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St. Walburga Retablo Gifted to St. Scholastica Monastery

St. Walburga Retablo by Nicolas R. Otero 2017 gifted to the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago by Oblate Seth Alexander on December 8, 2018.

Oblate Seth Alexander has a great devotion to St. Walburga, and in 2017 commissioned a New Mexico based artist, Nicolas R. Otero, to prepare for his home a retablo (devotional painting) of the Saint. Seth said, “I was introduced to St. Walburga by a friend while I was in college, and I found her story -- particularly the miraculous oil -- to be really fascinating. During a serious illness a few years ago, I wrote to the Benedictine Sisters in Virginia Dale, Colorado, for some of the oil and they sent a vial of it to me. I had no idea that there was a connection between our community and St. Walburga until I was introduced to the Sisters by Nicole Sotelo (former Communications Coordinator) and was shown the Walburga shrine a few years ago.”

After prayerfully hosting the retablo in his own home for a year, Seth decided that others should benefit from this great Saint so he decided to gift the retablo to our community. He did so on Dec. 8 during the Oblate Advent Day of Reflection at St. Scholastica Monastery. In mid-afternoon in the community dining room many of the Sisters came for a visit, joining the Oblates for coffee and cookies. During that time Seth presented the retablo to Prioress Sister Judith Murphy, OSB. On behalf of the community, Sister Judith thanked him for this generous gift. She also spoke briefly about the St. Walburga shrine in our St. Scholastica Chapel, located on the left as you enter. There is a modern mural on the wall of the shrine. On the altar there is a notebook with information and pictures depicting the history of and the changes in the shrine over the years. Additionally, Sister Judith spoke about the oil of St. Walburga. In Eichstätt, Germany the oil slowly flows underneath St. Walburga’ s stone sarcophagus at specific times of the year, entirely independent of atmospheric conditions. This liquid (which is pure, colorless and tasteless is referred to as ‘oil’ because of its healing qualities) has over centuries brought special benefits, especially for children, but also both healing and great peace to people of all ages. You may view the St. Walburga retablo now being displayed outside Sister Judith's office on the main floor of the Monastery on your way into the St. Scholastica Chapel.

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