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Colorful inspirations of Brother Cletus

May 15, 2015 | posted by Theresa Doyle-Nelson


Colorful inspirations of Brother Cletus

Just a few steps into the studio of Brother Cletus, SM (Society of Mary) quickly lets you know that your visit will be a bright, cheery, and inspirational one. Set within two humble old portables acquired from a local school district, Brother Cletus Behlmann has converted these modest surroundings into a place of artistic peace and prayerful discovery.

This 81-year-old Marianist Brother had his first art lesson at the age of 28, and has been creating artistic pieces ever since. Most of his works are paintings and drawings, however other three-dimensional-type pieces of art can be found as well. For example, Brother Cletus designed and built an eclectic-styled fence for his studio using a variety of pieces of metal found in a scrap yard.

Brother Cletus was born the 11th of 12 children in Florrisant, Mo.; four of his siblings are still living.He taught elementary and high school for 19 years before he was granted permission by the Society of Mary to make art his full-time vocation. In 1978 he opened his first studio in San Antonio.

A good chunk of Brother Cletus’s artwork is religious -- brightly pulling many viewers into mini-retreats with God. He includes other subjects as well, also prompting one to ponder -- country scenes, nature, and some paintings based on memories from varied travels.

Brother Cletus is also the director of the St. Mary’s University Art Center in San Antonio. Despite a heart attack two months ago and a battle against cancer two-and-a-half years ago, Brother Cletus still wakes up each day, ready to glorify God through his joyful designs.

Brother Cletus’s studio is located at 2507-B NW 36thSt., San Antonio, 78228; tucked behind a few brick buildings (St. Mary’s Legal and Justice Center). If you feel pulled to spend some time enjoying and contemplating Brother Cletus’s work, his studio is usually open Mondays through Fridays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.If you are traveling a distance to see his works, you might want to call in advance, for occasionally he is called away from the studio. Brother Cletus has hosted many field trips for art students from nearby St. Mary’s University; however he also welcomes classes from other schools and grade levels. You can contact Brother Cletus at (210) 771-8305, or find his online home at