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.


We, as a Benedictine community, stand united in our response to the racial injustices in our country against people of color, particularly African Americans.  We pray for the nation’s healing.  We dedicate ourselves to shaping a community based on understanding, acceptance, equality, and compassion.  We pledge to listen, learn, pray, and seek solutions that result in a world where the dignity and diversity of all people are cherished. Villa Madonna Academy and the Benedictine Sisters express our unity and commitment to transformational change in our world. 


To read the Spring 2020 issue of LEAVEN click here.

Today (May 30) we received flowers and a box of cookies from Hearts for Hometown Heroes for our great staff here at St. Walburg Monastery. The note with the flowers and cookies said, “Thank you for the wonderful difference are making to care for the Sisters in need. May God bless you for your dedicated service.”

Pictured with the cookies and a sign (from left to right) are Wilma Wright (Infirmary staff), Nancy Haskamp (Infirmary Nurse), Rick Glending (Maintenance Staff), Kim Messer (Kitchen Staff), Mary Lou Aldridge (Infirmary Nurse) and Maureen Smain (Kitchen Director).
We also say Thank You to all our great staff here at St. Walburg Monastery for your service to us.

Obituary for Sr. Joan Gripshover who died on the evening of March 30, 2020

     Sister Joan Gripshover was born on June 9, 1942 to Aloysius and Anna Gripshover and named Patricia Gertrude. She was the second of eight children, two sisters and five brothers.

Patricia was a graduate of St. Henry High School and a twelve-year student there. She entered St. Walburg Monastery in 1961. She became a novice in 1962 and received the name Joan. First profession followed in 1963 and perpetual profession in 1968. Sr. Joan celebrated her silver jubilee in 1988 and her golden in 2013.

Sr. Joan completed her studies for her RN from Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing in 1969 and her BES in Nursing Education from Thomas More College in 1976. She advanced through the Frontier School of Family Nursing and Midwifery in 1983 to become a family nurse practitioner. Sr. Joan continued her education through courses and workshops for the rest of her life. She was a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and of the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives.

Sr. Joan served as a nurse at Estill County Hospital, Madonna Manor and St. Walburg Infirmary. After certification as a nurse practitioner she devoted herself to meeting the healthcare needs of the people of Leslie County in eastern Kentucky, who were very fond of her. At the same time she served on boards of directors, as a parish planner, and on several citizen groups.

Joan welcomed her Benedictine sisters to her home in eastern Kentucky, taking them on tours of her workplaces in Leslie County. She was a fan of the Kentucky parks and loved to visit Breaks Interstate Park. She enjoyed bluegrass music and the Kentucky Wildcats.

St. Walburg Monastery was Joan’s home after her retirement in 2015; she assisted however she was able until her health declined and she moved to the infirmary in November, 2019. Joan died peacefully the evening of March 30, 2020.

Sr. Joan is survived by her brothers Al (Carol), Ron (Sharon) and Carl (Jean), her sister Mary Lou Hannick (Wayne), her sister-in-law Roxanne Gripshover, many nieces, nephews and friends, and her Benedictine community. A private service will be celebrated on April 3 at St. Walburg Monastery. A Vigil Service and Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at a later date.

Memorials may be made to St. Walburg Monastery, 2500 Amsterdam Rd, Villa Hills, KY 41017.

Due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic we, the Benedictine Sisters, have determined that we will close our monastery until further notice due to the concerns for our monastic membership and the greater community at large.  We will reevaluate our decision periodically and let you know.

We will not be receiving guests, friends, family, and Oblates. There will be no public religious services or any event during this time. Please follow us on our social media for further information updates.

We have instructed our employees to abide by the CDC/health department guidelines. This is not only for our membership but for the needs of all with whom we work and minister.

We continue to hold our local community and our world in prayer during this difficult time.

Sr. Aileen Bankemper, OSB, Prioress

The Benedictine Sisters have initiated

a new live-in service program.


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 Monastery.

To order a copy, email Sr. Deborah Harmeling at
or call her at

Proceeds from the book go to
The Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery.

You can review the first chapter of the book at or at


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.

St. Walburg Monastery Community Members

Click here – To search monastery library.