A group of Benedictine nuns appeared on a ‘Today’ show news report Feb. 15 highlighting their working cattle ranch and devout prayer life.
NBC News reporters interviewed the nuns at the secluded Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale about their natural beef operation, saying their work is “shattering stereotypes.”
“People are still sometimes surprised that women are running a ranch. But that nuns are doing it—I think people just don’t think that nuns do that kind of thing,” Sister Maria Walburga told a reporter on the Today show video. “But we find it a real complement to our spirituality.”
The Benedictine nuns, who follow the 6th-century tradition of St. Benedict, consider their primary work prayer, which they say is supported by their physical work. They pray the Divine Office seven times a day while also tending to household duties, a gift shop, retreat house, altar-bread business, and tending to cattle, llamas and other farm animals.
“We try very hard to run it in a very reverent way, that animals are treated with care,” said Sister Walburga, who is also the ranch manager.
The abbess, Mother Maria-Michael Newe, O.S.B., said the ranch business evolved.
“People asked us and pretty soon we decided, ‘Well, instead of just selling the cattle off, why don’t we raise them and sell the beef?’ Pretty soon we didn’t have anymore.”
The Today show reported the abbey produced 13,000 pounds of naturally-raised beef last year for 80 local families.
More than a business, Mother Newe said the farmer is a teacher.
“The farm teaches you you are not in control of any of it. It taught me a lot also about how to laugh and how to learn to let go,” she said.