Xavier Magazine

Pearling for Preemies

About 80 premature babies are born each month at the hospital in Gallipolis, Ohio, and many more at another hospital in neighboring Charleston, W.Va. The babies are a long way from Xavier but very close to the hearts of about eight University employees.

Every Monday at noon, eight women gather in the basement of Alter Hall to stitch, pearl, hook and sew tiny pastel-colored caps that fit snugly on the little ones’ heads. As they work, the women, who humorously refer to themselves as the Happy Hookers, eat and talk about their children, grandchildren—and the women’s basketball team. As more people hear about the charity effort, more sign on to help.

Since they first gathered around Christmas 2002, the group has mailed nearly 500 caps to the Appalachian region, where the premature birth rate is high.

“These are preemie babies,” says Evelyn Brannen, the curriculum specialist in the registrar’s office who founded the group. “Some are buried in these outfits, but some are fortunate to survive. It’s comforting to know we are doing something.”

Visit the Happy Hookers online at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.