Retired nun helps makes hundreds of winter hats for Operation Holiday

Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – They call her the Energizer Bunny.

“A baby’s hat I can make in one hour.”

Sister Leona Riebel keeps going and going and going.

“If I make a man’s hat, it takes me eight hours.”

All sizes and all colors, Sister Riebel knits off and on all day, every day.

“I made 500 last year and 400 this year.”

The hats are given away each year through Operation Holiday, helping keep families warm in the winter.

“It really aligns with the mission of HumanKind Ministries. We’re here to serve people in need and do it with kindness and dignity,” said Angela Perez, Humankind Ministries.

Not surprising perhaps that a nun wants to help people, but with her quick laugh and energetic spirit, you might not guess she’s 102 years old.

“I still have good eyes, good hands. My ears are not too good.”

Her good genes and good intentions must run in the family.

Out of 12 kids, four of the girls became nuns, Leona at age 16. Her sister lives at the same retirement home at age 103!

So is knitting the secret?

“I don’t have time to think of anything else!”

For all her endless work, Sister Leona never knows who will get her hats and never hears a thank you from them, but like the angel on her shoulder, she cares from afar and believes she can always do more.

“As long as I have yarn.”

Sister Leona uses yarn that’s donated and knits about six hours every day.

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