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  Sister Mary Tharsilla  (1912 - 2001)

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: sculpture, painting, graphic art, crafts, teaching

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Sister Mary Tharsilla is primarily known as Sister Mary Tharsilla

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sister Mary Tharsilla Fuchs, 89, of San Antonio, died Oct. 27, 2001 in San Antonio, Texas.

Funeral services were held Oct. 29 at Annunciation Chapel of Regan Hall at Our Lady of the Lake Convent. Burial was in Providence Cemetery. Sister Fuchs was born in Westphalia to Anton and Bertha Fuchs.

She attended school in Westphalia until the 10th grade, and then entered the Convent where she finished high school and began college.

She professed and was missioned to St. Joseph’s School in San Antonio in 1932, where she began teaching the first grade. After five years she moved up to the fourth and fifth grades and finally high school. In 1933, she had received a bachelor of arts degree from Our lady of the Lake College in San Antonio.

She was at St. Joseph’s until 1941 and was sent to Columbia University in New York where in 1942, she earned a Master of Arts Degree.  She was transferred to Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio in 1942 and remained at Our Lady of the Lake College, retiring with emeritus status in 1977.  She had served as head of the Art Department, and in 1996, the Sculpture Studio was named in her honor.

During her 48 years at the college, she taught art, designed 12 rectangular windows in the steeple of St. Timothy Church, and researched and photographed the Texas historical murals done by Howard Cook during the Great Depression. One of her pieces, Agape, hangs in the Regan Community Room.

During her teaching career, her training also included enrollment in the Universal School of Handcrafts in New York (1942), Art Institute of Chicago (1945), University of Texas at Austin summer schools (1949-1951), New York University (summer 1962), and Pratt Graphics Center in New York (1969). Instructors included Robert Lifvendahl, Contantine Pougialis and Buckley McGurrin.

From 1990 until 2001 she lived at Our Lady of the Lake Convent Center and continued to be active in the art life and civic and ecclesiastical affairs of San Antonio.

Professional recognition included receipt of the Garnet Leader Award for the Sigma Alpha Chapter of Kappa Pi, international honors art fraternity and an appointment to the editorial board of the organization’s publication The Sketchbook.” She was listed in the Who’s Who publications, Who's Who in American Art and other biographical publications listing outstanding artists.

Exhibition venues included San Antonio Local Artists Annual Exhibition, Texas General Exhibition, Texas Watercolor Society and San Antonio Press Club.  She was a member of the Catholic Art Association, Chicago Art Association, San Antonio Art League, Texas Watercolor Society and Western Artists Association.

Sources:
Obituary, Cameron Herald, Thursday, November 15, 2001, boards.ancestry.com/localities.northam.usa.states.texas.counties.milam/4552/mb.ashx

John and Deborah Powers, "Sister Mary Tharsilla", Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists

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