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

"Sisters still serve as needs change"

“We change ourselves to meet the needs of the times," Sister Anne Wambach, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, said. And thus begins the article, “Sisters still serve as needs change” that appears in the Erie Times-News. Dana Massing,...

2015's First Take Back the Site Vigil

The first Take Back the Site Vigil of 2015 was held for the last homicide victim of 2014. Jaree Robert Warren died on December 6, 2014 as a result of an act of violence. A large group of people gathered on January 22 at the corner of 18th and...

Benedictine Presence at the MLK March and Anti-Fracking Rally

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie and Oblates brought a presence to the community solidarity MLK March and memorial that took place on Martin Luther King, Jr Day in Erie. As part of the march there was a brief memorial and wreath-laying ceremony at...

Annual Recycling Benefits Emmaus

The Annual Christmas “Treecycling,” sponsored by Millcreek Township, was a great way to help Emmaus Ministries and the environment, too. For three hours on Saturday, Jan. 10, residents of Erie County recycled their Christmas trees at the Millfair...

Community Archivist “Retires” after Forty Years

The community gathered to pay tribute to Sister Janet Staab, community archivist, upon her retirement from this very important ministry. Sister Janet first served as the community chronicler before moving into the archivist position and did this...


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