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

CAC Recognizes Sister Pat Lupo for 26 Years of Service

The Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has recognized Sister Pat Lupo for 26 years of dedicated service. Pat has served on...

Peebles Store: 30 Days of Giving Benefits Emmaus Ministries

"30 Days of Giving" started on September 12 and continues through October 12 thanks to Peebles Store in Erie. All customers who visit Peebles will be invited to donate to Emmaus Ministries. As a special thank you, customers who make a donation...

2015 Joan Chittister Calendar Now Available

The unique 2015 Joan Chittister Calendar is the best of two worlds — the penetrating insights of Joan Chittister and the playful, but profound, style of Brother Mickey — a living witness that we are "children of the universe, dust of the stars,...

Uphold me, O God

Sisters in community, oblates, family members and friends witnessed the moment that sums up faithfulness to the monastic way of life when the golden jubilarians (Sisters Mary Miller, Helen Heher, Christine Kosin, Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski and...

Jubilee Day Dawns

Today is Jubilee Day for five Benedictines: (L to R) Sisters Christine Kosin, Mary Miller, Marian Wehler, Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski and Helen Heher will renew their monastic vows during a festive Evening Prayer for community members, family and...


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