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Food For Your Soul

S. Ernestine Foskey

S. Ernestine Foskey (1859-1947) was born in Dundee, Scotland, and immigrated with her family to the United States when she was a small child. She entered the Sisters of Charity in 1881 and spent her early years in the Community as an elementary school teacher. “It was [while teaching at St. Vincent Academy] in Albuquerque that I began to develop my talent as an artist,” she recalled. 

In 1896 S. Ernestine moved to Cincinnati and opened a studio at Mount St. Joseph which she maintained until she retired. Here she taught students from Mount St. Joseph Academy as well as created her own pieces. She attended Cincinnati Art Academy for several years where she studied under such masters as Frank Duveneck and Clement Barnhorn.* She also studied in Washington, D.C., and Decatur, Ill., as well as traveled to great museums throughout the United States. Her major works were oils and watercolors. When asked what she had accomplished as an artist, Sister said, “While I did not keep an inventory of all my pictures, the ones that afforded me the greatest personal satisfaction are the episodes from the life of Christ painted on the walls of the dining room at Mount St. Joseph, and the portraits of S. Anthony O’Connell, Rev. Father Finn, S.J., and a battle scene of the Civil War at the Good Samaritan in Cincinnati.”

S. Ernestine’s art pieces are located throughout the Motherhouse. Found on the second floor are several portraits of the early mothers; a floral painting in the Art Room; watercolors in the Rose Room; and additional pieces along the corridor between the elevator and the end of the hall. Hanging at the end of the hall is one of three paintings she did depicting Sisters of Charity nurses at Civil War battle scenes. A large oil floral painting is located on the first floor along the side of the main staircase.

*Frank Duveneck’s painting “The Boy” is in the Sisters of Charity Art Room; Clement Barnhorn’s statues of “Madonna of the Lily” and “St. Joseph and the Child Jesus” are found in the chapel on the side altars.

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