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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To read the 2017 statement on Racism from the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, click here.



Silent Directed Retreat for Women and Me --April 21-23, 2017

St. Walburg Monastery Guest House

A silent directed retreat for women and men will be held at St. Walburg Monastery Guest House on the weekend of April 21-23, 2017.

Retreatants are invited to join the monastic choir for Liturgy of the Hours. Lodging will be at the monastery’s Guest House. Each retreatant will have a private room and enjoy individual spiritual direction on all three days. The number of retreatants is limited to 10 persons.

The fee of $175 is due with registration.

Our experienced Spiritual Directors are Mary Jo Ruccio and Benedictine Sisters Cathy Bauer and Dorothy Schuette. For information and sign up, contact Sr. Dorothy at  St. Walburg Monastery is located at 2500 Amsterdam Road, Villa Hills, KY 41017.


Click here to read the Winter 2016 issue of LEAVEN.

Click here to read the 2016 issue of the Oblate Newsletter.

Congratulations to our 2016 Jubiliarians!

Below, Left to right: Srs. David Ruschman and Andrea Collopy, celebrating 70 years;

 Srs. Helen Hergot and Mariana Kirk, celebrating 60 years.

Bottom, left: Sr. Christa Kreinbrink, right: Sr. Deborah Harmeling, celebrating 50 years. Center: Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, Prioress.


SWM (Sr. Andrea Collopy) interviewed by SKY network from the UK

       On Friday November 11, Lisa Holland from UK's SKY Network came to St Walburg Monastery as part of a piece she was doing about reconciliation after the US 2016 election. Lisa and her team (including a young woman from SKY's Moscow office) were in the United States covering the election and went to Ohio to see how people in a swing state felt about the election.

      She met a friend of St. Walburg's at the Netherland Hilton in Cincinnati and he suggested that she contact us! After a long and complicated journey Lisa and her team came to St. Walburg's, interviewed Sr. Andrea Collopy, and filmed the community at Evening Prayer. It was a great adventure for us. We enjoyed meeting Lisa and her team and hearing about how people in Great Britain and Russia viewed the election.

     To view the film of St. Walburg Monastery and Sr. Andrea being interviewed click on the link below. Click on the arrow in the lower eft corner of the first picture (the picture of Mike and Helen Pope), you can see and hear the broadcast. If you want to go straight to the part of the broadcast about St. Walburg Monastery and Sr. Andrea go to 1:39, It starts with a great view of crossing the Suspension Bridge. Can there be reconciliation after the US election?



Sister Colleen Winston's thoughts on the election from the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery's blog
. "Reflections from the School for the Lord's Service."

                                          From Hearing to Listening to Healing
Wed., 11/9 Overnight the primal scream that has been crying throughout the world found its voice in the United States. A significant part of the US population that has felt unheard and ignored for a long time forced the rest of the country to feel its pain. With seismic force, chasms that many did not know existed, were unearthed in the cities and countrysides of America.

After an election colored by name calling, harsh judgments, and false assumptions across the political spectrum, our country is left to deal with a pain, fear, and frustration similar to that which has raised its head in many countries around the globe. From African countries with no stable government to England, from Arab Spring to Brexit, groups of people have been forcing those who hold the reins of power to pay attention to them.

The causes underlying this cacophony are probably multiple, but I’d guess a major one stems from the almost cataclysmic changes that have come to us in just one lifetime - communication, immigration, manufacturing, transportation…… As one commentator put it, it’s as powerful a change in society as the 19th century industrial revolution. And who’s been hurt the most? The millions of people who have the fewest resources to cope.

What now? During the election campaign, lines weren’t just drawn in the sand; ditches were dug. Bridges weren’t just dismantled; they were bombed. How does one move on from here? How does healing and reconstruction begin? Who can lead?

This is where we come in, we, people of faith and good will. Our call is as seismic as the one that shook our country last night. We who believe in a power greater than a single individual - humanist, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Native American… - all of us are being challenged to reach out across all divides, old or new, to learn another’s reality. Painful as it is, we need to listen to another person’s truth, and try to understand why theirs is different from our own. All of us are wounded in some way. We are frail and imperfect, but each of us has the power to heal another because we have the power to love. Listening is a form of loving
As a Catholic Christian, I know that the God who lives within me lives within each person around me. I know that Jesus reached out across society’s dividing lines and touched the good within others who had been judged sinful or religiously unclean. I am called to imitate him, and, because at one time or another I have experienced it, I know a word or a touch can heal.

On this 11/9 I am reminded of another 9/11 when our country was called to come together. Today and the days to come, we are called to put on a new mind, a mind that realizes our individual perspective is not always shared by others, but if we work at it, we can probably find common ground. Our forebears who wrote the constitution had a similar challenge. They succeeded. Can we? Then what?

Blessings on us all for the difficult journey ahead. Sr. Colleen Winston, OSB



       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.


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.

Community Members