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News and Events

Ora et Labora and “Playora”
June 28, 2017

Pray—work—play—was the way Sister Valerie Luckey, novice, explained her time at NADI, the Novice and Director’s Institute she attended with Novice Director, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, as part of her novitiate program. NADI provides an opportunity for all the novices and directors in Benedictine communities across the nation to gather together for a formative experience. This year it was held at Our Lady of Grace monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana.

The seven novices and directors had the chance to explore some essential elements of the Benedictine monastic way of life while...

Edible Beauty
June 28, 2017

Beauty is brought into the Emmaus Soup Kitchen in many different ways. The most recent is artistically designed cookies.

“I call the cookies I make ‘Kid Cookies’ because I know the children will enjoy the different designs,” said Joe Orinko, a member of St. Jude Church who bakes cookies with all sorts of special designs each month for the Emmaus Soup Kitchen guests. This month, he made cookies that looked like KFC chicken legs.

Joe sees his cookie making as a hobby. “It takes about 10-15 minutes to design each cookie. And typically I have to let the first coat of frosting dry...

Congratulations to Sister Phyllis Schleicher on a job well done
June 26, 2017

Two and a half years ago Sister Phyllis Schleicher accepted the invitation to chair the Bishop’s Faith Formation Task Force for the Erie Diocese which, according to Bishop Persico, is at the heart of the diocesan effort to develop and implement a strategic plan to transmit faith into the future through pastoral planning. Sister Phyllis and the nine member of the task force have worked tirelessly to prepare recommendations that would encompass a broader understanding of faith formation. “The mission of this particular task force was to determine how to improve our faith formation delivery...

Benedictine Ministries Collaborate
June 23, 2017

During the summer, students enrolled in a day program at the Inner-City Neighborhood Art House are welcomed to a free lunch at the Kids Cafe. Both ministries are run by the Erie Benedictine Sisters but often the Art House and Kids Cafe cater to different children in the neighborhood.

“I’ve been going to the Art House since I was seven,” a young child said while eating her sloppy-joe sandwich, orange slices and celery. “But I have never been to the Kids Cafe to eat before today!” Then looking around, she said, “I like...

Will you join us in signing the pledge?
June 20, 2017

June 18, 2017 marked the 2 year anniversary of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common home, Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on ecology that calls all people to uphold our responsibility to care for the environment. In commemoration of this anniversary the Global Catholic Climate Movement has launched its new Laudato Si’ pledge.

The pledge is being signed by Catholics around the world to say we will work to be more carbon neutral in our own lives and to encourage our international leaders to take climate action now. We need an urgent and holistic response...

Northwest Pennsylvania 2-1-1
June 19, 2017

There are all sorts of emergencies that we are prone to call 9-1-1 for: fires, accidents, urgent health issues. But who does one call for basic human need crises—like a lack of food and shelter?

Pennsylvania recently began a 2-1-1 national call center initiative that, according to their website, PA211NW.org, “seeks to provide an easy-to-remember telephone number, chat, text, and a web resource for finding health and human services – for everyday needs and in crisis situations.” All one needs to do is call or text the number 2-1-1 or visit the...

New video highlights Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program
June 16, 2017


The Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program invites women to explore their life questions by living with our monastic community for 6-12 months. Since the program began in 2000, nearly 20 women from around the U.S. as well as England, Mexico and Australia have shared life with us as “Rieppers,” our familiar term for these live-in seekers.

Two past participants, Joanne Cahill and Alyssa Harpst, are featured...

Special Visit from ICM Scholarship Recipients
June 15, 2017

In 2016 Inter-Church Ministries of Erie (ICM) established a “Moral Leadership Award” in the name of Sister Mary Louis Eichenlaub to honor her 20 years of service on the ICM board. As Diane Edwards, ICM Executive Director said so well: “Sister Mary Louis is an example of dedication and commitment. It is with great gratitude that we honor her in this most meaningful way.”

The award, established in conjunction with ICM’s 40th Anniversary (1975-2015), provides educational scholarships to graduating high school seniors who have...

Brown Bag Lunches for Emmaus Guests
June 14, 2017

What does golfing and making brown bag lunches for complete strangers have in common?

“You know how you feel out on the golf course?” Marcia Frisina asked her husband, Dominic.

“Yes,” he replied. “I feel wonderful.”

“Well,” Marcia continued, “that’s how I feel when I’m preparing food for the guests at Emmaus Soup Kitchen.”

Because of this, she and Dominic made 137 brown lunch bags filled with PB&J sandwiches, carrots, celery sticks, pretzels, and candy for Emmaus Soup Kitchen guests.

Pictured: Marcia and Dominic Frisina with their donation.

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Shaped by the end you live for
June 13, 2017

What a gem! If you ever have the opportunity to hear and experience Bonnie Bowman Thurston, poet, author and theologian, be sure to grab it. Bonnie, with the eye of the scholar and the heart of a poet, led the community’s annual retreat which was held this year from June 5-10. The theme, Thomas Merton on Monastic life: “Shaped by the end you live for” could not have been more fitting and Bonnie could not have been a better retreat leader.

Bonnie Thurston, a Merton Scholar and the founding member and a past president of the International Merton Society, as well as a New Testament...

Gifts of a Scarred Soul eRetreat
June 12, 2017

Who hasn’t experienced a struggle that seemed insurmountable? A brokenness of soul that seemed crushing? Each of us has stories of pain and grief, depression and despair, hopelessness and sorrow. Some of them we survived well. Some of them we didn’t.

Joan Chittister will provide tools to help you analyze your own stories of struggle in this eRetreat at Spirituality & Practice. She will suggest the gifts that each struggle can give as you move toward hope and transformation. "Most of us live everyday between struggle and hope," she writes, "and the way we deal with struggle has...

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