Rhode Island liturgical artist and housing proponent dies

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2002

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) -- Ade Bethune, a liturgical artist closely identified with the Catholic Worker movement, died May 1 at a Carmelite convent at age 88.

Bethune, a Belgian aristocrat, drew hardworking saints in overalls and house dresses for the newspaper of the Catholic Worker, the social justice group cofounded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933 in New York City.

Bethune's rendering of Jesus carrying a cross -- accompanied by a modern Madonna with a baby on her back and a black man wielding a pickax -- has been the newspaper's emblem since 1938.

In 1966, Bethune co-founded Church Community Housing Corp., which built 40 housing units for first-time home buyers in Newport. In 1991, she co-founded Star of the Sea, a nonprofit corporation that provided housing for the elderly.

Bethune decorated her own casket with images of the homes she lived in and her vision of the doors to heaven, which she left slightly ajar.

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