sent buttons my way so this is how it keeps going."
Her friend, Desda Smith, helps with the finishing touches.
Smith says, "On the weekend or when I can't sleep either with different illnesses I have, I help her. But I like to do stuff to help people. I was brought up that way."
The only thing Lange has to pay for is maintenance on her sewing machine, which never stops.
"Just like a car has an odometer, this machine has a reading that tells you how many stitches. And the machine is just three years old and I have made 9 million stitches," Lange says. "They said what are you doing lady? Nobody has a machine with this much stitching on it and I said that’s because I sew prayer pockets."
You might say there are nine million reasons why she is FOX 8′s great neighbor for October.
"It warms my heart, it really does, says Lange. "Not that I want the recognition but it’s an honor to know that people appreciate them and that they’re using them because I feel it’s encouraging people to pray because there’s so much power in prayer"
She says she'll continue to use her hands to touch as many lives as possible.