Bristow, VA


Benedictine Sisters of Virginia
August 5-10, 2018

The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia are a vibrant monastic community of women who have served the people of Virginia for nearly 150 years and who are the backbone of Saint Gertrude High School. With the Rule of Benedict and the Gospel as their guide, the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia (BSV) follow a 1500-year-old tradition. Benedictine life is centered on three core doctrines:

  • Living in community;
  • Daily individual prayer and communal prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours; and
  • Service to others.

Since 1901, the monastery in Bristow, VA, has served as the motherhouse of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia. However, the sisters’ service to Catholic families in the commonwealth can be traced back to 1868—the year they came to Richmond, Virginia from St. Marys, Pennsylvania. When the Sisters first arrived in Virginia, their primary work was educating young students, and they began with teaching the children of German immigrants in Richmond. Later, they expanded their educational ministry 100 miles north with the establishment of a girls’ school in Bristow.

In addition to living and praying with the Sisters during the program, students had the opportunity to learn, support, and serve their ministries. The focus of the ministries is on helping our most vulnerable populations become self-sufficient and productive. Students experienced working with some or all of the following:

  • Linton Hall School, a pre-K through 8th grade Catholic school for girls and boys
  • The Place of Peace Columbarium
  • BARN Community Housing, which provides housing and support programs for families facing homelessness (photo, bottom right)
  • BEACON, an adult literacy program focuses on helping low-income immigrants learn English (photo, top right)
  • Benedictine Pastoral Center, which offers workshops and spiritual direction to help individuals deepen their personal relationships with God

“Spending a week helping and giving back with the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia was truly an eye opening experience. Attending Saint Gertrude introduced me to a few of the Sisters, but the week spent with them was more than just a introduction. Although, I do not want to become a nun, this experience opened my eyes to see the good each and every Sister does for the community. They are just normal people with a calling to serve a greater good. These 29 Sisters have touched my life in more ways than one. I can’t thank them enough for welcoming me into their home this summer and giving me a school that I was proud to graduate from.” – Madison Schmidt ’17