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Notes from a Western Life
Ranging Far and Wide on the High Plains and Beyond
Linda M. Hasselstrom's Blog

The Abbey of Saint Walburga

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Thanks to Sister Hildegard Dubnick, a Benedictine nun of the Abbey of Saint Walburga in Virginia Dale, CO, I receive the Abbey newsletter, Auris cordis, “ear of the heart.”

Sr. Hildegard wrote in Crazy Woman Creek of one if her first experiences in the Abbey, the touching and humorous, “A Couple of Nights Before Christmas.”

In the latest issue, Sr. Hildegard has written about the abbey’s efforts to produce as much of its own food as possible in “All is safely gathered in,/ ere the winter storms begin.” This article, too, shows her characteristic gentle humor.

The Abbey raises beef, consumed regularly. “Each cow or steer,” she writes, “has, of course, a liver, and a pretty big one at that. We can only eat so much beef liver, since nuns, like everyone else, can be divided into two classes: those who will eat it, and those who truly cannot choke it down.”

So: “if life gives you liver, make liverwurst. Experiments in the kitchen have produced a most excellent liverwurst that now appears at supper regularly.”

The Abbey also keeps chickens, bees, apples, tomatoes, and makes use of herbs such as stinging nettle, yarrow, horsetail and other herbs. Sr. Hildegard remarks that although the Abbey gave away hundreds of canning jars before relocating, “canning jars seldom die; they just keep moving from one attic or basement to another.”

Finally, she encourages everyone to grow a little food of their own, even if it’s just some basil or parsley seeds in a pot on the windowsill.

I’ll be sending the newsletter to my co-editors of the Wind Anthologies because we’ve never met Sr. Hildegard and the newsletter includes a photograph of her canning produce.


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For more information:

The Abbey Wish List includes these items: ground coffee (regular), cereal, powdered milk, canned tomatoes and fish, honey, bathroom tissue, fragrance-free laundry detergent, potting soil, 16%-protein layer pellets for the chickens, battery powered wall clocks and vintage (not plastic) jewelry and rosaries. Contact the Abbey to contribute these or other items. You can read about the life of a nun, or learn more about the Abbey’s schedule of group and individual retreats on their website.

Abbey of St. Walburga
Benedictine Nuns
1029 Benedictine Way
Virginia Dale, CO 80536-7633

visit the Abbey of St. Walburga website

Read about the western women’s books co-edited by Linda, including Crazy Woman Creek which includes the story by Sister Hildegard Dubnick, on the Wind Anthologies Page of this website.

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