Then
and
Now


...A Brief History

Benedictine Sisters in America

The first Benedictine women in the Americas, arrived in the United States in 1852 from Saint Walburga's Convent in Eichstatt, Bavaria, and settled in Saint Mary's, Pennsylvania. A house was opened in Newark, NJ, in 1857. Seven years later the Reverend Henry Lemke, pastor of Saint Michael's parish in Elizabeth, requested and received sisters of the Neward community to teach the predominantly German children of Saint Michael's. On September 29, 1864, three Benedictine Sisters, the first sisters of any community to live in the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, began classes for 72 children.



A Community in Elizabeth

In 1868, the Elizabeth sisters became an independent community and elected Sister Walburga Hock their first prioress. A year later the new community moved from Saint Michael's parish to a new Saint Walburga Convent built by Father Lemke on Magnolia avenue. In 1923 the community moved to its present site on North broad Street and is now known as Saint Walburga Monastery.

Mission and Ministry

The work of Saint Walburga Monastery expanded and changed from its original mission to German immigrants. At various points in its 130 year history the community has had mission houses in New Jersey, New York, Washington, DC, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ecuador. At present the community's ministry is located within New York and New Jersey. In a variety of ministries, the sisters have been rooted on community life under the Rule of Benedict and the Liturgy of the Hours.