The first religious community we will get to know in this series is the Benedictine Sisters of Papal Jurisdiction at St. Walburg Monastery in Villa Hills, KY. Today is the feast day of St. Scholastica, one of the many Benedictine feast days on the Church calendar. Today’s post has been submitted by Sr. Cathy Bauer, OSB.
February is the month when we celebrate two great Benedictine feasts. Feb. 10 is the feast of St. Scholastica and Feb. 25 is the feast of our patron St. Walburg. Both of them were women who, by listening to their baptismal call to holiness, became abbesses of monasteries.
In 480 AD, St. Scholastica was born in Nursia, Italy with her twin brother, St. Benedict. As stated in the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, she was a nun and lead a community for women about five miles from St. Benedict’s abbey at Monte Cassino. St. Scholastica visited her brother yearly. They would spend the day together worshipping and discussing sacred texts and issues. After the last visit, St. Benedict indicated it was time for him to leave. St. Scholastica pleaded with him to stay but he refused. At that she folded her hands on the table and rested her head upon them in earnest prayer. The sky was so clear at the time and there was not a cloud in sight. When she looked up again, the sky open with a burst of lightning and thunder accompanied by such a downpour that St. Benedict was unable to set foot outside the door. By shedding a flood of tears while she prayed, this holy nun had darkened the cloudless sky with a heavy rain. Here at this monastery on February 10, we honor St. Scholastica at our Liturgy of the Hours, Mass and special dinner.
St. Walburg was born in 710 and as a young girl entered the Benedictine Abby of Wimborne (England). St. Boniface asked the abbess of Wimborne for nuns to establish monasteries in Germany. In 750 St. Walburg and other nuns embarked. Legend has it that a terrible storm rose up terrifying the crew and its passengers. St. Walburg knelt, prayed and the storm abated. She joined St. Boniface and her two brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winnebald, to establish a monastery where she became skilled in medicine. Her brother, St. Winnibald, established a double monastery at Heidenheim and asked Walburg to govern the nuns while he presided over the monks. When Winnibald died in 761, St. Walburg was appointed abbess becoming responsible for the welfare of both monks and nuns. She is known for her deep prayer life, charity, spirit of hospitality and courage, as well as her miracles of healing. She died in 779, and in the late 800’s her relics were taken to Eichstatt, Germany. For more than a thousand years, mysterious moisture called “Walburg’s Oil” has been collected each year from her relics at St. Walburg Abbey in Eichstätt. Healings attributed to St. Walburg’s intercession continue to be reported up to the present day.
Through the years Benedictine women continue to listen and respond to God’s call. In the 1850’s, Boniface Wimmer, Abbot of St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA requested sisters from St. Walburg Monastery in Eichstätt, Germany to come to the United States to teach German immigrants. The first three sisters left the motherhouse in Eichstätt and arrived at St. Mary’s, PA in 1852. In 1856 the Benedictine sisters established their second foundation in Erie, PA.
The Benedictine fathers of St. Vincent’s had missions in Covington, KY where the Diocese of Covington had been established in July, 1853. In responses to Covington Bishop Carrell, three sisters from St. Benedict Monastery in Erie arrived at St. Joseph parish in Covington on June 3, 1859 and immediately took charge of the girls’ school. It was not long before a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati asked for the sisters to teach at St. Rose of Lima School. To this day Benedictine sisters are serving in the Archdiocese.
For over 150 years the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery of Covington, Kentucky have put their trust in God. To be part of something bigger than oneself has enabled these sisters to devote themselves often to prayer and good works. Are you being called to seek God in community, prayerful listening and giving your total self to God through service?
Please contact Sr. Cathy Bauer, OSB – firstname.lastname@example.org – 859-331-6324
Check out our website: www.stwalburg.org Our blog: www.stwalburg.blogspot.com
Facebook: Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery
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