Chronology of Ade Bethune's
Written by Carol DeBoer-Langworthy
and Ade Bethune
Newport, Rhode Island
June 14, 1999
January 12: Marie Adélaïde de Bethune born in Schaerbeek
district of Brussels, Belgium.
August 4: World War I begins. Belgium invaded and occupied.
Ade emigrates to the U.S. with her family. Enrolls in Cathedral High
School, New York City.
Attends Cathedral High School and National Academy of Design (NAD),
Gets high school diploma. Continues with NAD.
Attends Cooper Union, NYC.
Summer: Wins competition on stained glass and trip to Charles J. Connick
Studios, Boston, to execute her prize-winning design.
Fall: Investigates Catholic Worker soup kitchen at 436 East Fifteenth
Street near Second Avenue, NYC, where Dorothy Weston gives her copies
of CW publications. Ade now submits black & white drawings to their
The Catholic Worker.
Meets editor, Dorothy Day, 37, who prints Ade's pictures and suggests
appropriate stories and illustrations for future issues. At Friday lectures,
Ade hears Peter Maurin recite his "Easy Essays."
Per Dorothy Day's suggestion, Ade studies liturgy under Gerald Ellard,
S.J., at Summer School of Catholic Action held in NYC.
Invited by architect, Graham Carey, 43, of Cambridge, MA, to design
a fireplace surround on the style of her Catholic Worker drawings, to
be carved by John Howard Benson, 34, of Newport, RI.
Meets Benson and Carey at NYC annual meeting of Liturgical Arts
Society held at Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. Ade takes
them to visit the Catholic Worker, and then takes them home to supper
with her family.
May: Designs new masthead for The Catholic Worker with Christ
embracing both colored and white workers. Circulation at 110,000.
Summer: Begins printing up cards from her Catholic Worker pictures.
Dorothy Day uses these as thank-you notes for contributions. Eventually
this printing effort becomes St. Leo Shop.
Receives commission for carved wood crucifix for new church built
by Depression unemployed members of St. Paulinus Parish, Clairton, PA.
January: Ade and friend Lalah Durham spend week at Connick Stained
Glass Studios in Boston. Graham Carey then drives them to Newport to view
the John Stevens Shop, 29 Thames Street, founded in 1705, so as to understand
the process of stone carving for the fireplace commission (never completed).
John Howard Benson and his wife, Fisher, give the group supper before
putting Ade and Lalah on the night boat for their return to NYC.
Invited by the Bensons to come to Newport for two months, to
work on St. Paulinus wood carving with Benson's help; Ade also learns
calligraphy and wood engraving.
Fall: Replaces Benson (now head of sculpture department at Rhode
Island School of Design) in teaching arts and crafts at Portsmouth Priory
School. Commutes from NYC on Fall River Line every week, arriving in Newport
in the middle of night.
Sheed and Ward publish Ade's illustrations in Easy Essays by
Peter Maurin, as well as The Saint Francis Picture Book by Frank Meyers.
Summer: Travels to Europe to visit relatives.
Fall: Receives commission to illustrate 1940 edition of Father Ellard's
Christian Life and Worship. Also commission to illustrate Father Joseph
F. Stedman's My Sunday Missal, which eventually sells millions of copies.
Fall: Moves into studio workshop above John Stevens Shop - a permanent
move to Rhode Island and literally on the heels of the hurricane of late
October: Travels to Midwest to give first major public address, "The
Industrial Counter-revolution," at national meeting of Catholic Art Association
at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN.
26 December: "John Stevens University" - nickname for partnership of
Benson-Carey-Covell-Bethune et al, working in the John Stevens Shop -
awards Ade her diploma as "Doctor of Ætiology."
Takes two apprentices, Mary Katherine Finegan and Mary Krenzer, at
"Lion College" of "John Stevens University. First "lion cubs" followed
by a number of other apprentices over the years.
Her first written pamphlet, Work, published by John Stevens ("University")
Purchases run-down colonial house (1740) at 36 Thames Street, Newport.
Attends first Liturgical Week held in U.S., in Chicago. Becomes more
active in the Liturgical Movement, which culminates in reforms of Vatican
Her parents, Marthe Terlinden de Bethune, 60, and Gaston S. P. de Bethune,
64, move from NYC to join her in Newport.
Receives commission from Father Joseph F. Stedman for My Lenten Missal
wood engraved illustrations. Again millions of copies are sold, and the
missal is translated into German, French, Spanish, Polish, among other
Builds her own coffin from second-hand lumber and decorates it with
images of her earthly dwellings as well as symbolic doors of heaven -
open just a crack.
Becomes editor of Catholic Art Quarterly, a position she holds for
several years. Learns proofreading from Edith Ballinger Price. CAQ printed
by Henry Wilkinson's Ward Printing Co. on Thames Street, Newport.
