• The Abbey of St. Walburga

    Through the Years

  • St_Benedict_copy.jpg

    We trace our origins to the early nuns and monks of the Middle Eastern deserts, who sought to live the Gospel of Christ wholeheartedly. St. Benedict (480-543) distilled his Rule from this living tradition for those who gathered around him seeking a way of life that would lead them to God. The Rule caught the tenor of the western monastic spirit so effectively that it gradually displaced older Rules to become the most widely observed of monastic rules in Europe and, through the missionary outreach of Benedictine women and men, spread to other parts of the world as well.

  • Eichstatt.jpg Our patroness, St.Walburga (710-779) herself participated in the missionary thrust that carried Benedictine monasticism from the flourishing monasteries of Anglo-Saxon England to the continent. Her relics and memory are preserved today at the Abbey of St. Walburg in Eichstätt, Bavaria, which was founded in 1035 to care for her shrine.

    founders.jpg In 1935, three sisters were sent from Eichstätt to a then-remote farm in Boulder, Colorado. Times were troubled in Germany. Hitler's rise to power cast the shadow of threat over all religious foundations. Ironically, the Abbey of St. Walburg was itself thriving to such an extent that it could no longer house its growing population of nuns. 
  • Abbess_Benedicta.jpg For both reasons, Abbess Benedicta von Spiegel chose to make several foundations in the English-speaking world: one in Minster, England, one in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, one in Canyon City, Colorado, and one in Boulder. They would serve both as a potential refuge for the nuns of Eichstätt and an outlet for the burgeoning community at St. Walburg as it outgrew its buildings. 


    hard_work.jpg The first nuns built a strong foundation for the future by their hard work, their grinding poverty, and their unshakeable faith in God's providence.

    independence.jpg In 1986, Abbess Franziska Kloos, OSB, who, as abbess of the Abbey of St. Walburg in Eichstätt was still the superior of the Convent of St. Walburga in Boulder, granted the Boulder community its independence from the motherhouse. We remain a member community of the Federation of Bavarian Monasteries of Nuns, with strong ties of gratitude and affection to our motherhouse, but we are now an autonomous house.
  •  1986-MMTH.jpg In 1989, at the recommendation of Abbess Franziska and of the Most Rev. Francis J. Stafford, then Archbishop of Denver, the Holy See raised the community to the status of abbey.  On May 16, 1989, we elected Mother Maria-Thomas Beil as our first abbess.

    community-1992.jpg As the numbers continued to grow, however, we too began to outgrow our buildings. By 1992, it was clear that we needed more workspace and larger living quarters in order to continue to accept new members. As we considered various options for expansion, we realized that our Boulder location, by this time on a busy highway and surrounded by subdivisions, was not the right place to build a new monastery.
  • Virginia_Dale_view.jpg So, in 1997, after five years of planning, discussion, and preparation, our community relocated to our present site in Virginia Dale, Colorado, on land donated to us by a generous Denver businessman and his wife.

  • modulars-prayers.jpg We lived, prayed and worked in a small monastery of modular buildings for two and a half years, while the infrastructure and the first phase of the permanent Abbey building were being constructed.
  • chapel_dedication.jpg On October 22, 1997, we sang the Te Deum, the Church's great song of thanksgiving to God, for the first time in our new Abbey. The new Abbey Church and monastery were blessed by Most Rev. Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, on November 7, 1999
  • staff.jpg 2003 was another year of change. In May, Mother Maria-Thomas Beil resigned from her office as Abbess. She continues to serve our community with the many gifts she has, particularly through writings on the monastic life and the Rule of St. Benedict.
  • mmm.jpg On July 17, 2003, we elected Mother Maria Michael Newe as our new abbess. She received her abbatial blessing in the Abbey Church on September 6, 2003, which marks her installation into the office. She continues to serve us today with much joy.
  • We will never be able to express sufficiently our gratitude to the many people, some known to us, some known only to God, who have helped us throughout the years to continue our lives of prayer and service to God and the Church.


To view the full text of our history (not in slideshow mode), please click here.