The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Who makes all those vestments?

A California paper visits one of the leading manufacturers of church vestments to find out:

It sounds like a New Yorker cartoon the way Mannix Delfino describes a recent Saturday afternoon in her Carson shop.

“It was so cute, the entire room was filled with young priests, all of them about to be ordained, all of them trying on new vestments. It was like a sleepover with everyone looking at themselves in the mirror and asking, `How do I look in this?”‘


With the “this” in question being vestments of ancient style, the kind seen on Roman Catholic Church altars worldwide. And all of it made by hand and by expensive machines not far from the Ikea store at Chagall Design Limited.

If you ever wondered where all the church finery comes from – I’m talking the whole shebang from the bishop’s mitre to a deacon’s plain, but-not-really-so-plain cassock – look no further.

Chagall, which was started by Delfino’s now-retired husband, Jack Degroot, has been in her capable hands since 1991. In that time this attractive, energetic and very smart mother and grandmother has expanded her built-in nurturing qualities, becoming in her answering of a church’s highly unique and almost always frantic needs a kind of den mother, confidant and minister to those who minister.


As a lifelong Catholic, her years at the helm of the firm have changed her view of the church’s colorful rites of worship.

“I’m part of the stage crew,” she jokes, meaning that she knows exactly what it takes to dress the performers in the world’s largest (and original) Christian sect.

Read on. It’s fascinating.  (And yes: we all know the author doesn’t quite have the lingo right when he talks about a “deacon’s cassock.”  That’s the secular press for you.)

Comments read comments(6)
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Dana MacKenzie

posted August 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I am old fashioned. LIke the nun-made stuff.

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Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk

posted August 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Great article!
While ti focused on the creation of the vestments, it seemed like that story was a backdrop to the excitment of the young priests begining their careers of service in the Church. Thanks for sharing it!

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Dave Norman

posted August 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I have met this fine lady and she is everything the article’s author says she is. We, as two candidates to the Permanent Diaconate, went with our pastor one day to be measured and look at liturgical vestments for deacons for parish use since we have never had a deacon in the parish. I have never felt as welcomed in a “store” in my life!I would recommend Chagall’s unreservedly for any liturgical needs.

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Dn Isaac & Shari Edie

posted August 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm

We were blessed to have Mannix measure and consult with us what a Deacon will need. She is wonderful. Dn. Ike is a simple man who believes a deacon’s roll is to enhanse not to take over. We are a simple Sacramonial Couple who have answered the call to Diaconate Couple. We are to serve……that is it. Ike is not a barbie doll to dress up. Mannix knew that and showed us the “right stuff” We are so happy to serve our Church, simply.
Dn. Ike & Shari Edie

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posted September 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

manufacturer of vestment hand embroideries

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