Upcoming Events: Needlework Exhibit At the Haehn Museum

Saturday mornings and the arrival of the weekend.  One often wonders if weekends were made as a time to relax and think about things one would like to do, or if they were a time to do things that one always would like to do……………..

Well, however you would like to think about the weekend, we thought you might enjoy a list reviewing a list of a few things to add to your weekend activities.

Haehn Museum, St. Joseph, MN

This event is close to home, at least for me. There is a tiny museum that houses a fabulous collection of church needlework and Ecclesiastical Embroidery. The Haehn Museum, on the campus of the College of St. Catherine’s in St. Joseph, MN is a treasure that is often overlooked. Yet the museum, now run by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, creates a beautiful exhibit annually. Their latest exhibit “It’s All God’s Work: Faith, Faces, and Flowers” opens on April 15th, 2018. The exhibit celebrates 101 years of St. Benedict’s Art Needlework Department. There will also be an opening presentation at 2 pm on that date. The exhibit highlights the work of Sr. Justina Knapp, OSB. Sr. Justina’s story is a remarkable one. She was never formally trained in art or needlework, yet she exhibited a talent that is amazing. Sr. Justina learned her craft from other Sisters in the community and in time, she became the head of the Art Needlework Department at the Monastery. The Monastery created beautiful works of hand embroidery that were sold all over the world.  Sr. Justine Knapp also had the privilege of working closely with her biological Sister who was also a member of the Monastery. Now, I admit I have forgotten the name of her sister, so, you will have to travel to the Museum and attend the exhibit to learn more about the story and the other talented ladies who produced embroideries that are beyond compare.

I have had the honor of volunteering at the museum and viewing items in their collection over the years and learning many other tales about the life and work of the Sisters. One story that I loved to hear was that the sisters would embroider for about 45 minutes at a time. Then Sr. Justina would have them stop. They would spend 15 minutes reading aloud and then continue on with their embroidery. There is much wisdom in what they did. Reading a selection for 15 minutes and then quietly embroidering for 45 minutes fave one time to think and digest what had just been heard.

Another story was shared with me: If one of their Priests would be traveling, the Sisters would request that the Priest bring them back certain books, or perhaps other items such as the latest needlework threads and trims. The sisters have a wonderful collection of books in their archives on art, drawing, needlework, and many other topics. They became self-taught and masters at their crafts in this manner of study. Perhaps it was the stories that Sr. Moira shared about the work done in years past that nurtured Ecclesiastical Sewing from a mere seed of an idea into what it has become today………………so you know the museum holds a special place in my heart.

If your travel plans include a visit to Minnesota, this is an Ecclesiastical Arts Needlework Collection worth seeing. Many of the pieces in the collection are becoming fragile with age, and so, this may be the last exhibit for some of the pieces in the collection. The rose cope shown in the above photo is embroidered on a lovely white silk ground fabric. Sadly, the silk is deteriorating. The piece is over close to 100 years old or more. The beauty of this piece is in the incredible detail used in the silk shading. The type of silk used back in this era was much finer than anything available today. And the needles were much smaller. The silk threads also had a wider range of colors.

Rose Orphrey from the Rose Vestment Set at Haehn Museum

Please contact the Haehn Museum located in St. Joseph, Minnesota on the campus of the College of St. Catherine for their regular hours of operation. While you are in the area, be sure to visit the Men’s Campus at the College of St. John’s just a few miles down the road and visit their museum featuring the illuminations from the St. John’s Illuminated Bible, the St. John’s Abby and purchase a loaf of their wonderful St. John’s Abby Bread.

Soli Deo Gloria

Please visit Ecclesiastical Sewing’s website at www.ecclesiasticalsewing.com to see our complete line of liturgical fabrics, embroidery emblems, embroidery designs, church vestment patterns, altar linens and church vestments. You may also contact us through the online webpage to inquire about custom orders or vestments.


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