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.


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Community Life

Postulant Requests Entrance into the Novitiate

“Having been in discernment this past year, I believe even more deeply now that this community is life-giving and enriching, challenging and supportive, informative and formative for me,” said Ann Michaud as she made the request to continue in...

Annual Clothing Drive Benefits Emmaus Ministries

“The cold weather is upon us... it is time to remember those less fortunate” read the announcement in the Saint Jude bulletin to publicize the annual parish winter clothing drive for Emmaus...

East Coast Benedictine Formation Conference

Sister Stephanie Schmidt, Formation Director, and the three women in initial monastic formation: Pat Witulski, Ann Michaud, and Dina Lauricella, recently traveled to Bristow, Virginia to participate in the East Coast Benedictine Formation...

Sisters Attend Peoples Climate March

Erie Benedictines Sisters Lucia and Marie Claire Surmik, long-time staff at Emmaus, attended the Peoples Climate March in New York City on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. Hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens marched through New York with 2,646...

Community Welcomes New Postulant

Dina Lauricella, a motorcycle safety instructor from Lusby, MD, began the postulancy in a ritual ceremony held on Sunday, October 12. Sister Marilyn Schauble, who as Vocation Director...


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