Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Bridget Hayden

Committee Chair School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Marie Danforth

Committee Member 2 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 3

Dr. B Katherine Smith


This thesis looks at the relationship of art and creativity among the Poor Clares in New Orleans, Louisiana. Through the six sisters, the project addresses the way that religion influences the art that each sister produces. While each sister has had a different experience that drew them to religious life and their artwork, they all agree that their creativity is a gift from God, and this shapes how they engage with their art.

The literature gives an understanding to the role of the artist, and how to understand the nuance in an artist’s choice, when “why” something is produced is often difficult to ask. By using phenomenology, this thesis is able to address the experiences of the sisters and use that to understand how their religion is so closely tied into their art. Beyond that, the literature looks at the way people interact with religious art, to better understand how the sisters interact with their pieces and the art in the monastery.

The Poor Clares’ experiences show the close connection between religion and creativity. The work shows that the experience of each individual artist plays a role in what they produce, but also highlights how something like religion can draw artists together to share in their experience.