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Digital Collections From St Kate's

Sr. Joanne Emmer

Agony in the Garden, Sister Joanne Emmer, 1966


Joanne Emmer a Minnesota native born in Moose Lake, MN in the Spring of 1930, as a child was creative and loved art, color and nature. A graduate of Willow River High School, Joanne then pursued her interest in art at the Walker Art School. Her other activities included being a secretary at 3M. In 1951 she would then join the Sisters of St. Joseph as a novice. The name she chose as a sister was Photina. In the New Testament Photina is the woman that Jesus spoke to at the well.

Additional studies of Joanne include attending the College of St. Catherine, the California College of Arts and Crafts, Michigan State University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. All of those studies were dedicated to Joanne's passion for art. 

In addition to being an artist, she would do ministry work at the Academy of Holy Angels and Derham Hall High School. After many years of being a student she would become a teacher. In the late 1950s to the mid-1990s she would teach art at St. Mary’s Junior College and the College of St Catherine.

Joanne experiemented in creating paintings, woodcuts, acrylic wash paintings and more. Joanne created individual pieces and mult-piece displays. The subjects and themes portrayed in her art would vary from showcasing various religious scenes from the Old to the New Testament to flower and nature art.

Her later displays would be presented at the Carondelet Center.   

Sister Joanne (Photina) Emmer, CSJ

March 9, 1930 – January 9, 2016
Exodus, Sister Joanne Emmer, 1965

To this day, Sister Joanne Emmer's art is remembered and celebrated.

Various designs of her acrylic wash paintings can be bought as stationary and as images on greeting cards. 

One of her notable collections was her acrylic wash collection

"The Four Seasons."

Joanne enjoyed creating art to commerate various anniversiaries and occasions. Before the turn of the new millenial in 1999, Joanne created a Jubilee exhibit to honor Pope John Paul II’s Jubilee Year as pontiff in 2000.

That same exhibit honored the Sisters of St Joseph 150 year anniversary of being in St. Paul. 

Sources Cited

Egan, K. (2016). Joanne Emmer obit. Retrieved from

Good Ground Press. (n.d.). Cards be Joanne Emmer. Retrieved from

MinFoundation. (2008, April 8). Joanne Emmer, CSJ- Artist [Video file]. Retrieved from