Palettes of Prayer

Creative pursuits of all types allow us to express thoughts and feelings that can sometimes be difficult to put into words. Color, form, texture or sound can take us to a place beyond language as we continually seek transcendent experiences that elevate, challenge and inspire.

Many Sisters of the Precious Blood make art and crafts, and while the forms of their creations vary widely — carving, painting, quilting, singing and many more — they share in common a means of communion with others, and a way to reflect the beauty of God.

Visitors to Salem Heights, the Congregation’s central house in Dayton, will notice artwork all over the walls. Some pieces were donated and others were moved from convents now closed. But a majority of the artwork is by the Sisters. One talented painter in the Community was Sister Mary Norberta Koch.

Born in Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany, in 1898, Sister Mary Norberta joined the Congregation in 1912 at Maria Stein. Throughout her almost 65 years in the Community, she taught elementary school in Ohio, Arizona and California. She was also known for her oil paintings, including the two pictured here. She used her artistic talents in the classroom which were “the basis for her creativity and originality in her teaching methods,” according to one Sister’s remembrance. In retirement, Sister Norberta tutored students in art at Emma Hall. One mother of a student remembered that “Sister enjoyed sharing her love of nature and her techniques of art, sketching and painting with the children.” Sister Norberta died in 1976 at the age of 78.

Story by Sarah Aisenbrey

Top, painting of a castle on a lake, dated 1939; bottom, painting of swans in a lake in front of a church, undated.

Comments are closed.