Catherine Newport was born on May 17, 1901, in Clinton, Indiana. In 1918, at age seventeen, she entered the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, an order residing west of Terre Haute, Indiana. Taking the name Sister Esther, she taught art in middle school and, beginning in 1930, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Sister Esther was at the Woods, as it is called colloquially, until 1964. After a two-year stint at Marywood School in Evanston, Illinois, she returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to head the art department until 1970.
Sister Esther was educated at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (bachelor of arts, 1932). She received a master of fine arts at Syracuse University in 1939 and an honorary doctorate from Saint Mary's College of Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1956. In addition to being a painter, illustrator, sculptor, and teacher, she was also a writer, lecturer, founder of the Catholic Art Association (in 1937), and editor (from 1937 to 1940) of Christian Social Art Quarterly (later Catholic Art Quarterly).
Sister Esther died at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on July 9, 1986, at age eighty-five.
|The Last Supper|
|The Agony in the Garden|
|Jesus Before Caiphas|
|The Entombment of Jesus Christ|
|Jesus Appearing to Mary Magdalen|
|The Ascension into Heaven|
Text and captions copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley