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

Team Benedictine wins 7th Annual Women's Scramble

Women working together can be a force to be reckoned with. Whether it is working to provide food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless, striving to promote peace and justice and the ways of nonviolence, improving the environment one step at...

Bubble Fun Learning at Kids Cafe!

School may be over and summer vacation just begun, but for the children who attend Sister Gus’ Kids Cafe, Thursday is science day. “We are combining summer fun with simple science projects,” said Stephanie Taylor, Kids Cafe coordinator. “For our...

Sisters Attend Federation Chapter

From June 19-26, four Benedictine Sisters of Erie attended the Federation of Saint Scholastica* chapter meeting, hosted by Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kansas. Sister Anne Wambach, OSB attended as prioress and...

Hunger Issues for Seniors on Rise

Emmaus was featured on the front page of the Erie Times News on Monday, June 23, 2014 as part of a story on the increasing number of senior citizens at risk for hunger. Reporter Gerry Weiss interviewed Sister Claire Marie...

St. Benedict Community Center Hosts 13th Annual Partners in Dance Program

St. Benedict Community Center Hosts 13th Annual Partners in Dance Program

St. Benedict Community Center (SBCC) was the site of the 13th Annual Partners in Dance program presented by Erie Homes for Children and Adults (...


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