Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sister Esther Newport (1901-1986)

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.

Today, March 20, 2016, is Palm Sunday, and a week before Easter. Indiana artist Sister Esther Newport drew this and the following pictures of the events leading to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for a book called A Bible History, with a History of the Church by Rev. Stephen J. McDonald and Elizabeth Jackson, published in 1940 by Row, Peterson and Company of Evanston, Illinois. I found this book just yesterday at a secondhand store.

The Last Supper

The Agony in the Garden

Jesus Before Caiphas

The Crucifixion

The Entombment of Jesus Christ

Jesus Appearing to Mary Magdalen

The Ascension into Heaven

Christus Rex

Text and captions copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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