Library and Archives

Guide to Catholic Art Association Materials in the Ade Bethune Papers

This collection contains materials relating to Ade Bethune as a member of The Catholic Art Association. It is mostly made up of correspondence, CAA publications and copies of published articles, photos, and sketches and textual materials created in organizing a national convention.

Creator: Bethune, Ade, 1914-2002
Title: Catholic Art Association Materials, Ade Bethune Papers
Dates: 1937-2000
Quantity: 4.0 Linear feet (4.5 Boxes and 17 bound volumes) plus 2 oversized folders

Language: English
Repository: Ade Bethune Collection, St. Catherine University Library

Preferred Citation: [Series name, Box number]. Catholic Art Association Materials. Ade Bethune Collection. St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN 55105.

About Ade Bethune

Adélaïde de Bethune (1914-2002), known as Ade Bethune, was born in Brussels, Belgium. She and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in New York in 1928. There, she attended Cathedral High School, the National Academy of Design, and Cooper Union. Newport, Rhode Island became her permanent home in 1938.

During the early 1930s Bethune met Dorothy Day and became involved with the Catholic Worker movement. Her contributions of drawings and articles for The Catholic Worker newspaper gave her experience in developing her artistic talents and editorial skills. Peter Maurin, who founded the Catholic Worker movement along with Day, encouraged Bethune to speak in public, helping shape her abilities to lecture and advocate for others. Also, through The Catholic Worker she met, worked with, and was influenced by Graham Carey of Newport, RI, who was a co-founder of the Catholic Art Association (CAA). Bethune’s liturgical art and social activism helped shape the rest of her life’s work.

Ade Bethune spoke at the Catholic Art Association’s first Eastern Regional Conference in 1939, held in Baltimore, and also at the 3rd annual Convention at the College of St. Catherine in October of that same year. Her talk was later published in the association’s journal, Catholic Art Quarterly (CAQ), as “The Person and the Industrial Counter-Revolution.” Over the years, Bethune wrote several articles and contributed artwork to the publication. In addition she served as its editor from 1947-1951 and as a contributing editor from 1961-1965.

Bethune and other New England members of CAA's Eastern regional group formed the Atlantic regional group in 1940. She was elected its first Director in 1940 and served as director until 1947, when the Atlantic group reunited with the Eastern region. During 1946 and 1947 she was chairman of the national Exhibits Committee. After she stepped down as Catholic Art Quarterly editor Bethune was head of publications for the Education Committee, 1951-1956. In this capacity she helped produce the Catholic Elementary Art Guide, designed to help teachers broaden their instruction. Later, she served as the Convention and Workshop Committee chairman in 1965-1966 and was instrumental in organizing the 1966 CAA Living Stones Convention-Workshop in Houston, Texas. From 1967-1970 she served on the CAA's Board of Directors. She agreed to serve a second term, but by late 1970 the Catholic Art Association had largely ceased to exist.

Bethune’s work and writings for the CAA were strongly intertwined with her liturgical design work. Articles that she wrote for Catholic Art Quarterly beginning in the 1950s foreshadowed many of the changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council. These articles were very influential and earned her a reputation as a liturgical consultant. A strong proponent of Vatican II and its architectural and procedural changes within the Catholic Church, Bethune worked to design and renovate churches to meet these new, open guidelines. She remained active as a liturgical designer and consultant until the early 1990s.

Ade Bethune died in her long time home of Newport, Rhode Island on May 1, 2002.

About CAA

The Catholic Art Association (CAA) was founded in 1937 by Sister Esther Newport, SP. of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Terre Haute, IN and Graham Carey, an architect and liturgical art critic. It was founded to help facilitate dialogue about the use of art in religious practices and also to establish some principles to guide the creation of Christian art for church use, in education, and in the home. The CAA aimed to do this through exhibitions, yearly conventions, and its publications.

