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.

SCHEDULE A VISIT

See our Guest Accommodations Page to schedule a visit.

Community Life

Internship is life-changing experience for Princeton graduate student

Jacqueline Small, a Master of Divinity student at Princeton Theological Seminary, chose to spend her summer in a monastery—working with Joan Chittister and sharing life with the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. A summer internship is required of all...

The Closing of St. Mary's Church after 175 Years

Several Benedictine Sisters were among those who attended the final mass on the occasion of the closing of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Erie. “I have so much history here in this church,” said Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski. “...

2015 Employee Picnic on a Perfect Summer Day

It was a perfect summer day for the Employee Picnic. Employees and their families joined the sisters for the annual appreciation event. Food, fun and friendship were shared; games and swimming were enjoyed. “Our employees are very special...

48 Programs and Counting

Since 2001 Benedictine Sisters Mary Hoffman and Phyllis Schleicher have sponsored spirituality programs for the women of the rural area of the Diocese of Erie as part of their Catholic Rural Ministry (CRM). "One of the goals of CRM is to nurture...

Sherry Lyons, Murder Victim, Remembered at TBTS

More than 150 people gathered. Sherry Lyons was remembered. Sisters, friends and neighbors joined together. Prayer. Holy Ground....

Pages

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