S. Johanna Becker, OSB

Historian and Scholar of Asian Art

A member of Saint Benedict’s Monastery in Saint Joseph, Minnesota, S. Johanna Becker, OSB, received a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Michigan. S. Johanna also worked with Koyama Fujio at the Idemitsu Museum in Japan. A renowned scholar and teacher, S. Johanna authored 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 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. S. Johanna passed away on September 22nd, 2012.