An Eventful September

On September 11, the eve of the day on which the Church commemorates the “Holy Name of Mary,” our Sister Mary was clothed with the Benedictine habit. What a glorious day it was!

Two days later, a wildfire broke out from lightning striking a bush on our neighbor’s land, and we spent the day preparing to evacuate. Thankfully, due to the amazing fire fighting squad (on foot and in the air), who worked tirelessly through the night, we were able to safely stay in our monastery. We were also blessed by many friends and oblates who reached out to check on us and let us know that we could stay with them if we needed to leave. Praise the Lord for surrounding us with so many good people!

It was a great gift that we did not have to evacuate, because Sister Assunta’s Vow Renewal was set to take place on the next day, September 14, The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. After six years here, she has now renewed her vows for another year, bringing her one step closer to her Solemn Profession.

In honor of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrated this month, one of our Sisters wrote this reflection:


A Rock Beneath the Cross

You have said
To plant in fertile ground
With rich, nutritious soil,
In order to take root
And bear fruit;
But then You go and
Contradict Yourself,
Because I’ve seen
Trees growing out of rocks,
For nothing is impossible
For You…

And it’s a good thing, too,
Because I am like that rock,
Stony, hard, unloving,
Critical, rigid, cold,
But still You give me hope
That if I only keep saying,
“I only want You,
And to love like You,”
Then You will accomplish
A miracle in me,
And a tree will grow
From this rock…

And I think of Moses
Striking the rock,
And water pouring forth,
Just like You were struck
By me on the Cross,
And blood and water 
Poured out love and mercy
Upon this very rock
Who struck You…

So there is hope
For this heart of stone,
Because beneath your Cross,
Watered by Your blood,
Anything is possible,
And even a fruit-bearing tree
Can grow.

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26

Espoused to Christ

On August 15, 2021, The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Sister Maria-Raphaelle and Sister Fidelis made their solemn profession of monastic vows. The Holy Mass was presided over by The Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, who delivered an eloquent homily about his “dear daughters” being the salt and light of the world, in imitation of the Blessed Mother. It was a day of great rejoicing, and a blessing for our community.

Click here to read more on the Denver Catholic website

On that day—oracle of the LORD

You shall call me “My husband”…

I will betroth you to me forever:

I will betroth you to me with justice and with judgment,

with loyalty and with compassion;

I will betroth you to me with fidelity,

and you shall know the LORD.

Hosea 2:18, 21-22

Motet Video

This motet, “Desidero mi Jesu,” composed by Kevin Allen, was performed by three of our Sisters on the Solemnity of St. Benedict, July 11.

Causes for Rejoicing

Between battling the weeds, caring for the cattle, and tending the gardens, summer tends to be a busy season for us; but because of our monastic horarium that provides sacred time for prayer, the balance of “ora et labora” keeps our priorities in check.

Spring Happenings

The blizzard that came upon us brought with it about 3 inches of precipitation. In 2020 we only received 10 inches over the course of the whole year, so this snow was a huge blessing.

Our Sister Maria renewed her vows for another year on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. It was a grace-filled day for her and the whole community.

The Guest Wing of our Abbey is now open again! Click here for more information.

St. Benedict: A Man of Life

One of our Sisters shares an experience she had before entering our community which gave her a foretaste of her future life as a Benedictine nun, though she did not know it at the time:

I was finishing up a day’s work at the hospital when the word was passed around the nurse’s station: “Rachel is going to go home on hospice this week.”  The news wasn’t surprising; Rachel, one of our dear patients in her late teens, had spent a lot of time on our floor over the last couple of years, and her medical condition had gotten much worse recently.  After I completed my shift, I walked down the hall and knocked on Rachel’s door.  I wasn’t in such a peppy mood myself that autumn.  The gentleman I had been dating had unexpectedly broken up with me a few months before, and I found myself unable to leave behind the deep sadness I was still feeling.  But that night I knew I had to say goodbye to Rachel and thank her for the gift she had been to me.  As I sat on her bed, she told me how sad she was to be dying.  I was sad with her.

As I drove home from work that night, I realized with a sudden insight that I was ALIVE, and I was filled with awe and gratitude at this awareness.  By the time I stepped inside my house, I was so overwhelmed with joy at being alive that I began to write down all the things that made me grateful for my life.  Memories and desires poured out almost faster that I could write them down.  I was so overcome with joy for the gift of my own life that the sadness that had been oppressing me for the last few months was suddenly insignificant.  I was alive!!!

