October 2019 Abbey News

October 10, 2019

The Passing of Our Sister Augustina

Sister Augustina Höchbauer, OSB, of the Abbey of St. Walburga, died very peacefully at the Abbey around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8, surrounded by her entire monastic community.

Sister Augustina was born in 1925 in Wörth, on the German Danube River, but her family soon moved to a village not too far from the Abtei St. Walburg in Eichstätt. There she shared the hardships of World War II with her extended family, who objected when she announced that she wanted to enter the Abtei.  Her brother had been killed on the Eastern front, and she was supposed to stay at home and care for the farm. "They even yelled at me," she said, "but I could not help, I had to go." She entered the Abtei in 1948 and made her first profession of vows in 1950. In 1952 she found herself on a train to the embarkation port at Bremen with her friend from home, Sister Bonfilia Faerber, to embark for America and the Wild West, with the final destination of the then Convent of St. Walburga in Boulder, CO.  Expecting to work with the monastery's dairy cows, she found herself assigned instead to the monastery kitchen, although she continued to milk cows as well. On receiving her assignment Sister Augustina explained to the superior that she knew nothing about cooking, whereupon a local woman came in to teach her. Story has it that she wept over this assignment, but she turned out in fact to be an astonishingly good and dedicated cook, often baking bread till late at night. As purveyor of of fresh milk, eggs, and bread to local customers—and to hungry families with a need for food but little or nothing to pay for it—she developed a large, loyal following and made numerous friends. In those simple days, Sister Augustina always answered the telephone because it was always for her! Age finally forced her to retire as chief cook after the community moved to Virginia Dale in 1997, but she continued as the maker of the monastery's well known cookies for some years. When she could no longer do that, she took on the job of bagging altar breads for our altar bread distribution, work she was doing until very shortly before her death at the age of 94!  

Sister Augustina's long career of feeding others began not only with the nuns and guests of the monastery in Boulder, but also with the squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, skunks, and a very old neighboring dog named Limbertroll, who limped over every day from the farm next door and parked himself outside the kitchen window until food appeared—which it always did!  Sister Augustina  never stopped trying to feed others. At community meals, she would take whatever food she had been served and immediately  offer it to every Sister who sat near her until we persuaded her that we really did have enough to eat and this was for her. Only then would she eat her meal.

Surely the Lord, who, in the Scriptures, placed a high value on bread, welcomed her with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"


Funeral Arrangements

The funeral Mass for Sister Augustina will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, October 14 in the Abbey Church, followed by burial in the Abbey cemetery. Light refreshments will be served in the Abbey guest dining room afterwards.
Seating in the Abbey Church is very limited, so it would help us very much if you could drop us an e-mail at abbey@walburga.org or call us at 970-472-0612 to let us know if you are planning to come to the Mass and if you'd like to stay for refreshments. 

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Pictured above: Sister Augustina holds her profession candle after making her Solemn Profession, displays a tray of her famous bread, and poses with Sister Maria-Josepha.