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News and Events

Fresh Produce: Tomato Plants donated to Emmaus
July 12, 2018

“I heard about the Emmaus Food Pantry and called up to see if they would like vegetable plants,” said Bonnie Leamer who runs the B & R Greenhouse in North East, PA. “I figure the more people are able to do for themselves,” like growing their own food at home, “the better off they are.”

Bonnie brought 40 flats of organic tomato plants to be shared with guests of the Emmaus Food Pantry and plans to bring another 40 or more this coming week.

This summer, food pantry guests are also receiving fresh produce...

Visit Chapter 57 Online Store: Featured Artist Jackie Burns, Oblate
July 12, 2018

Check out our online Chapter 57 store where this month we are highlighting the work of Oblate Jackie Burns. Jackie, an ordained Episcopal deacon and a prison chaplain, is offering a selection of hand-crafted jewelry with a Benedictine touch. There are also a limited number of "Forgiveness Bowls."

Every item is unique and made with special care―view the selections, read more about Jackie and place your order here.

Celebrating the Feast of Benedict
July 11, 2018

In the Benedictine Calendar of Saints, Benedict of Nursia is celebrated as the founder of Western Monasticism on July 11. He provided a Rule which establishes a way of life rooted in the Gospel and grounded in the scriptural principles of charity, humility, stability, and faithfulness.
Benedict's Rule is all about love:it teaches that everything is a holy endeavor; it points to Christ. “Prefer nothing to the love of Christ” sums it up perfectly.

As Benedictines, preferring nothing to the love of Christ is how we seek God in our prayer life, in our community living and in our...

Erie City Officials visit Emmaus Ministries
July 10, 2018

“I like this,” said Kathy Wyrosdick, Erie City Planner, while she looked around Emmaus Soup Kitchen. “I like how it feels like a house.”

The City Planner, Kathy, asked to visit Emmaus’ ministries to better learn about community efforts in the “East Bayfront neighborhood.” Kathy is helping to implement the Erie Refocus Plan, the goal of which is to strengthen neighborhoods by first understanding the needs and how needs are being addressed in each neighborhood and then working to further develop effective responses.

“We know that community meetings aren’t always the best way to...

Special Invitation to Sister Joan Chittister from the Shriver Family
July 9, 2018

Sister Joan Chittister has been invited to participate in a ceremony honoring her friend, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. A permanent Flame of Hope monument is being erected in Chicago on July 26, the location of the first international games in 1968. Prior to that event, the Kennedy family is lighting the eternal flame from the rays of the sun at the home of Joseph P. Kennedy home in Hyannis Port and then transporting it to Chicago. Sister Joan has been invited to participate in the intimate Hyannis...

The power of reminiscence therapy
July 6, 2018

Dwelling in the past used to be considered a sign of senility, but reminiscing can be an important and therapeutic aspect of aging. “Today we honor Sister Mary Bernadette Ladner,” explained Mary Rita Grocutt, Director of Health Services at Mount St. Benedict monastery. “We will take time to reminisce with her about her life.”

A group of sisters was on hand to enjoy the event. Sister Mary Susan Hallstein had prepared a “Reminiscence Board” with the help of Sister Marcia Sigler; it was filled with stories and photos and tidbits about Sister Mary Bernadette’s life. By the end of the...

The Beauty of Iconography
July 5, 2018

Last month Sister Karen Oprenchok had the opportunity to pursue her interest in iconography by attending a week-long icon writing workshop at Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Sister Karen, a scholastic, studied with noted iconographer Phil Zimmerman before entering monastic life with the Erie Benedictines in 2014.

Sister Karen had this to say, “It was a wonderful experience. Knowing that Saint John the Baptist was the subject allowed me to study his life beforehand and enter into this richly contemplative experience with ease. It was a bonus that we...

July 4: Independence Day
July 3, 2018

July 4 gives Americans reason to celebrate. Gratitude for the gift of freedom will be marked with cookouts and family time, parades and parties. In the midst of this day on which we give thanks for our many blessings let us take time to reflect and pray; let us be renewed to continue the good work that was begun when America became an independent nation in 1776.

When the United States was young, its ideals high, its goals so blazing and brilliant in a world whose ideas had grown old and sclerotic, no effort to achieve them was too much, no failure fatal. Now freedom has new...

Erie community sends delegates to Federation Chapter
July 2, 2018

One of the many pieces that goes into making the Erie Benedictines who they are is membership in the Federation of St. Scholastica, a federation of 19 monasteries in the U.S. and Mexico. Every four years the Federation holds a General Chapter that brings delegates from each community together to reflect on and suggest direction for Benedictine community life.

This past June, the delegates elected by the Erie Benedictines, Stephanie Schmidt, Ann Muczynski, Linda Romey, and prioress Anne Wambach attended the...

Oblate Victor Rutkoski: It's Now or Never
June 27, 2018
Victor after completing the January 1, 2018 5K at Presque Isle State Park in Erie. The bitter cold, wind and snow did not stop Victor.

Age is just a number to Erie Benedictine Oblate Victor Rutkoski who began competitively running in 2017 at age 75. Early that year, after deciding it was “now or never,” he began his training. By the end of 2017 Victor had run seven races and he has already run more than ten races in 2018—including a January 1 race at Erie’s Presque Isle State Park in 20° weather with 15-20 mph winds.

“I’ve been amazed that I’m able to do this and want to keep running as long as I can,” Victor says. He gives much credit for this new-found passion to his daughter Rachel, an avid long-time runner. She...

Daisies and the Summer Solstice
June 21, 2018

Daisies are a sign of the summer solstice—the embodiment of summer. The name is Old English for “day’s eye” which signifies both the start of day and the beginning of summer. At night the petals close over the yellow center; they re-open during the day. Daisies have a knack of imbuing summer days with a light, fresh feeling. Clean and bright, the daisy is an icon for love. Happy and blessed summer!

“To The Daisy”

But now my own delights I make,
My thirst at every rill can slake,
And gladly Nature’s love partake
Of Thee, sweet Daisy! (William Wordsworth)