Is something tugging at your heart?
A desire for deeper meaning? ...for a new moment in life?

Explore your life questions by living with our monastic community for 6-12 months. In the Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program you will immerse yourself in a daily rhythm of • prayer • work • outreach to the marginalized • communal life • hospitality • peace and nonviolence.

About the Benedicta Riepp Program

Throughout history travelers and pilgrims have travelled to monasteries to refresh and revitalize. Some stayed but most moved on, returning to lives “in the world,” renewed by Benedictine spirituality and charged with transforming their local communities, working to create a more just and equitable and sustainable world.

No monastery is without guests and Mount Saint Benedict is no exception. In the year 2000, recognizing the monastic history of offering guests a longer, more structured immersion in Benedictine spirituality, the Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program began. It is named for the first Benedictine woman foundress in the United States and provides women the opportunity to deepen their spirituality and commitment to living the Gospel by sharing fully in community life for 6-12 months.

Women of all faiths who can make a major time commitment are eligible for the Benedicta Riepp Program. With the exception of canonical meetings, a woman in the program joins with the community for prayer, work, formation and other events.

Program Requirements

We welcome single women from any Christian tradition who are:

  • 21 years of age or older without dependents;
  • in good physical, emotional and mental health;
  • able to participate in 32 hours of ministry per week, daily communal prayer and meals, and household responsibilities;
  • willing to live a simple, celibate life for a period of time while living in community;
  • desiring to experience Benedictine monastic life;
  • seeking to deepen their relationship with God;
  • and open to a diversity of experiences.

Click to download a pdf brochure.

Contact Information

Sister Stephanie Schmidt

Sister Stephanie Schmidt, OSB
Formation Director
6101 East Lake Road
Erie, PA 16511
814-899-0614 ext. 2511

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Who is Benedicta Riepp?

Mother Benedicta Riepp (1825-1862) is the founder of Benedictine life for women in the Untied States. She came to the U.S. in 1852 with two other sisters, sent from their home, St. Walburg Abbey in Eichstatt, Bavaria, to teach German immigrants in St. Marys, PA. It was there that they established the first monastery for Benedictine women in the United States. Mother Benedicta Riepp brought the spirit of the Rule of Benedict that lives in our communities today. Read her story. The icon posted here depicts her holding in one hand her Eichstatt monastery and in the other the small cabin where she first lived in Saint Marys, PA. Also pictured is her grave marker at Saint Benedict's Monastery, Saint Cloud, MN, and a quote from the Rule of Benedict. The icon was written by Mary Charles McGough, OSB, Saint Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN.

Some Past Program Participants

Carrie Parsons

I enjoyed all the different classes offered to us this year. Scripture was very important to me as I've never really studied the Bible and until now had only read a little of it now and then. Classes on Benedictinism and the Liturgy of the Hours helped me to understand the world I found myself living and participating in this year.
—Carrie Parsons

Glory Piovarcy

I especially appreciated the manner in which the Liturgy of the Hours is prayed: with pauses. This helps me to slow down and be calm, to stay centered and mindful of the present moment. The classes and books I was given were just what I needed and the personal spirituality of the sisters was not only apparent but admirable.
—Glory Piovarcy

Alyssa Harpst

Living in community taught me alot about myself and others. I can no longer care only about myself because my actions can influence the entire community. I've learned to listen more and talk less. I've also learned that living in community means caring for and loving those around you.
—Alyssa Harpst

“Seeking a closer relationship with God, I was blessed with the gift of participating in this program. This group of strong, spirit-filled women allowed me to enjoy and contribute to their daily community lives of prayer, ministry and hospitality in the beautiful setting of Mount Saint Benedict Monastery.”

—Christine Lundt

I found daily living at the Monastery uncomplicated and soul-satisfying. When life brought its natural twists and turns, you knew regular scheduled communal prayer time was never far off, and most often would restore balance of mind, body and spirit. It was restful to the heart to live with a large group of women who loved, believed and lived Jesus.

—Judith Coscarelli

I was privileged to be in the Benedicta Riepp Program for three years. The program offers a daring invitation... The Benedictine Sisters are intentional and bold in prayer and in labors of love upholding those struggling to live. They are no less faithful in performing the daily chores that sustain a caring life together. Ummmm…Is God in the chapel today or in the cleaning cupboard? Answer: both, and in so many other unexpected places. Embodied by each community member in their own unique way, Benedict’s Rule provides a trellis for the vine to grow, for life to flow.

—Claire Creese

The Benedicta Riepp Program is a monumental life changing experience. Living with the sisters gave me the opportunity to grow in self awareness. Participating in the daily communal prayer life, liturgies and retreats deepened my spirituality and awoke within me a passion for peace and justice. I will always be grateful for the time I spent with these dedicated women.

—Jean Bhatti