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


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 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.


See our Guest Accommodations Page to schedule a visit.

Community Life

Great Growing Season

The growing season this year is overflowing abundance and two local greenhouses want the less fortunate to share in the produce. Bonnie Leamer of B&R Greenhouse and Janel Levin of Potratz Flowers delivered 70 flats of vegetable plants to the...

Breanna Mekuly reflects on her internship with Sister Joan Chittister

An article chronicling Breanna Mekuly’s journey as an intern with Sister Joan Chittister for 10 weeks this summer appeared in the monthly e-newsletter of Breanna’s former college, St. Norbert, Green Bay, WI.

Breanna writes, “Another...

Meet SBEC Program Participant: Heather Guldenshuh

At St. Benedict Education Center (SBEC), Heather Guldenshuh learned a valuable life lesson – to take one challenge at a time. “I don’t think I would have been able to get a job on my own. I wasn’t sure I could make it. I had a little one to take...

Gift to Emmaus and Neighborhood Art House

Mary Alice and Tom Doolin, recent recipients of the prestigious Edward C. Doll Community Service Award, remembered two ministries of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie when it came to selecting nonprofits to benefit from a $12,000 grant that...

NUNS on the Bus in Erie: Brief but Amazing

“NUNS on the Bus were in Erie less than 24 hours but their impact will last much longer,” said Sister Marlene Bertke, OSB, one of the sisters who helped organize the event. She welcomed the group to the monastery on Tuesday afternoon where...


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