Its main publication, The Catholic Art Quarterly, was sent as a benefit of membership and was published from 1937 to 1970. It was also published under the name "Christian Social Art Quarterly" (1937-1940) and later as "Good Work" (1959-1970). Another CAA publication was The Catholic Elementary Art Guide, designed to "help teachers working in such curricula to broaden their instruction and increase its value to the children entrusted to their care."

Graham Carey served as advisor of the CAA throughout its existence, but organizational changes occurred when Sister Esther left the CAA in 1958. The organization dissolved in 1970, the same year that its major source of funding, a grant from the Homeland Foundation, ended.


These materials reflect the activities of Bethune as a member of The Catholic Art Association from its inception in 1937 to its dissolution in 1970. The collection also contains correspondence that dates up to 2000 regarding the organization, its publications, and its members.

The collection comprises mostly correspondence, CAA publications and copies of published articles, photos, and sketches and textual materials created for use in organizing the 1966 Living Stones Convention. Also included are organizational documents and sheet music. Of particular importance is correspondence between Bethune and other members of the CAA including Father Thomas Phelan, who served as CAA president; Sister Esther Newport, founder of CAA; and Sister M. Jeanne, who served as Catholic Art Quarterly editor.


This collection is arranged in 4 groups.

  • Series 1: Correspondence
  • Series 2: Subject Files
  • Series 3: Living Stones Convention-Workshop
  • Series 4: Publications


Publication Information

Ade Bethune Collection
2004 Randolph Ave.
St. Paul, MN, 55105

Revision Description
Finding aid revised by Deborah Kloiber December, 2011


Ade Bethune donated her personal and business papers, sketches, artwork, books, and artifacts to the College of St Catherine (now St. Catherine University) over the period from 1984-2002.

Processing Information

The Collection was processed and the finding aid written by Louann Terveer, May 2011.

Processing of the collection and production of this finding aid made possible by a CLIR "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" grant with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Bethune's correspondence with Graham Carey refers frequently to CAA issues and activities. See Personal Correspondence, Series 2: Bethune-Carey Correspondence

A collection of Catholic Art Association Records is held at the University of Notre Dame Archives.

Selected Subject Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Catholic Art Association


  • Living Stones Convention (1966: Houston, Tex.)


  • Catholic Art Quarterly
  • Catholic Elementary Art Guide

Detailed Description

Series 1 Correspondence

1/4 box


Catholic Art Association : 1938-1953
Mostly correspondence and notes concerning subscriptions to the "Catholic Art Quarterly," or selected article requests.


Catholic Art Quarterly : 1964-1973 (Bulk, 1972-1973)
Primarily letters to Sister Jeanne File, Reverend Thomas Phelan, and Lavina Finin on the topic of looking for copies of CAQ to complete Bethune's collection.


File, Sister M. Jeanne : 1953-1956
Correspondence between Bethune and Sister M. Jeanne, an editor of the CAA Quarterly, regarding among other things, the CAA Quarterly, and Highlights . Includes article in The Voice of St. Jude by Sister Jeanne.


Sister M. Madonna : ca. 1955
Letter regarding material for 2 columns in the Catholic Elementary Art Guide
Folder originally labeled "Symbolism"


Newport, Sister Esther : 1937-1961 (Bulk, 1937)
Includes list of Treasure Chest publication works by Sister Mary of the Compassion, Union City, NJ and Sister Esther Newport, St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN and copy of Treasure Chest work by Sister Esther


Phelan, Reverend Thomas : 1955-1980
Correspondence; Includes booklet: Art and Architecture in the Diocese of Albany, NY


Zimmer, Sister Augusta : 1952-1955
Letters from Sister Augusta of Sisters of Charity, Mount St. Joseph, OH


Series 2: Subject Files

1/2 box


Art -- CAA, Faith & Art : 1970-1971
Copy of minutes from October 1970 meeting, promotional materials from a publication titled "Faith and Art," and artwork reproduction examples.


