About the Benedictine Sisters of Erie

Corporate Commitment

A corporate commitment is a vision or goal that we agree to promote as a community and as individuals no matter where we are or in how many diverse ministries we might be engaged. The corporate commitment of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie is:

As Benedictine Sisters of Erie we commit ourselves to be a healing presence and prophetic witness for peace by working for sustainability and justice, especially for women and children.

Charism Statement

A charism is a particular way in which people respond to God's call. A community’s charism embodies the way the members carry out their mission and ministries. The Benedictine charism is:

The Benedictine way is to seek God in the communal life and to respond in prayer and ministry.

Common Life

Community

Life as a Benedictine Sister of Erie is centered in community, following the Rule of St. Benedict under the guidance of the Prioress. We are vowed in the Catholic tradition promising with perpetual vows: stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life and obedience. A commitment to the common good and respect for each other support us in our search for God and nurture the bonds of community.

Prayer and Liturgy

As Benedictine women, prayer is central to our monastic life. The community gathers three times a day for the Liturgy of the Hours, the basis of our communal prayer. The festive marking of Sunday, along with the great feasts and seasons of the liturgical year, includes the celebration of Eucharist as well. Daily lectio divina, occasional reconciliation services, and various annual events complete the community’s liturgical life.

Ongoing Formation

How does one keep fresh and alive the energy and joy of responding to one’s call to monastic life? The community’s commitment to continuing education – to our On-going Formation Program – is one way. This program is implemented through a series of regularly scheduled community meetings. The meetings focus on areas that will aid in our growth and development as human persons and monastic women in church and society.

Ministry

Ministry is an integral part of monastic life. Inspired by the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict we respond to the needs of God’s people. We steward the gifts, talents and skills that have been given to us and extend them through service. Community and non-community ministries alike provide the opportunity for meaningful work that is consistent with our monastic commitment to glorify God in all things.

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Community Life

Why Bread Baking as 'Art as Meditation'?

“When I was a youngster, every Sunday after mass we would stop at a local bakery,” shared Sister Karen Oprenchok, novice. “On the way there I would rehearse my line. As we approached the store my mother would put a dollar in my hand and remind...

AIM Board Gathers at Mount Saint Benedict

Sister Theresa Zoky, Executive Director of AIM USA (Alliance for International Monasticism) hosted the annual meeting of the AIM Board of Trustees at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery with the help of her staff, Sisters Therese Glass and Ann Hoffman...

Joan Chittister Live Webinar: Women and Moral Leadership

“People get the leaders they deserve” is an old adage. But is it true? Join Joan Chittister for “Women and Moral Leadership,” a live-streamed webinar, as she articulates why church and society are locked in a leadership crisis in an era when we...

Congratulations to the Newlyweds

Several sisters and oblates were able to attend the wedding of Alyssa Harpst and Josh Kissell over the weekend. Alyssa participated in the Benedicta...

Sister Mary Jane Vergotz, CIB secretary, meets Pope Francis

“Meeting Pope Francis personally was a moment I will never forget . . . the compassionate smile that filled his face as he moved among us touched my heart,” said Sister Mary Jane Vergotz who was in Europe with the International Organization of...

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Community History

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie trace their beginnings to the Benedictine nuns at St. Walburg Abbey in Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany, founded in 1035. Sisters from there first came to St. Marys, PA in 1852 to educate the children of the newly arrived German immigrants.

On June 21, 1856 Mother Benedicta Riepp and five sisters from St. Marys arrived in Erie at the request of the Erie bishop. Sister Scholastic Burkhard was appointed first superior by Mother Benedicta thus establishing the first community of women religious in the Erie area.

In 1859 three sisters from Erie were sent to Covington, KY to begin a community and in 1861 three more traveled to Chicago to establish another community. Both communities continue today. Read more