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Handmade Christmas gifts from the Monastery of Bethlehem


Courtesy of Monastery of Bethlehem

Zelda Caldwell - published on 11/20/20

The religious Sisters create beautiful, hand-painted chinaware that is available for purchase online.

Life for the Sisters of the Monastery of Bethlehem in Livingston Manor, New York, is one of continuous prayer. The members of this contemplative order seek to fulfill Jesus’ call to love and adore God on earth as it is done in heaven.

But to make this life of prayer and adoration possible, the sisters must earn a living. At each of the 31 monasteries of the Order of the Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno, the religious sisters specialize in a different form of craftsmanship to create fine works of art to sell to guests and retreatants at the monastery gift shops.

At the Monastery of Bethlehem in rural New York, the sistershand-paint chinaware. The exquisitely decorated dishes and decorative pottery are created individually and are available topurchase on the monastery’s new website, which was created with the help of friends and supporters.

“Thanks to the help of friends who graciously built a website of our artwork, we hope to meet the growing demands of earning a living in our monastery here and other monasteries in the Americas,” one of the Sisters told us.

Chinaware, hand-painted in prayer and with love

Each piece of china is hand-painted individually by a Sister who has been trained in her craft. First, she draws the pattern with a china pencil or with a charcoal stick over a “pouch.” She then hand-paints the pottery with fine brushes before it is is kiln-fired at the monastery. The Sisters produce their handmade artwork in “solitude, in prayer, and with love,” according to the monastery’s website.

In time for Christmas, the monastery’s online shop features several collections of chinaware for gifts or to celebrate the Nativity. From dinner plates, to teapots and vases, to Christmas ornaments — there is a very special gift for everyone on your list. The patterns include:

Holly: A festive pattern perfect for Christmas gatherings or special gifts. The design was created by the Sisters and inspired by plates of the ancient German Malbuch ceramics.

Blue Marli: This popular pattern features a rich blue color, with intricate geometric designs. It was created at the Order’s monasteries and inspired by a traditional Christian pattern from Spain and Morocco.

Sun: This beautiful, ornate yellow and green pattern was also created by the Sisters and inspired by Spanish and Moroccan Christian motifs.

Delft: Based on a traditional pattern from the Netherlands in the 16th century, this collection features enchanting birds on flowering branches.

Ornaments: The hand-painted brightly colored ornaments come in sets of 5 or 10, to decorate your Christmas tree or to give as individual gifts.

Handmade rosaries

In addition to their fine chinaware, the Sisters also handcraft rosaries. Upon request, the Sisters will set to work on a hand-knotted rosary in black wool for a particular person and intention. The Sister will then make it with her prayers especially for that intention, and it will be sent in a beautiful pouch.


The Monastery of Bethlehem’s online store also offers incense for sale. Handmade by the Sisters, the incense is made with high quality Ethiopian resin and pure essential oils in different perfumes of Wisteria & Lilac, Gardenia, Lavender, Myrrh, and Rose.

View the slideshow below to see these beautiful works of art. And visit the Monastery’s online store to purchase a unique, faith-inspired gift or keepsake for your own home.

Monastery of Bethlehem

Read more:
New York’s beautiful Monastery of Bethlehem is a “garden of the Most Holy Trinity”


Read more:
Make time for God with a retreat at New York’s Monastery of Bethlehem

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