Benedictine nuns make their home on the range

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May 12, 2015

Sister Maria Walburga Schortemeyer, ranch manager, is pictured with a cow on a ranch in late March at the Abbey of St. Walburga 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 photo/Jim West) See NUNS-RANCHERS May 12, 2015.

Sister Maria Walburga Schortemeyer, ranch manager, is pictured with a cow on a ranch in late March at the Abbey of St. Walburga 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 photo/Jim West)

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 isolated foothills of the Rocky Mountains, almost within shouting distance of the Wyoming border.

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