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

Women of Wisdom, Women of Hope: The Benedictine Sisters of Erie at ShriverReport.org!

When Maria Shriver launched The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink on January 15, in partnership with the Center for American Progress, Oblate Jo Clarke was listening. She heard the invitation to share stories of...

Emmaus Fortieth Anniversary Raffle Continues!

“Are you going to order one of Dominick’s famous meatball omelets?” asked Sister Mary Miller of Ronnie, one of the two winners of the Emmaus Soup Kitchen 40th anniversary monthly drawing. “Steak and eggs,” responded Ronnie without hesitation. “I...

Benedictine Art Show to Celebrate Women’s History Month

Sister Margaret Ann Pilewski, OSB, has announced the opening reception of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie Spring Art Show, Women See: Sunday, March 9, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in the Chapter 57 Gallery at Mount...

Take Back the Site Vigil for Erica Lynn Casto

A Take Back the Site Vigil will be held today, Thursday, February 27, for homicide victim, Erica Lynn Casto, who was shot and killed in a murder-suicide on February 15. The Benedictine Sisters of Erie and Oblates, the...

New at the Kids Cafe: Knitting Classes!

“I love your scarf,” said 9-year-old Tiffany to Jan Gehrlein, a volunteer at Emmaus Kids Cafe. “Where did you buy it?” When Jan answered, “I made it myself.” Tiffany’s response was immediate, “Can I make one too?” From that short conversation, a...

Preschool Olympics: Fun-tastic!

The preschool children at St. Benedict Child Development Center had an Olympic experience that they won't soon forget! Jen Robson, one of the Pre-K Counts teachers, planned and coordinated...


Community History

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie trace our beginning to the Benedictine nuns at St. Walburg Abbey in Eichstatt, Bavaria, founded in 1035. Ever responsive to the call of God to serve others, three nuns were sent to St. Marys, PA, in 1852 at the request of Father Boniface Wimmer, OSB, to educate the children of the newly arrived German immigrants.

In 1856, Mother Benedicta Riepp brought five Sisters to Erie from St. Marys to teach the children of German settlers, establishing the first community of women religious in the Erie area. Sister Scholastica Burkhard was appointed superior of the new community. In 1859, three Sisters were sent from Erie to Covington, KY,, to begin a new community and in 1861 three Erie sisters traveled to Chicago, IL, to establish a community there. Both monasteries continue to be centers of Benedictine spirituality, hospitality and service to this day.