Peter Maurin dies on 17 May.
December: Ade travels to The Philippines to decorate new earthquake
proof church in sugar mill - St. Joseph Church, Victorias Milling Co.,
Occidental Negros. Mosaics on church walls composed of pieces of Coca-Cola,
Milk of Magnesia, beer and whiskey bottles and broken platters - mostly
gathered by little children.
Family moves to a 1906 house on The Point.
Serves as consultant and paints frescoes in Church of San Joachin,
Bacalar, QR, Yucatan.
Jennie Amoruso becomes assistant for St. Leo Shop, a role she continues
for 30 years.
Commission for statue for "Mary's Gardens." Trip to Belgium; takes
her Belgian nephew, Stanislas, back to U.S. for a year with his grandparents
Makes second statue for "Mary's Gardens."
Fall: St. Leo's Shop Catalogue becomes St. Leo Bulletin. Along
with The Catholic Worker, it is a hub of movement for liturgical reform
and ecumenism. Becomes North American outlet for Maria Montessori books
on early childhood education, baby carriers made in Europe, and a host
of products relating to family and spiritual life.
Publishes Sacred Signs, a quarterly review for liturgical arts, illustrated
historical studies on iconography, book reviews, museum notes, and practical
parish helps, through 1982. Printed at Ward's on Spring Street.
Liturgical consultant for St. Leo's Church, St. Paul, MN. Design of
octagon shaped church sets direction for subsequent churches in renewal
of ancient tradition with altar facing the people in center of open space.
St. Leo Shop moves to 117 Washington Street, where St. Leo Bulletin
is mailed free to some 50,000 people through fall 1981.
Designs sheep for exterior doors of Church of Christ, Sun of Justice
planned by and built for Graham Carey in Benson, VT, in 1953. Peter Watts
carves the doors from Ade's drawings.
Fall: Terra Sancta Guild® is launched by Isadore A. Serot of Philadelphia
with Ade as free-lance designer, to manufacture and sell Christian and
Jewish religious items throughout the U.S., Asia, Australia, and Africa.
Ade becomes art director. Pewter and bronze medals are manufactured
by various firms in Rhode Island.
Bronze candleholders designed by Ade are used on the outdoor altar
erected in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, for the solemn closing
of the Second Vatican Council.
First of several trips to Israel.
Organizes "Living Stones in Architecture," Catholic Art Association
annual convention, in Houston, TX.
November: Joins Newport group, including Canon Ballard of Trinity Church
and Hershel Carter of Newport Hospital, to found Church Community Housing
Corporation, a non-profit serving low income families. Ade designs some
30 houses on scattered sites for first time home ownership, including
Newport's first solar heated house, 50 Halsey Street, built 1977 with
help of Vocational/Technical Rogers High School students.
College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) invites Ade to begin sending her oeuvre to
a special archive.
At Salve Regina College, Ade receives Maurice Lavanoux Award from the
New England Liturgical Committee for "her singular contribution to liturgical
renewal in the field of the cultic arts."
Dorothy Day dies on 29 November.
Ade designs commemorative medals for 1500th celebration of the birth
of St. Benedict, founder of Western monasticism, and his sister St. Scholastica.
May: Ade Bethune Room dedicated at College of St. Catherine Library,
St. Paul, MN.
Designs mural mosaic for baptistry in Cathedral of Saint Paul, MN.
Biography, Proud Donkey of Schaerbeek, Ade Bethune, Catholic
Worker Artist, published by North Star Press, St. Cloud, MN.
Based on oral history interviews by author, Judith Stoughton, C.S.J.,
Ph.D., professor of art history at St. Catherine University, St. Paul,
MN. Sister Judith had first met Ade in 1939.
May: Redesigns masthead of The Catholic Worker to include
a woman with baby, an agricultural worker, along with the Black male laborer
and Christ. Circulation at 90,000.
Liturgical consultant to St. Lucy's Parish Committee Church, Middletown,
Receives "Independent Man" award from Rhode Island Heritage Hall of
New St. Lucy's Church dedicated, with altar, stained glass, etc.,
designed by Ade.
Receives Frederick R. McManus Award at the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical
Commissions convention held in Memphis, TN.
Summer: Subject of exhibition at Newport Historical Society in conjunction
with "Ambassadors of God: Homelessness and the Meaning of Charity," a
project funded by the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities.
Involved with plans for historic preservation and renovation of Victorian
Auchincloss and Rice Houses and Neogothic Cenacle Chapel with ensemble
of 13th century style stained glass, as cooperative residences for older
people of Newport.
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Compiled and written by Carol DeBoer-Langworthy & Ade Bethune
Newport, Rhode Island Copyright June 14, 1999