Feast of St. Walburga, February 25, 2014
Let me introduce you to a Benedictine mystic and healer, St. Walburga. In this picture we see Walburga, on the far right, standing on the bridge of a manor where the parents are awaiting the death of their daughter. Tradition tells us that Walburga was welcomed into the family’s home and knelt in fervent prayer, invoking Christ’s healing power, at the bedside of the child all night. In the morning she presents the daughter to her astonished and most grateful parents.
Walburga was born and educated in England in the early 700s. At the age of 11 she was entrusted to the Abbess of the Wimburne Monastery and spent 26 years as a member of this monastery. Known for her love of Scripture and contemplation, she was chosen to accompany Sister Lioba to Germany where they assisted St. Boniface in catechizing the new Christians. He was the first missionary to call women to his aid. Walburga served as Abbess who was known for her manual labor, healing gifts and contemplative prayer.
Many miracles have been attributed to Walburga and today she is best known for the oil that flows from her bones that are buried in the Church of St. Walburga from September to February 25th each year. This oil is carefully bottled and is sent worldwide for the continued healing of body, mind spirit and heart for those who believe.
The second picture I would like to share with you is this pictorial tree that roots out from St. Walburga Monastery in Eichstatt, Bavaria. I share this with you because here you see all the Benedictine Monasteries that have sprung from t his Monastery and I draw your attention to St. Joseph Convent, St. Marys, PA, the first Benedictine Monastery in the United States. Tomorrow I will fly to St. Marys to be with the seventeen sisters who have agreed to close this monastery. They are a small Community of women who have been part of the tradition that gave birth to these Benedictine Communities you see throughout the United States and Mexico. I ask you to join me in prayers of gratitude and blessing for them in their transition into other Benedictine Monasteries.
Anne Stedman, OSB