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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See our Guest Accommodations Page to schedule a visit.

Community Life

Silent Peace Walk at Emmaus Grove

It was fitting that the Silent Peace Walk in May, sponsored by Benedictines for Peace, took place in a garden, a reminder of new beginnings and new life. Emmaus Grove: The Erie...

Memorial Day: Seek Peace and Pursue It

In our remembrance of the women and men who throughout history have given their very lives for the sake of justice, peace and freedom, we are challenged to do what we can to work for these same values. As Benedictines, we embrace a motto of...

Update #1 from Sister Dianne Sabol

We started an eight week long Adapted Sports Program at St. Benedict Community Center on February 21. It featured wheelchair basketball—a sport played by people with different levels of...

Sister Joan Chittister to appear on “Super Soul Sunday” with Oprah Winfrey (OWN)

Air date: Sunday, May 26, 11:00 a.m. ET/PT

In this episode of "Super Soul Sunday," Oprah Winfrey talks with author and activist Sister Joan Chittister to discuss her newest book, The Time Is Now: A Call For Uncommon...

From Potter and McKean Counties: SBEC Donors Outside Erie

Catholic Rural Ministry in the Erie Catholic Diocese covers 13 churches and seven pastors in Potter and McKean counties. Sister Phyllis Schleicher,OSB, and Sister Mary Hoffman,OSB, are a compassionate presence in the entire area, working at...

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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