Friday, October 17, 2014

Adé Bethune Lecture Series: Rebecca Berru-Davis & Katharine E. Harmon

Last week, Dr. Rebecca Berru-Davis and Dr. Katharine E. Harmon delivered lectures as part of the Adé Bethune lecture series. They both discussed Bethune's role in the liturgical movement.

Instructions for an wheel calendar designed and sold by Bethune.
Dr. Rebecca Berru-Davis credits Bethune with making liturgical reform understandable and accessible to church-goers. According to Dr. Berru-Davis, one of Bethune’s chief tenets was that “liturgy, like art, resided in the community.” For this reason, she believed that the community should actively participate in the creation of their worship spaces. Berru-Davis discussed several examples of this from Bethune’s work as a liturgical designer, including her commissions at the Church of St. Paulinus in Clairton, PA and San Joachín in Bacalar, Mexico.

Dr. Katharine E. Harmon also discussed Bethune's penchant for getting the community involved in the creation of art works. She noted that for Bethune “…everyone was an artist. Therefore, everyone had a place in the creation of art, even amateurs.”

One of the primary goals of liturgical reform was the promotion of intelligent participation in the liturgy. Harmon suggested that the idea of promoting participation in the liturgy was not confined to the church but extended to all aspects of life, including the home. According to Harmon, items Bethune created and sold via her mail order catalog, the St. Leo Shop, such as advent calendars, encouraged active participation in the liturgy as well as social and familial interaction. In this way, Bethune’s legacy is unique because her work engaged people in the liturgy in different contexts -- both in church and at home.

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