THE HISTORY OF
ST. BERNADETTE CATHOLIC MISSION
1978 – 2018
WITH EXCERPTS FROM THE NOTES OF SISTER MARLENE RUST, CDP
In October 1978, with the leadership and advice of Father Leo Lydon, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg, Bishop Joseph H. Hodges, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, purchased the Lewis residence, located near the school in Hedgesville, WV as a future presence for expansion of the Catholic community in Berkeley County. After renovation of the residence, Sister Marlene Rust of the Congregation of Divine Province took up residence in July 1980. Sister Marlene took a census of Catholics in the Hedgesville District and began meetings in her residence.
As a result of the census and the initial gatherings, Bishop Hodges felt more property for future development was required. With this came the purchase in 1981 by the Diocese of three contiguous properties on Main Street in Hedgesville. They were (from left to right below) the Country Kitchen Diner, the Albright residence and the Westenhaver-McKee Stonehouse.
Country Kitchen Diner and Allbright Residence
The Westenhaver-McKee house
The Westenhaver-McKee house, which dates to 1852, was renovated and first occupied by Sister Marlene during Lent of 1983. The log house on the Albright property was termite infested and was consequently demolished, as were other buildings, such as a barn. A two-car garage was erected in the fall of 1983. The Country Kitchen, purchased from the Catlett family, was renovated and used as a multi-purpose Center for liturgy, education and socials.