Johanna Becker, OSB, (1921-2012) was a Sister of Saint Benedict’s Monastery in Saint Joseph, Minnesota. She was born Lucille Becker in Denver Colorado, and took the name Johanna when she professed as a Sister of the Order of Saint Benedict in 1950. Having earned an MA in studio art, and later a Ph.D. in art history, she was chair of the Art Department at Maryville College in Missouri before coming to the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University as a professor of both studio art and art history, focusing on ceramics and Asian art history. Her pursuit of knowledge led her to study in France, Spain, England, Ireland, Japan (5x), India (3x), China, and Canada and to lecture in the US, the Netherlands, Germany, and Hong Kong. This global outlook was reflected in her work as an artist and as a professor. Her slide collection is a record of her international interests.
Benedictine, Potter, Instructor, and Historian
S. Johanna is author of the book Karatsu Ware: A Tradition of Diversity. Her research in Japan led her to the Nakazato family of National Living Treasure potters, and she arranged for her student, Richard Bresnahan, to apprentice in Japan for nearly four years with Nakazato Takashi. After returning to Saint John's, Bresnahan designed many kilns leading to the 1994 construction of the Johanna Kiln, named in honor of his mentor. As a Benedictine, potter, instructor, and historian, S. Johanna lectured internationally, served on many boards and committees including the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue Committee, and in retirement provided professional consultation on the Saint John's Bible project.
The College of Saint Benedict|Saint John’s University Libraries acquired Sister Johanna’s slides on temporary loan in 2014 in order to digitize selected images. The entire collection of slides exceeds 20,000 items. The Libraries digitized about 8,000 of those slides selected by Alan Reed, OSB, curator of Arca Artium at Saint John’s University. The Library manages preservation and access to the digital images.
How do I access the collection?
Slides from the Johanna Becker, OSB collection are on Vivarium. Related material can be accessed in the CSB Archives by appointment. Additional materials about Johanna Becker, OSB, are located in the Saint Benedict’s Monastery Archives. Contact us to learn more about using the collection.