Sister Bernice Klostermann

Sister Bernice Klostermann, with The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, sits in their prayer chapel in a cornfield next to Cedar Bluff Park in Columbia Friday June 30, 2017. The prayer chapel sits in the right-of-way of the Williams Partners pipeline.

On Palm Sunday last year, Adorers of the Blood of Christ near Columbia, held a prayer service at their cornfield chapel both to celebrate their 93rd anniversary and as a protest against the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline that crosses their land.

The event was one of many staged on the property since 2015 marking their opposition to the pipeline. The nuns have long worked the land and the cornfield chapel was erected as a way to symbolize their opposition to the Williams Co., which used eminent domain to acquire a right-of-way.

The protests, however, failed to sway  the U.S.  Supreme Court which, in February, declined to hear the nuns’ case, thus letting a lower court ruling stand to allow the pipeline.

In a statement at the time, the Adorers said they were “appalled that the federal government and a multi-billion dollar private gas company can so blatantly violate one of the country’s most cherished freedoms without any repercussions or remedy.”

This week, The New Yorker magazine picked up the story, focusing on the nuns’ protests and on the work of Lancaster activists’ Mark and Malinda Clatterbuck, who started the group Lancaster Against Pipelines.

Titled “The Renegade Nuns who Took on a Pipeline,” writer Eliza Griswold noted that despite losing their fight in the courts, the nuns were proud of the stand they took.

Sister Bernice Klostermann told Griswold that they were not just fighting for themselves but “for the future.”

She said their battle made people think about the issue and may have changed peoples’ minds.

During Lent, the sisters have asked people to reflect on Pope Francis’ call to protect the environment in his second encyclical “Laudato Si” and to pray for people living in poverty who are most affected by climate change.

They also are not done making statements about the environment. The Adorers said they are considering building a solar farm on the property.

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