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

Annual Benedictine-Benetwood Dinner

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie had the pleasure of welcoming their neighbors from Benetwood Apartments for what has become an annual event: Evening Prayer and dinner ─ a simple celebration of friendship, faith, food and fun.

“This is one...

Panel presentation at Mercyhurst University celebrates Year of Consecrated Life designated by Pope Francis

“Why did you enter religious life?” was the first question Erie Benedictine Sister Charlotte Anne Zalot answered as she began her presentation, held this week at Mercyhurst University’s panel discussion “Religious Life: Crossroads or Crisis,” in...

Morning Fire at Emmaus Soup Kitchen

“My heart is broken,” said Sister Mary Miller, Director of Emmaus Ministries, upon reaching Emmaus Soup Kitchen to find flames and smoke pouring from the rooftop and front of the building. “Who will feed our guests today?”

A fire was...

Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith

This intimate biography of Joan Chittister is beautifully written by prize-winning journalist and National Catholic Reporter editor-at-large Tom Roberts.

“I love the stellar witness of this woman! A more faithful, authentic, sustained...

The Impact of Trauma on Students

"What works for students who have not been traumatized does not work for traumatized students, and that is what I want to help you understand and learn to implement in your classrooms," said Sister Ann Muczynski who recently completed a set of...


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