My vocational call didn’t come until several years later, but the grace I received from Rachel that night was a foreshadowing of the grace I receive now in my vocation as a Benedictine nun.  The immense gratitude for the gift of my life demands a response, and my response is the complete gift of my life back to my Creator in a sacrifice of praise!  In fact, for me personally, this is not only one way, but the fullest way possible I can express my gratitude to God for creating me.

St. Benedict’s only goal is to seek God, so that we might begin now what will be brought to completion in heaven.  Using the words of St. John, he urges his monks to “run while you have the light of life that the darkness of death may not overtake you” (Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue.13).  No wonder St. Benedict directs even the most ordinary aspects of daily life so carefully.  All those short moments together make up this great gift we have called LIFE, and there is no time to waste in complacency.  I believe that the profound reverence and intentionality with which St. Benedict treats of those smallest choices reveals his deeply grateful heart.

The final verse of Psalm 150, which we sing at Lauds every Saturday and Feast day concludes, “Let everything that breathes, praise the Lord,” and I often note with gratitude that I am indeed still breathing, and I remember Rachel as we sing it.  Thank you, Rachel, for bringing me into such a full life by your death!  I pray that when I follow you into eternity someday, together in the heavenly kingdom we will praise the Lord forever.

Our Newly Professed: Sister Maria-Benedicta, O.S.B.

Sister Maria-Benedicta (previously our “Sister Molly”) made her simple vows on February 10, the Solemnity of St. Scholastica,  It was a joyful occasion that her whole family was able to join us for her profession—including so many adorable nieces and nephews! 

Sister Maria-Benedicta O’Brien is the daughter of Patrick and Jean O’Brien of Denver, and the third of five siblings. Her many gifts and gracious flexibility are a blessing to our community.

Winter/Christmas Photos

Merry Christmas!

Artwork by one of our Sisters

“In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.


He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him,

and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be

through him was life,

and this life was the light of the human race;

the light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has not overcome it…

He was in the world,

and the world came to be through him,

but the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own,

but his own people did not accept him…

And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us…”

–John 1:1-5, 10-11, 14

We rejoice with you on this glorious day as we celebrate the day on which God gave us the greatest gift—His very self. May you receive Him with great joy! Many blessings on you this Christmas and always.

Farm Manager’s Coronavirus Perspective

March 22, 2020, was a normal Sunday at the Abbey of St. Walburga. The only difference was that we weren’t able to allow guests to come to Mass that morning, because there happened to be a global pandemic going on and everyone in the entire world (so it seems) was in “lockdown”…but for cloistered nuns, it was business as usual. After all, we have been practicing social distancing for centuries. It’s already our practice to leave our monastery as infrequently as possible, limiting our contact with the outside world; so you could say we’re experts! All joking aside, what an experience this has been. It’s as if everyone is going through a big collective “novitiate.” Like a monastic novitiate, it’s a time of trial and testing and pain; it’s a time of growth and self-discovery that can lead to deep joy. I like to think that our Abbey’s role in all of this is to witness to that possibility of joy and hope. Maybe just knowing that there are nuns out there crazy enough to freely choose this lifestyle can give others courage to get through it.    

We have a number of elderly sisters in our community, so we have had to be very cautious not to expose them. For six weeks we made do with what we had on site, never visiting a grocery store (but gratefully assisted by donations of food and paper goods from kind supporters). During that time, the role of our humble milk cow suddenly became much more important; and as one of the milkers, I experienced the satisfaction of being able to provide something we couldn’t have had otherwise. 

In the Rule, St. Benedict recommends that monks have as many necessities as possible available within the cloister “so that there is no necessity for the monks to go about outside of it” (RB 66). Making cheese has not been possible at the Abbey since we sold the modular buildings; a re-model of one of our outbuildings into a “cheese hut” seemed to meet innumerable delays. However, come March of 2020, motivation spiked to make the “cheese hut” a reality—speedily! This project was finally completed in July, and we were able to produce our first hard cheese in two years…just in time, we hope and pray, for everything to return to normal. (We regret, though, that we are not currently able to make our cheese available for sale.)

On Sunday, May 10, 2020, we were happily able to allow guests in our Church again on a limited basis, with masks and distancing in place. Without them, we were missing a part of ourselves. We hope that you, wherever you are, are finding light along your pandemic journey; know that some nuns in the middle of nowhere are praying that you do.

A practical note: if you live nearby and want to come to Sunday Mass, please call ahead as we have to reserve seating to make distancing possible.