Abbey of Regina Laudis — Bethlehem, CT



The Abbey of Regina Laudis, founded in 1947 in Bethlehem, Connecticut, U.S.A., is a community of contemplative Benedictine women dedicated to the praise of God through prayer and work. The nuns of the abbey chant the Mass and full Divine office each day, while expressing the traditional Benedictine commitment to manual work and scholarship through various contemporary media and professional disciplines. The mission to praise God at all times is symbolized by the lyre on the abbey's crest and by our motto, taken from the book of Judith – Non recedat laus:

Let praise never cease!

Artist Biographies

Mother Alma Egger, OSB

B.F.A. 1983, M.F.A. 1985, School of Visual Arts, NYC

Mother Alma’s work at the Abbey includes carpentry, woodworking and shepherding. Currently, much of her energy is taken into our New Horizons building project where she serves as the project manager for the community.  She relies heavily on her background in environmental sculpture in the process of bringing architectural drawings into existence as she interfaces with general contractors, site engineers and a wide variety of tradesmen.  In “her own art” Mother Alma explores layers of adhesion and resistance as she works with various media on paper.  Graphite, lithographic crayon, conte crayon, shellac, lacquer and oil paint are applied and removed and reapplied as she builds the forms of her work.  The three pieces in this show represent animals Mother Alma has worked with or encountered during her monastic life.  “I am privileged to be a monastic artist and to be part of a continuum of monks and nuns who have preserved  art and craft through the ages and will continue to do so. I am very grateful to Nick Maione and the Dedee Shattuck Gallery for curating and showing the work of contemporary monastic artists and craftsmen.  My hope is that this show will enlighten others as to how art can support, inspire and enrich a community while being an integral and essential part of its life and continuity.”     

RM. Anastasia Morgan, OSB

Mother Anastasia achieved proficiency in blacksmithing under the direction of Dom Gregory Havill, OSB, of Portsmouth Abbey. The craft of blacksmithing has been an integral part of her monastic formation over 35 years.  Most of the metal she works with has been discarded as scrap.  She works to repurpose these worn out pieces into tools needed in the moment (a particular punch or set of tongs), functional hardware (coat hooks, door hinges) and liturgical artifacts (candleholders, lecterns). Mother Anastasia has taught many students, young and old, the craft of blacksmithing in the Phoenix Blacksmith Shop at the Abbey of Regina Laudis.  Over the years she has built a wide network of professional Fabricators and Artists with whom she collaborates and teaches including Simon Robinson and Louise Pezzi.

Mother Jadwiga Makarewicz,OSB

BFA, University of Utah, 1977

The tapestry in this show, titled “Our Lady of Consecration”, was woven in response to a need for an image of the Blessed Mother for our church, Jesu Fili Mariae. The tapestry is a rendition of a much-beloved painting by RM. Placid Dempsey, OSB, r.i.p. 2012. Translating Mother Placid’s small painting into a larger tapestry was a multi-year process involving cartoon making, sampling fleeces from the sheep of our flock, spinning and weaving the fiber for the tapestry. It was completed in September 2008 and now hangs in the north end of Jesu Fili Mariae.  “My work focuses on weaving the colors and contours of our land using the wool from our flock of colored Shetland sheep.  I spin, dye, and weave tapestries, vestments, scarves, rugs and other pieces for the use of Community.”  Mother Jadwiga is the Head Shepherd of our Abbey flock of Shetland sheep.

Mother Praxedes Baxter O.S.B. 

B.F.A. University of Denver, 1972 | M.F.A. Michigan State University, 1982                                                               

Mother Praxedes Baxter is known for her extensive work in the media of stained glass, carved marble, cast bronze and welded steel. She describes her awakening to become an artist when, at the age of three, she “discovered the miracle of drawing with a pencil.” It was within the monastic setting that Mother Praxedes’ artistic gift flourished as she gradually became a monastic artist, whose role in the ancient tradition is to “transform the desert into paradise.”

Her metal sculptures mark the Abbey land. After receiving her M.F.A. Mother Praxedes furthered her studies by working for two years under the direction of the DeTomassi master stone carvers in Rome. She was privileged to have as her mentor the esteemed bronze sculptor Giacomo Manzù, creator of the Doors of Death at the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica. In 2006 she received the “Mother Teresa Award.” Her works of art can be found in private collections, nationally and internationally.

Mother Lioba Postel, OSB

M.A. in Psychology, Seattle University, 1988

Mother Lioba was trained in liturgical candle making by master candle maker George Hamilton.  She learned the techniques of hand-pouring altar and Easter candles for Our Lady of the Rock Priory on Shaw Island, Washington. She entered the priory in 1990 and later transferred to the Abbey of Regina Laudis.  An ongoing work of Mother Lioba is the creation of the annual Paschal candle.  It requires days of work and several pourings of wax, including wax from the Abbey’s beehives, into a mold specially designed and fabricated for this purpose. In her words, “I pour each candle one at a time because each candle requires something different. … If you stay with this process, with the intensity of the medium, pouring again and again over the course of the years, you arrive at something beautiful and sacramental.”  Mother Lioba often works with our Monastic interns teaching them the art of candle making.  The candles you see in this show were created in collaboration with Ella Beckman, Monastic intern 2017-18.

Sister Gregory Healy

B.A. Birmingham-Southern College, 2001 | M.A.T.S. University of Notre Dame Australia, 2007  | M.Div., University of Notre Dame, 2010  

Sister Gregory entered the Abbey of Regina Laudis with a background in Theology and Music with a specialty in vocal performance.  She began turning wood as a novice in 2015, studying with master woodturners Don Metz and the late Buster Shaw of the Nutmeg Woodturner’s League.  Much of her work includes the unusual use of colored epoxy resin which fills tunnels left by insects and other gaps present in the natural wood form. Sister Gregory says of her woodturning work, “I see the hardest years of the tree's life produce the most distinctive growth-rings; stress and decay create exquisite striations of amber and ebony spalting. Through the lathe work this physical history of the tree becomes the substance of its beauty.”