Constitution & By-Laws : 1949-1958 (Bulk, 1949)


Convention : 1949
2 copies of "Songs: National Convention, Catholic Art Association," sheet music with lyrics


CAA Organization Materials : 1943-1972 : 2 folders, plus oversized items
Primarily contains documents related to materials Bethune gave to the Catholic Art Association Records at Notre Dame, including correspondence with Dr. Philip Gleason, Tom Drain, Sister M. Jeanne, and Maureen Murphy.

1, Oversized

NCWC News Service -- Lent : 1950-1953
Correspondence between Bethune and Katharine McKiever, editor for the National Catholic Welfare Conference, regarding illustrations for Lent.


Newton College of the Sacred Heart : 1948-1955
Letters from Louise Keyes, Elizabeth White, and Eleanor S. Kenny of Newton College of the Sacred Heart, Newton, MA.


Photographs : 1966


Series 3: Living Stones Convention-Workshop


1 1/4 boxes

This series has materials created or collected for use at the CAA 1966 Living Stones Convention which Bethune organized. Contents are mostly demonstration/exhibit sketches, correspondence, and texts for the convention sessions. Also includes text drafts with revision notes. Not all 25 sessions are represented.


Convention Accounts : 1966


Living Stones, Houston : 1966 : 4 folders
Contains exhibit area and demonstration sketches; maps of Sacred Heart Dominican College; program of music; announcements from related organizations, including The Liturgical Conference; 1966 convention hand-outs, schedule, announcement, and program; photos and publications of Catholics For Latin America; and correspondence.

1, Oversized

Morgan, Ernest : 1966
Correspondence with Ernest Morgan, president of Antioch Bookplate Company and speaker at CAA 1966 Convention. Includes copies of bookplates and designs by Bethune.


Session 1 Demonstration of Ancient Synagogue Service : 1966 : 2 folders


Session 2 Theology of the Assembly : 1966


Session 4 Natural Acoustics in Church : 1966


Session 5 Adapting Amplifying Systems for the New Liturgy : 1966


Session 6 Training Readers & Listeners : 1966


Session 7 The Place of the Choir in the Singing Congregation : 1966


Session 8 the Future of Confession in Architecture : 1966


Session 9 The Commercial Funeral--What is Wrong : 1966


Session 11 Demonstration of Early Christian Baptism : 1966


Session 12 Christian Illumination : 1966


Session 13 Nature of Sacred Vessels : 1966


Session 14 Place of Eucharistic Reservation : 1966


Session 15 Visual Forms in the Sanctuary : 1966


Session 16 Sacred Images : 1966


Session 17 Optics of Truth in Lighting the True Church : 1966


Session 20 Language of Signs : 1966


Session 21 Church as Dwelling Place, Garden & Woman : 1966


Session 22 Multi-Purpose Building : 1966


Session 23 Rights of Minorities in Church Buildings : 1966


Session 24 House Church or Parish Place : 1966


Session 25 Sign Language of Church Building : 1966


Series 4: Publications


2 1/2 boxes plus 17 bound volumes

This series is primarily issues of the CAA's publication, Catholic Art Quarterly, published from 1937 to 1970. (Volumes from 1937-1941 were titled Catholic Social Art Quarterly and volumes from 1959-1970 were titled Good Work.) Also included are issues of The Catholic Elementary Art Guide.

Other Information:
An index to Volumes I-XXX of Catholic Art Quarterly is available at the beginning of this series.


CAQ -- Index :1937-1967


CAQ -- Bound volumes : 1937-1970 : 17 bound periodicals


CAQ -- Individual issues : 1938-1968
Incomplete set


CAQ -- Reprints : 1949


CAQ -- Artwork : 1949-1953
Contains binder with copies of Catholic Art Quarterly covers, select artwork, and written pieces as published and organized by Bethune.


Catholic Elementary Art Guide : 1949-1958 : 5 folders
Some issues missing



Contact Archives

St. Catherine University Library, CdC 62
2004 Randolph Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105