Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why St. Walburg Is Special to Me

     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

The Olympics of Christian Life

     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

      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

Experiencing a Psalm

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