Sr. Martha Walther, OSB
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Just yesterday, February 25, 2014, we celebrated the feast day of our patron St. Walburg. We began with sung morning, a short noonday prayer for special feasts, and a sung evening prayer and short night prayer. During all these prayers, St. Walburg was the focus of our day. Of course, we had some special treats which everyone who knows us would expect.
Have you ever wondered how on earth this monastery in Villa Hills came to be named after St. Walburg? When I tell many people I am from St. Walburg Monastery, I’m asked, “Where is that or who is St. Walburg?” Then I ask, “Do you know where Villa Madonna Academy is?” The answer is usually, “O, yes.” It sometimes frustrates me to need to add that our monastery sponsors the Villa. The payoff is when a stranger hears the word monastery and asks whether men also live here!
St. Walburg was born in England in 710. She was educated in the Benedictine Abbey of Wimborne and became a member of that monastery. From there she and other sisters were sent to Germany to establish monasteries in Germany. Her brother, Winnibald established a double monastery at Heidenheim and asked Walburg to take change of the nuns. Upon her brother’s death Walburg was appointed Abbess and was responsible for both monks and nuns. Now doesn’t that make you excited that Walburg had this position 761?
Making a long story short, in 1852 St. Walburg Abbey in Eichstatt, Germany sent a small group of sisters to America to Elk County, PA and named the new community St. Mary. Four years later a group of sisters from St. Mary established St. Benedict Convent in Erie PA. From there three sisters arrived in Covington to become the foundation of St. Walburg.
The choice of the very name of our foundation, St. Walburg, is a reason she is special to me. It has called me to become acquainted with her life, some of her miracles, and the miraculous oil that exudes from her remains from her two feast days on October 12th to February 25th. My blog would be too long to discuss the statements in this paragraph.
You may want to research more information yourself and may have questions I may or may not be able to answer. What I have written has given me some questions to research.
Sr. Victoria Eisenman, OSB
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Gold, frankincense and myrrh have moved aside for gold, silver and bronze. What would it be like to soar off a ski jump or leap from the ice into a triple axel and land with grace? How would it feel to make the Wheaties box?
Those of us without athletic prowess console ourselves that our lives do not consist of unending training, travel, and competition with its huge disappointments. And that the glamour is so small in proportion to the sweat.
Whenever a sister dies here at the monastery, her community, family and friends share remembrances at the funeral Vigil. We listen to the testimony of endurance, staying on course, keeping faithful to the monastic life and training, working as a team, as well as the tales of the missed gate, the falls, and the getting back up and trying once more. We have all seen the evidence of grace and beauty in one another’s lives. St. Paul says that after this race there is reserved the crown of righteousness. For each one.
Sr. Christa Kreinbrink, OSB
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Winter Sunrises warm my heart. Cold weather started early this year and, after a few weeks respite before Christmas, has taken us into one of the longest, coldest, snowiest seasons that I can remember. I began winter with dread of the cold wetness. But somewhere along the pathway the blazing insistence of Winter sunrises penetrated me and convinced me that they were absolutely necessary to complete a yearly cycle of Earth's Beauty.
Of the many lessons to be learned in pondering this is the potential of beauty to melt away the chill of resistance to new ideas, new acquaintances, new ways of being. The catch is to take the time to really see the beauty, to let it into your soul and to let it become a part of you.
May you be blessed by the beauty of each day, of each person, of each act of kindness.
Sr. Dorothy Schuette, OSB
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Lift me to a rock that is higher than I
for you are my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me abide in your tent forever,
find refuge under the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 61:2)
During a vacation in Arcadia National Park, Maine, a number of years ago, several friends and I decided to climb the Beehive, a mountain which was described as moderate, but did not look moderate from where my friends and I stood. We reached a point where we had to climb a ladder which was built into the mountain. I began the climb but came to a place where I could not go on. We could not go back because of the narrowness of the trail. We had been warned of this at the beginning of the climb! My friend, who had reached the top, took my hand while an unknown young man assisted from below. They lifted me to a rock that was higher than I and which I could not have reached on my own.
Because of that experience Psalm 61 took on a new and deeper meaning. I pray it as if I had composed it myself.
An afterthought: I think that may have been the last mountain I climbed.
Sr. Justina Franxman, OSB
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
This past Sunday, I finished reading I Am Malala. Even though Malala Yousafzi’s story is well-known, her book is well-worth reading. Her story is one of deep faith, the thirst for knowledge and commitment to the education of children, especially the girls of Pakistan and far beyond.
Malala is wiser than her years, having learned from her parents, especially her father, Ziauddin. A well-educated, optimistic and loving person, he starts a school for both girls and boys in the beautiful Swat Valley in northeastern Pakistan. Eventually, it is forced to close due to opposition by the Taliban. All along, Ziauddin and Malala have encouraged the education of girls.
Malala’s authority to speak out comes from living. She experiences the fear of arrest and/or death, the heartbreak of displacement by flooding and war, the attempt on her life and, currently, exile from her beloved homeland. For her bravery and commitment, she, has received outpourings of love from people around the world.
Across the U.S. this week we celebrate National Catholic Schools Week with its theme: “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” May God inspire our youth to cherish their gift of education. May they have the grace to believe that their lives make a difference. May they discover their passion. Like Malala, may they use their gifts to benefit others, and may their hearts expand to embrace this planet and all its people. Amen!
Malala, thank you! May your dreams come true!
Sr. Sharon Portwood, OSB
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Now that we are liturgically in" ORDINARY TIME" , I thought to settle back into ordinary days. Of course, there is no such thing. Bad weather and polar temperatures in the Southeast Ky mountains where I serve in a rural health clinic as a family nurse practitioner has provided multiple challenges. It has been difficult to get to work with icy mountain roads for providers as well as for patients. This leads to multiple phone calls trying to diagnose and treat medical problems per phone calls. That is never a safe or healthy practice.
Amidst the confusion and frustration within myself and patients, I settled my meditation into Teresa of Avila's passage:
Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ's
compassion is to look out to the world.
Yours are the feet with which Christ is to
go around doing good.
Yours are the hands with which Christ is
to bless all people now.
So now is the time for myself and all of us to brace up and serve one another with kindness, goodness and patient compassion all the while praising our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Peace be with all.
Sr. Joan Gripshover, OSB