Benedictine nuns make their home on the range

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Sister Maria Walburga Schortemeyer, ranch manager at the Abbey of St. Walburga, reaches out to a calf in a pasture near the abbey in Virginia Dale, Colo. Along with running the ranch, the community of 24 Benedictine nuns also maintains a retreat house for individuals and groups who wish to spend one or more days in prayer and contemplation. (CNS/Jim West) Sister Maria Walburga Schortemeyer, ranch manager at the Abbey of St. Walburga, reaches out to a calf in a pasture near the abbey in Virginia Dale, Colo. Along with running the ranch, the community of 24 Benedictine nuns also maintains a retreat house for individuals and groups who wish to spend one or more days in prayer and contemplation. (CNS/Jim West)

By Jim West Catholic News Service

VIRGINIA DALE, Colo. (CNS) — Sister Maria Walburga Schortemeyer is at home wading through the mud and manure of a barnyard in boots, work pants, a fleece jacket, and her white veil.

Minutes later, in the black-and-white habit of a Benedictine nun, she is equally at home singing psalms and praying the Divine Office in a chapel with other nuns.

Sister Maria Walburga is the ranch manager at the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale. The town sits in the arid and…

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