Christmas Appeal 2020: Light and Love

Dear Friend,
We are a people called to Rejoice, for unto us a Savior is born! There is much to be thankful for, and we are aware of the many people who provide hope to those around us. You, our faithful supporters, give strength and encouragement to the sisters and our extended community. Can you help us with a financial gift this Christmas? With your help we can continue to address the vital issues of poverty, the climate crisis, peace and justice, and the rights of the most vulnerable, particularly women and children, even during this pandemic.

Like you, our lives have changed in profound and challenging ways.

  • We miss our friends, oblates, and guests.
  • Our elder sisters can’t leave the monastery or have visitors.
  • We grieve our sisters who have died during this period without friends and family present at remembrance services.
  • We pray for the staggering number of people who have died due to this virus.
  • We worry about the long-term financial needs of our community.
  • We keep our inner-city ministries open, while making sure our staff, clients, volunteers, oblates, and sisters are safe.
  • And finally, I know we share the common anxiety and question — will life ever be “normal” again?

We face these immense challenges together, so if you can’t help right now we understand. However, if you can help with a financial gift towards our Christmas appeal we would be enormously grateful. Any gift, no matter how small or large, will be treasured and used well. Whether it’s $1 or $1000, we are grateful! Click here.

Christmas can be the most difficult time of the year to spend without family and friends. Between travel restrictions and social distancing, this year’s wonderful feast of peace, joy, and love may be like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. Why not reach out to a friend or family member with an alternative gift? It is a financial gift given to this community in honor or celebration of an important person in your life, or in memory of a deceased loved one. Not only is an alternative gift simple and meaningful, but also, for those who are concerned about going into stores, it’s a safe way to celebrate your loved ones while supporting the sisters. You can make a gift with a check or credit card. A special Christmas card will be sent to the person you are honoring, but it will not mention the amount of your gift. Click here for a form to fill out and return to Benedictine Sisters Development Office, 6101 East Lake Road, Erie, PA 16511 or click here for an online donation form.

Perhaps this year, because of the lack of holiday events, we’ll have extra time to reflect on what Christmas means to each of us. It’s a time when we look at all of the people in our lives and celebrate them. It’s the love of those closest to us and being Christmas for one another that will bring light and hope into our lives.

One way you can do this is to fill out and return the Star of Christmas Light (Click here for the star; print and mail to Benedictine Sisters Development Office, 6101 East Lake Road, Erie, PA 16511). We will hang it on a special Christmas tree in our gathering space just outside the chapel. You can dedicate your star for any reason and to anyone, including to thank someone who has supported you during this difficult time. You can thank a sister who taught you; remember someone special; celebrate the love of those closest to you; or just write your name on it. The stars will mean the world to our sisters, especially those who can’t get out or have visitors. You will truly be a part of our Christmas celebration. You don’t have to include a financial gift when you return the star, but if you can, we are grateful.

Our Community of sisters, oblates, friends, supporters, donors, staff, children, and families is a microcosm of a world where peace, acceptance, equality, and justice for all is possible. You are a true partner in this mission and together we can confront the present and future challenges that we may face, whatever they are.

May God’s light and love encircle you during this holy season and in the coming year.

Stephanie Schmidt, OSB, Prioress
and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie

P.S. Because of you we have hope. Your gift will help change the world one child, one neighborhood, one inequality eliminated, one injustice removed at a time. Thank you!