COLORADO SPRINGS. Benedictine Sister Charlotte (Dominic) Redpath died April 20 at age 87 at Mount St. Francis Nursing Center in Colorado Springs.
Sister Charlotte was born Jan. 14, 1934, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was the youngest of nine children born to Percy A. Redpath and Lena Horney. Her father died when she was only three years old, and she recalled her mother being a strong woman. Her mother’s strength cultivated Charlotte’s own strong and adventurous spirit.
Upon graduating from high school, Sister Charlotte made a bike trip across Europe, taking photos as she went. This experience helped develop her artistic gifts. After returning home, she entered St. Paul Monastery in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1958 and made her first monastic profession in 1960.
In 1967, Sister Charlotte earned a bachelor’s degree in art from College of St. Catherine St. Paul. She taught art in high schools and colleges in Minnesota.
The 1960s and 70s saw many changes in the lives of religious women. Sister Charlotte took the unique role as the Director of Fine Art Education in Phoenix, Arizona, for the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1969-1970. By 1981, Sister Charlotte’s adventurous heart joined with Sister Katherine Wawersich and three other Benedictine sisters to found The Spirit of Life Monastery in Lakewood. They also created The Spirit of Life Center to provide for the spiritual needs of adults. From 1987 to 1999, she served as the community’s prioress.
Sister Charlotte earned a master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Arizona State University in 1984. She realized that combining art into her practice as a counselor and as a spiritual director opened new paths to psychological and spiritual well-being for those she served.
Over the next two decades, Charlotte shared her paintings, weavings and photographs in art shows around the country. She combined many of her exhibition trips with camping and hiking excursions into remote places in the United States and Canada. Charlotte loved being in nature, discovering opportunities to take unique photos. She saw the beauty of God in everything.
In 2003, Sister Charlotte, along with Sister Wawersich, transferred her vow of stability to Benet Hill Monastery. She continued her ministry of counseling, spiritual direction and creating beautiful cards from her many photographs. She taught art classes to the women in formation and she would say, “Whenever you are outside, take the time to look up at the sky. It will enliven your creativity.”
Sister Charlotte’s later years gave her time for her other great love, reading. Her tastes were expansive and she took great pleasure in having her intellect and imagination ignited by a good book and she generously shared her reading list with sisters, oblates and friends.
Eventually, Sister Charlotte needed skilled nursing care and moved to Mt. St. Francis. She is preceded in death by her parents, seven of her siblings and her closest friend, Sister Wawersich. She is survived by her sister, Donna Redpath and numerous nieces and nephews.
(Benedictine Sister Ana Cloughly is a member of Benet Hill Monastery.)