Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Tidbits] A Franciscan Nun and A Brooch

She was born in Bavaria on May 21, 1909. She was one of seven
children. She was devout. She lived above her father’s dry goods
store. As a child she had developed a reputation in her village as an
artist. Later in life… when she enrolled in the Academy of Applied
Arts in Munich she chose–instead of living in student housing–to
live in a Catholic residence.

She subsequently chose to follow a religious calling and entered into
a Congregation as a postulant in 1931. It was after a final visit to
her family that she was admitted as a novice and received a religious
habit and was given the name of Maria Innocentia. This was not her
given name.

She taught art in a school run by the convent and spent her spare
time painting pictures of children. Anyone know who she is yet? Wait
wait. Not to fret. I will tell you before this Tidbits ends. I assure
you that there is not a single one of you out there who has not heard
of her.

She became well known and her art began selling as postcards. A
gentleman by the name of Franz Gobel-- owner of a porcelain
company–saw her pictures and got the rights to transform them into
figurines. At one point she released a painting entitled “The
Volunteers” which drew the hatred of Adolf Hitler for he felt she had
portrayed the German children as having hydrocephalic heads. The
distribution of her art was subsequently banned in Germany. It would
appear that good old Hitler was a nut-job. How quaint. He thought
that Germany’s youth was being portrayed as “brainless sissies” while
I think he should have done more thinking.

Parenthetically… she also drew sketches of the Star of David… a
rather dangerous enterprise for those times. She died of tuberculosis
in 1946… not too long after the region in which she lived was
liberated by the Free French Forces.

But she left behind a legacy very rarely matched in the world of
creative arts. A company by the name of Silson Jewelry–created in
circa 1930–obtained a licensing agreement to duplicate Sister Maria
Innocentia’s works with some imaginative stretches that allowed for
variations–and they created statuettes from her drawings.

I have one to show it. It is entitled “Letter to Santa Claus”. Rather
appropriate for this time of year… wouldn’t you say? This woman…
who chose to become a nun and died at age 37… has left behind a
heritage that borders on the miraculous. Her real name–for those of
you who have not yet guess it–was Berta Hummel. You have all heard of
Hummel figurines have you not?

Now go. Go look. Go look at the work of a child who grew up to be a
nun and a giant.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits… click it… and you will see represented on
our pages the aforementioned brooch gleaned from Hummel’s work.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark