Injured Sr. Ludmilla aims to get back to serving the hungry


By Barb Arland-Fye

Sr. Benda

DAVENPORT — Sister Ludmilla Benda, RSM, has temporarily closed Father Conroy’s Vineyard of Hope while she undergoes physical and occupational therapy following a car-ped­es­trian accident May 31.
Sr. Benda, 86, an indefatigable advocate of the poor, suffered bumps to her head and a broken right leg when a car struck her as she walked across the street at the intersection of Third and Brady streets in Davenport.  She had just returned from dropping off groceries at the Vineyard of Hope and was walking toward her apartment after parking her car.
“I was going along the street and heard a thump; I didn’t know what was going on.” She remembers assuring the driver that she would be OK. But Sr. Benda couldn’t stand up. The driver called 911 and the emergency crew immobilized the injured nun, as a precaution.
She said a witness to the accident reported that Sr. Benda had been thrown onto the hood of the car after being struck and then she fell to the ground. She was taken to Genesis Medical Center, East Campus for treatment before being sent to Manor Care in north Davenport for rehabilitation.
Fortunately, the two large bumps on her head shrunk quickly, she had no headaches and no fractures to the neck. She did, however, break a bone in her right leg. “They can’t do surgery on it. It takes immobilization. It’s enough to keep me off my feet for a while,” she said by telephone from Manor Care.
She’s undergoing physical and occupational therapy. “I’m strengthening my muscles and my arms so I can hop,” she said. “Start learning to hop now,” she advised. “It’s hard to learn when you’re older!”
Her prayers these days are for her recovery and that the Vineyard of Hope guests find something to eat at noon on Sundays during her absence.
Because her volunteers are busy people who can’t necessarily take time off during the week to prepare for the Sunday noon meal, she suggested closing the meal site until she can return.
This is the second time in a few months Sr. Benda has been laid up. “I had a bowel re-section a few months ago. That didn’t hold me down very long.”
She’s hoping and praying that’s the case this time. “When I get out of here, I’ll be OK.”
Volunteers George and Sharon Meister have visited Sr. Benda several times since the accident.  “She is in good spirits and is of course worried about the Vineyard of Hope. It’s going to be closed again this week and possibly for another two or three weeks. If everything turns out alright for Sister, then it will probably be a couple of weeks I’m thinking,” George Meister said.
“Three or four of the less fortunate have visited her,” he added. Earlier this week, his wife took up a prayer shawl to Sister. “We keep her in our prayers. Prayer is powerful.”

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