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

Ice Cream Sundaes at Emmaus ─ an Annual Event

Ice cream sundaes were on the menu at Emmaus Soup Kitchen because it was Martha Hilbert’s annual Ice Cream Sundae Day. “It’s my birthday gift from my son, John and family-my daughter-in-law Nancy and grandchildren Johnny, Tim and Olivia,”...

Blessing of Ministries

As part of their annual August community days the Benedictine Sisters of Erie offered their ministry commitment to Sister Anne Wambach, prioress. On their commitment papers the sisters list their particular ministries and also define the ways...

Sisters and Oblate Attend Climate Action Rally

Sister Pat Lupo (left) and Claire Marie Surmik (right), along with Oblate Janice Etchison recently attended the Climate Action Rally in Pittsburgh to voice their support for a national standard to reduce carbon pollution. “The Environmental...

Emmaus Monthly Anniversary Drawing Continues

What's for lunch? If you are soup kitchen guests Frank and Kelvin, lunch could be a foot-long sandwich from SUBWAY.

Frank and Kelvin are the winners of the Soup Kitchen’s 40th Anniversary monthly drawing. Each received $20.00 gift cards...

"Wow Factor" in Artwork by NAH Children

If you want to see some amazing art work this "exhibit" is for you! Slide after slide will reveal the talent of the students of the Neighborhood Art House (NAH) and all that they accomplished in Summer Session 2014. “It’s thrilling to experience...


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