Sister Maria Hummel Day is commemorated on May 21 every year by Catholics as well as Non-Catholics. This day honors Sister Hummel, a German Franciscan nun, and painter who came to prominence for her paintings, which formed the basis for the popular Hummel figurines. However, as the Nazi party gained power in the late 1930s, her figurines were viewed as offensive, immoral, and ludicrous. During World War II, when the convents were shut, she could make a living by selling her art. Her artwork is still sold as porcelain figurines across the world, particularly in Germany.
History of Sister Maria Hummel Day
Sister Hummel was born Berta Hummel in Germany on May 21, 1909, to an affluent merchant. Right from early childhood, she had an artistic temperament. Over time, she became a well-known local artist. In her early twenties, she became a Catholic nun and officially adopted the name, Sister Maria Innocentia, on August 22, 1931.
After completing one year as a novice, Sister Hummel was assigned to teach art in a convent school where she started to create paintings of children in her free time. Her fellow Sisters loved her art and sent copies to Emil Fink Verlag, a publishing house in Stuttgart, that specialized in religious art. The publishing house released copies of Hummel’s works in postcard form, which were a hit. Later, in 1934, her paintings appeared in book form. Sister Hummel was unafraid to address political themes despite the brutal Nazi rule. In 1937, she published “The Volunteers,” a painting that drew the attention of Nazis, who condemned it as derogatory for depicting German children with oversized heads. Sister Hummel also included the Star of David in her work, which further agitated the Nazis, who banned her art in Germany.
In 1940, all religious schools were shut down, and the nuns became jobless. Hummel resided and created her art in a tiny cell. The Nazis took half of the earnings she made from her artwork. The remaining amount was paltry but was the only source of income for the Sisters. In 1944, Sister Hummel contracted tuberculosis and was admitted twice to a sanatorium in Isny im Allgäu, but she could not recover fully. She died on November 6, 1946, at the age of 37, and was buried in the convent cemetery.
Sister Maria Hummel Day timeline
Sister Hummel enrolls in the esteemed Academy of Applied Arts in Munich, to develop her talent and skills.
Sister Hummel graduates with top honors from the Academy of Applied Arts, Munich.
Sister Hummel is admitted as a postulant to the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Siessen.
The City of Rosemont builds the Donald E. Stephens Museum of Hummels to house figurines collected by its first Mayor, Donald E. Stephens.
Sister Maria Hummel Day FAQs
Did Sister Hummel have any siblings?
Sister Hummel had five siblings.
When were Maria’s pieces first made available to the public?
The first public exhibit of the new M.I. Hummel figurines was in 1935, at the Leipzig Fair international trade show.
Which is the most valuable Hummel figurine?
Some of the early models are among the highest-priced Hummel figurines ever, with some being valued at $26,000 or more.
How to Observe Sister Maria Hummel Day
View her artwork
Looking at Sister Hummel’s artwork on the internet is not enough. Take out some time to see her paintings if there is a museum nearby.
Buy her art
Purchase one or two pieces of her art if you can. These fantastic pieces will light up your home or office.
Tell your friends
Not many people are aware of Sister Hummel and her legacy in the world of art. This day is a good opportunity to tell your friends about this wonderful woman.
5 Interesting Facts About Sister Maria Hummel
Maria’s legacy is protected
An Artistic Board at the Convent of Siessen carries on her legacy by overseeing the creation of Hummel figurines.
Long-standing production house
Hummel figurines are handcrafted today in the same Rödental location at Hummel Manufaktur, where they’ve been made since 1935.
The M.I.Hummel Club is a distinguished group with members worldwide, which began in North America in 1977.
Maria’s grave remains open to visitors
Visitors can see the final resting place of Sister Hummel, at the Baroque Church of St. Marks.
A book about Maria
Sister M. Gonsalva Wiegand, a friend of Sister Hummel, authored the latter's biography titled, “Sketch Me, Berta Hummel.”
Why Sister Maria Hummel Day is Important
It honors an icon
Sister Hummel showed incredible resilience in the face of hardships. She deserves a day dedicated to her life and work.
We get to enjoy beautiful art
Sister Hummel’s art is a delightful depiction of the innocence of children. This day gives us a chance to feast our eyes on her pieces.
This day reminds us to follow our passions. She did not abandon her art, even under adverse circumstances, and followed her passion from childhood till the end of her life.
Sister Maria Hummel Day dates