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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     Sister Justina Franxman



 Sister Justina Franxman was born on April 23, 1928 and adopted by J. Herman and Elizabeth Gripshover Franxman in October of 1929. Mary Louise gained three brothers upon her adoption. She cherished the years she worked in the family grocery with her parents and brothers.

     Mary entered St. Walburg Monastery in 1948. She became a novice in 1949 and received the name Sister Justina. First profession followed in 1950 and perpetual profession in 1953. Sr. Justina celebrated her silver jubilee in 1975, golden in 2000 and diamond in 2010.

     Between 1950 and 1963 Sr. Justina taught elementary grades at St. John’s Orphanage and at Villa Madonna Academy, and served as principal. By 1962 she completed work for her BA in Elementary Education at Villa Madonna College. In the next year her teaching took a different course when she was appointed Novice Director. For the next fifteen years Sr. Justina taught and mentored the newest members of the community, postulants, novices and scholastics, as part of the Formation Team. During this time she finished her work for an MA in Theology from St. John’s in Collegeville, MN. She continued to teach at VMA and served as subprioress before her election as prioress of St. Walburg Monastery in 1978.


     Sr. Justina brought her own unique gifts to the office of prioress. She knew how to lead, to laugh, to worry, and to welcome. After two terms she went to Oregon to study spiritual direction and served in that ministry (and in others) at home until her retirement and move to the infirmary in 2014.

      One of the joys of Justina’s life was her discovery of her birth family in 2006. She learned that she was the daughter of Margaret Wiesman, and that she had living relatives nearby. This reunion was a source of warmth and wonder for her. The sharing of stories and photos enhanced her experience of family. She was welcomed, and she welcomed in return.

     Sr. Justina’ death was unexpected and peaceful in the wee hours of March 4, 2019. She is survived by her sisters-in-law Marilyn Franxman, Patricia Jung, several generations of numerous nieces and nephews, friends and her Benedictine community.,Vigil service will be held Sunday evening, March 10, 2019 and Mass of Christian Burial on Monday, March 11, 2019. Interment will follow in St. Walburg Cemetery.


  Our prioress, Sr. Aileen Bankemper, was part of an audience with Pope Francis on September 8. She was a delegate to the 8th International CIB (Communio Internationalis Benedictarum) Symposium.

  Sister Nancy Kordenbrock (second from right)  celebrated 50 years of professed monastic life on August 25 at Evening Prayer in the monastery chapel. Other Benedictines celebrating jubilees this are (from left to right) Sister Victoria Eisenmann, celebrating 70 years; Sister Stella Gough, celebrating 60 years; Sister Kathleen Ryan, celebrating 60 years, Sister Nancy Kordenbrock; Sister Aileen Bankemper, Prioress.

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


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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