St. Walburg Monastery

We Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery, faithful to our monastic profession, seek God in community, prayer and work.

We celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ and serve him in all God's people, the young and the old, the sick and the poor, the stranger and the guest.


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Click here to read the Summer 2016 issue of LEAVEN



       On Wednesday August 10, Thomas More College officially named its library the Benedictine Library to honor the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery.

       The naming of the library is the result of an anonymous $4 million matching gift to the college. This donation, which is the largest in the history of Thomas More, came with the stipulation that the Benedictine Sisters be honored in a significant manner. The Benedictine Sisters of Covington founded Villa Madonna College in 1921 originally to train Catholic school teachers and to provide women with a college education. Villa Madonna College was later renamed Thomas More College.

       The Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery are very grateful to TMC and the anonymous donor for this honor. We are very proud that Thomas More College is part of our legacy in Northern Kentucky.

       Below right: front row, left to right: Sr. Victoria Eisenman, Dr. David Armstrong, President of Thomas More College, Srs. Deborah Harmeling, Margaret Mary Gough, Cathy Bauer, Andrea Collopy; back row: left to right Srs. Mary Rabe, Christa Kreinbrink and Martha Walther.


Concerned about the tone of American public discourse. Read and reflect upon the statement issued by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on Civil Discourse for the Common Good. The statement reflects the Benedictine values of listening, respect and concern for the common good.


     In honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Sr. Emmanuel Pieper painted an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the title, Mother of Mercy.

To read the article about Sr. Emmanuel and the painting in the Diocese of Covington's Messenger go to the Messenger article.

     On Monday, May 9, 2016 Sr. Cathy Bauer received a certificate of completion for her 2014-2016 Spiritual Direction Internship. She attended the program sponsored by the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove, Indiana. Pictured are Sr. Cathy (seated) with the Sisters from St. Walburg Monastery (left to right: Srs. Joan Fraenzle, Emmanuel Pieper, Sharon Portwood, Mariana Kirk, Mary Rabe and Mary Tewes) who attended the completion ceremony. Congratulations, Sr. Cathy!



Benedictine Sisters work with the City of Villa Hills to plan for the future

April 11, 2016

For more than 150 years St. Walburg Monastery of Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, Inc. has served the church and local communities in Northern Kentucky by providing education, healthcare and other pastoral services. For over 110 years the Benedictine sisters have lived on Amsterdam Rd., now in the City of Villa Hills. In 1904 they established Villa Madonna Academy, in 1964 Madonna Manor, a healthcare facility for senior adults, and in 1972 Villa Madonna Montessori School.


Recently the sisters have received funding from the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) to analyze their finances, ongoing operations and infirmary services and to provide recommendations about providing a secure future for the members of the community. One recommendation was to explore ways to use their property and grounds for increased revenue and retirement funding while continuing to contribute to the local community.


The Benedictine Sisters, together with Madonna Manor, Inc., a member of Franciscan Living Community and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), are initiating an in-depth planning study to explore potential changes that will provide more flexible use of their properties. They are working together with the City of Villa Hills and the Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) on the study. Their combined efforts will help St. Walburg Monastery, Madonna Manor, Villa Madonna Academy, and Villa Madonna Montessori continue to be assets to the Villa Hills community.          


“St. Walburg, Madonna Manor, Villa Madonna Academy and Villa Madonna Montessori are great neighbors and important members of our Villa Hills community,” explained Mayor Butch Callery. “It is important for the City to participate in their long-range planning. Our goal is to balance their future plans with the needs of our residents, their neighbors,” the Mayor added. He went on to say that updates to the comprehensive plan and the small area study will help ensure a bright future for all involved.


Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, Prioress of St. Walburg Monastery, says, “We are happy to be able to plan with Madonna Manor and the City of Villa Hills for the future of all concerned. The Benedictine Sisters expect to be a presence in the Villa Hills community for many years to come.”


Over the next few months a committee of representatives from St. Walburg Monastery, Madonna Manor, the City and PDS will oversee a process of examining the current comprehensive plan and zoning. The plan will also include marketing and traffic studies to assist the team in gaining a clear picture for the future. Those who are interested in providing their thoughts on the future of the site are encouraged to attend a public meeting at River Ridge Elementary School on May 9, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.  The meeting will include presentations about the project, market study, and transportation study as well as an opportunity for roundtable group discussion and input from attendees.

For information about the re-zoning process:


Craig T. Bohman

City Administrator/Clerk – City of Villa Hills, Kentucky

720 Rogers Rd

Villa Hills, KY 41017



For information about the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery


Sr. Deborah Harmeling, OSB






Click here to read the Oblate Fall 2015 Newsletter
Arcadia Press has published The

Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg


To order a copy, email Sr.

Deborah Harmeling at or call her

 at 859-331-6771.

Proceeds from the book go to

The Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg


You can review the first chapter of the

 book at or







We have a  St. Walburg Monastery blog entitled Reflections from the School

for the Lord's Service. It is a multi-voice blog with different sisters posting every week. New posts will go up on

 Wednesdays. Click here to read.

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