Sister Mary Jacque, 60, teacher and artist

August 16, 2004

Sister Mary Jacque Benner, a teacher and artist whose works are displayed in her order's schools and hospitals, died of cancer Tuesday at The Villa, her order's Baltimore County retirement home. She was 60.

Born Mary Jacqueline Benner in Portsmouth, Va., and raised in Austria, Taiwan, and states including Hawaii, she earned an English degree from Chaminade College of Honolulu. She also held an art degree from Towson University and a master's degree in visual arts from Georgia State University.

She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1970.

She was director of recreation and later art director at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. Sister Jacque taught at Mercy High School and at the old Mount Washington Country School for Boys.

From 1992 to 2002 she was a faculty member of the Loyola College art department, and in 1996 she became the director of its art gallery.

Family members said that in the early 1990s she began to pursue the relationship between art and technology. One of her works, Transformations, consists of photos and videos of cemetery monuments, digitized into a computer and painted.

In 2002 she began working as a full-time artist. She created silk-screen works, the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, which are displayed in hospitals, retirement homes and schools. One of her murals is on view at Our Daily Bread in downtown Baltimore.

"Mary Jacque was happiest with a blank piece of paper in front of her, a paintbrush in her right hand and a palette of watercolors in her left," said her sister Margaret Benner of Baltimore.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Friday at The Villa.

Survivors include a brother, John Benner Jr. of Parkville; five other sisters, Carol Benner Doelp of Linthicum, Patricia Young of Bakersfield, Calif., Michele Benner of Charlotte, N.C., Roberta Benner of Blackwood, N.J., and Susan Molnar of Fountain Inn, S.C.; and three nieces and three nephews.

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