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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What are you looking for? Maybe you'll find an answer in this short video.

Meet former Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program participants Alyssa Harpst and Joanne Cahill in this short video. Both women continue to nurture their Benedictine hearts after their live-in monastic experience concluded. Joanne, who was an oblate and benefactor before moving into the monastery to participate in the program, continues to travel to Erie each month to spend a long weekend with the community. Alyssa, who became an oblate after moving out of the monastery, lives in Erie and works in a community ministry. Many community members celebrated with Alyssa when she and Josh married a couple years later. The couple is part of the weekly worshiping community at Mount St. Benedict.

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.