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Performance Art at the Motherhouse

 Meghan Lewallen

Sisters in the Motherhouse courtyard practicing the dance for an art exhibit
Sisters in the Carondelet Motherhouse courtyard practicing their dance for the 1996 art exhibit.
A man and a woman in a habit standing under a floating sculpture
Sister Miriam Ruth Karl and artist Michael Townsend under the sculpture he made.
Blue painters tape on a wall in the shape of a woman watering flowers

Artistic Outreach

In the summer of 1996, artists Michael Townsend, Erica Duthie and Debbie Abramson taught St. Louis children how to get creative with painter’s tape. Sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, their Carondelet workshops were part of a community outreach program to encourage young children to get involved in the arts.

Over the course of eight weeks, the artists visited the local YMCA and various area schools, including St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf. The program concluded with a multimedia art exhibit of music, dance and sculpture held in the courtyard of the Carondelet Motherhouse.

Flying angels art exhibit in the Motherhouse courtyard

The Exhibit

Close-up of a sculpture suspended above the Motherhouse courtyard

The artists, who were inspired by the courtyard at the Motherhouse in St. Louis, held an art show of flowing life-like angels flying high, held up by strings in the courtyard to give the image of them flying.

Along with the flying sculptures, there was a dance performed by the three artists and 15 Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Titled Carondelet 13 after the clock in the Motherhouse courtyard, “the performance indicated one step beyond time to show that the Sisters of St. Joseph move beyond themselves and are alert to the needs of the time.”

The art exhibit and community outreach program were also covered by the local paper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Scan of the St Louis Post-Dispatch article, "'Angels' hover above art show at convent"
Category: Stories

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The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.


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