Sunday, August 16, 2015
St. Benedict Monastery
St. Joseph, MN
My time at Studium has come to an end. I have been here since July 15th (see Travel tab) working on a writing project. Fr. H. A. Reinhold. pictured at right, was a leader in the American Liturgical movement. In 2009 my biography Worship in Spirit and Truth: The Life and Legacy of H. A. Reinhold was published. (For more about that project see the "My Books" tab.)
Rather than examining his complete body of work, this essay will focus more on his contributions to the journal Worship, previously known as Orate Fratres. Writing as HAR, for 15 years Fr. Reinhold had a monthly "Timely Tracts" column in that journal, actively engaging in what was then known as the Liturgical Apostolate. What he and the other reformers of that era were actually doing, we now see in hindsight, was preparing the Church in America to receive the restoration of the Liturgy promulgated by the Bishops at the Second Vatican Council.
The picture above was taken by Prof. Warren Bovee at Marquette University in the mid 1950s. Prof. Bovee told me that Fr. Reinhold was feeling very much the renegade at that time by praying the Office in English.
My essay isn't quite finished. I am titling it "H. A. Reinhold: Prophet, Hero and Pickerel." You'll have to read it when it is published to know what that means!
January 14, 2015
It took more than 2 years to get access to the inside of this beautiful church in the Schaerbeek section of Brussels, Belgium, but today thanks to the skill and generosity of Ade's cousins I finally had that opportunity.
The Byzantine-style church is HUGE and although it has been closed to regular worship since 1966, the stained glass windows are glorious although there are some instances of damage.
You can tell that when Ade was a child the colors within the church must have been very vivid as well. That is best illustrated by the shrine to the Virgin Mary pictured here.
Yes, something is missing from the shrine--the Virgin, but she has been moved to a more intimate location and if you use your imagination, you can put her back into her original space above the altar.
Here she is for you to move back into place. Isn't she beautiful?
Behind her you also begin to see the height of the building. Other pictures of stained glass show it even better.
I wanted to get into the church to see what Ade saw when she was growing up. She wrote that she went to the 7 a.m. Mass each day with her grandfather. I thought that being in the space would help me understand her art and spirituality better. I was definitely not disappointed.
January 15 - April 15, 2013
I spent a wonderful three months at the Studium at St. Benedict Monastery in St. Joseph, MN working on my biography of Ade Bethune. I can't say that I ever befriended the snow or cold which were relentless, but the warmth of welcome I received at the monastery was so worth the experience.
Studium provides scholars with an apartment and office and access to the libraries at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's Abbey and University. Because Bethune's archives are at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN, I was able to make a few trips down there to work as well.
Ann Marie and Theresa were wonderful hosts and ensured that I got out from beneath my work every now and again. This is The Local Blend, the neighborhood "coffee house" that serves more than just coffee.
I returned from the first three months of my sabbatical, which included research stops in the Philippines and Brussels. Specific details for each of those visits can be found among "My Travels" if you go to that tab.
In 1949-1950 Ade Bethune worked on the mosaics at St. Joseph the Worker Church, which is housed within the Victorias Sugar Mill on Negros. I was curious to see the condition of her work all these decades later. Some were in excellent condition although somewhat difficulty to photograph. The very location which protected them from the elements made it difficult to get a good view of them.
The fresco of the Last Supper / Pentecost, which was the last project Ade completed there, is in excellent condition. It took months for research on the appropriate paints to use for the project and even longer for the paints to be shipped to the Philippines. It was well worth the investment of time.
I've just spent three glorious days in the Archives of St. Catherine University which houses the Ade Bethune Collection. Honestly I could probably have spent a month there and not examined it all. I focused my attention on preparing for this summer's research in the Philippines where I will visit and study Ade's work on St. Joseph the Worker Church in the Victorias Milling Company in Negros.
I was also able to study the files on St. Leo's Church, now part of Lumen Christi Catholic Community in St. Paul, which I visited one afternoon. Seeing how the church was originally designed and what it has become over time with renovation and expansion, opened up another project for me. Surprises are everywhere!
It sounds simple, but among the treasures I found in the Archives were covers of The Catholic Art Quarterly in the years when Ade was its editor and designed its covers. When periodicals are bound, their covers are generally removed, which deprives scholars of a rich resource for study.
I began July spending time getting to know Ade better in Newport, Rhode Island, where she lived from 1936 until her death in 2002. It was my 2nd visit, and this time I had specific goals in mind. I wanted to visit Ade's grave at Portsmouth Abbey and meet some of the monks there who knew her well; to visit Harbor House, the major project on which she worked for the last 10 years of her life; and to learn more about her work with the Church Community Housing Corporation with whom she worked on many housing projects. Rarely in life have I been able to accomplish all I set out to do, but by the grace of God and very generous and interested people I met along the way, I accomplished more than I ever expected.
The subject of my current research is Ade Bethune, who is often referred to as "the Catholic Worker artist." True, her images continue to be seen regularly in the pages of The Catholic Worker and have been since she submitted her first images in 1933, the year the paper was established. Once she became involved in other projects, however, Ade stopped submitting new images to the paper, but permitted them to continue using those previously submitted. Now, more than a decade after her death, Ade's drawings continue to appear in The Catholic Worker.
Born in the Schaerbeek section of Brussels in 1914, Ade and her family immigrated to the United States in 1928 and settled in New York City. A talented artist, Ade attended classes at Parsons School of Design while still in high school and later at Cooper Union.
In 1933 Ade won stained glass design competition which earned her the right to travel to Boston and work in the studio of Charles J. Connick to craft the piece she had designed. Her essay about the project, "A Dream Come True," was her first publication, appearing in Stained Glass later that year.
Artist, writer, theologian, architect, liturgical designer, social activist, business woman, entrepreneur--Ade's life was shaped by the the Works of Mercy. My goal is to publish her biography so that others can emulate her spirit and draw on her wisdom.