A Benedictine potter, teacher, art historian and orientalist, Sister Johanna Becker, OSB, combined these in the different facets of her work. She was a member of the Monastery of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph, Minnesota. She held a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Colorado, a Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art from Ohio State University, and a doctorate in art history from the University of Michigan. For twelve years she was a board member of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue engaging in conversations of faith with Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.
As a teacher in the art department of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Sister Johanna taught both studio classes (primarily ceramics) and art history focusing her final years on the arts of Asia. As a specialist in Asian ceramics, particularly those of seventeenth-century Japan, she did connoisseurship for public and private museums, published a book, Karatsu Ware: A Tradition of Diversity, and wrote and lectured worldwide. Her art history classes benefited from the years she lived in Japan and her time spent in the majority of Asian countries as an art researcher. After she retired, Johanna continued to teach Asian art history classes. Sister Johanna passed away on September 22, 2012. The Johanna Kiln, located in the Pottery Studio at Saint John’s University, is named in her honor.
View a video tribute to Sister Johanna Becker