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News and Events

Sister Mary Jane Vergotz, CIB secretary, meets Pope Francis
September 24, 2016

“Meeting Pope Francis personally was a moment I will never forget . . . the compassionate smile that filled his face as he moved among us touched my heart,” said Sister Mary Jane Vergotz who was in Europe with the International Organization of Benedictine Women (Communio Internationales Benedictinarum [CIB]) for the 2016 Conference Meeting. Sister Mary Jane serves as CIB secretary. The conference was held in Assisi (August 31-September 5) and from there the group traveled to Rome for the...

Benetwood Apartments celebrates 35 years
September 20, 2016

Benetwood is much more than a 75-unit apartment building subsidized by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) for low-income elderly and/or mobility-challenged individuals. Sister Pat Hause, administrator, says: "Benetwood is home. Benetwood is community." This year that home and that community celebrate 35 years of existence. "Over the years Benetwood has earned and is a well-respected property," explained Sister Pat. "I know we are glad that HUD accepted the third application our sisters submitted back in 1980 which started the work and the eventual opening of Benetwood...

Community Welcomes Two Young Women
September 20, 2016

Jessica Chan Varguez, a 24-year-old oblate from Merida, Mexico, celebrated her entrance into the Benedicta Riepp program on September 19. During the simple ceremony Jessica expressed her desire to live monastic life with the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for a period of her life’s journey: “I seek to journey with this community and live monastic life with you for a period of my life.” With the affirmation and support of the community Jessica pronounced and signed her statement of promise in the presence of Sister Anne...

Noted Zen Buddhist Monk Visits the Mount
September 19, 2016

“I am very excited for the great opportunity to meet this holy man who has dedicated his life to help others learn how mindfulness and compassion can transform our lives,” said Sister Ann Muczynski in her invitation to the sisters and oblates for an informal gathering at the monastery with Claude AnShin Thomas. Claude, a Vietnam War combat Veteran who became a Zen monk and peace activist, was in town for speaking engagements at Allegheny College and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of...

The Wisdom of Our Elders, an interfaith special featuring Sister Joan Chittister, to be broadcast Sept. 18, 2016 on CBS
September 16, 2016

The CBS Religion & Culture show, The Wisdom of Our Elders, that features Sister Joan Chittister will begin airing on CBS affiliate stations. This Sunday, September 18, WSEE Erie will broadcast the program at 8:00 AM. It will also exist online Sunday afternoon at www.cbsnews.com/religionandculture. The show's air dates and times for CBS affiliate stations who have picked up the show are posted on the CBS Facebook page.

Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B...

Share a Flower benefits Emmaus Ministries thanks to Larese Floral Design
September 15, 2016

Why has Carl Larese, owner of Larese Floral Design, hosted a benefit for Emmaus Soup Kitchen for 14 consecutive years? Why is he still enthused about Good Neighbor Day where he gives a bouquet of 12 flowers to anyone who donates paper products or non-perishable food items to the kitchen and asks donors to keep one flower for themselves and share the remaining 11 stems with neighbors?

Let Carl tell you why: “Ethan, age 3, came to the shop with his babysitter, Debbie, to drop off a donation and to pick up a bouquet. While they...

Meet Darlene Reid: SBEC participant
September 14, 2016

Darlene Reid’s story in the past few years is one of great personal loss. She resigned from her work in health care to look after her mother who eventually passed away. Shortly after that, her stepmother died as well. Both women were an important and loving presence in her life and in the lives of her two children. Starting over was not easy, yet Darlene found both the support and the tools she needed at SBEC in Meadville, one of five locations in Northwestern PA where SBEC offers job search programs.

Despite such setbacks, Darlene took on-line classes for a Medical Assistant...

S.O.N.S. offer fish fry at Emmaus
September 13, 2016

The S.O.N.S. (Save Our Native Species) of Lake Erie signed up two new members to its organization while hosting its annual fish fry at Emmaus Soup Kitchen. Both Sister Mary Miller, director of Emmaus Ministries, and Rita Scrimenti, Emmaus social worker, signed on the dotted line. “This fish fry is such a treat for our guest and S.O.N.S. is not only an impacting environmental group, but they are a lot of fun,” said Sister Mary. “Becoming a member is an honor.” Fresh Lake Erie perch, walleye, and pollock were served to over 200 men, women and children. About 20 members of...

The Journey continues for Sister Valerie Luckey, Novice
September 11, 2016

“I ask that I may continue to seek God through sharing the monastic life with this Benedictine community,” responded Valerie Luckey during the Rite of Entrance into the Novitiate which took place during Evening Prayer on Saturday, September 10. Val lived as a postulant for the past year and decided to take the step to begin the next phase of initial formation.

Sister Anne Wambach, prioress, shared reflections on the Gospel of Sunday (Luke 5: 1-10) as part of the ceremony. She was struck by a line that showed up...

Remembering 9/11
September 11, 2016

As we remember the heartbreaking events of 9/11, a tragedy that changed the world forever, we humbly turn to God in whom we place our hope and trust and renew our prayer for peace and nonviolence.

May my mind think no harm.
May my lips speak no harm.
May my hands do no harm.
May the children of tomorrow
bless the work I offer.

─Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB

Ice Cream Social at Emmaus Soup Kitchen
September 10, 2016

One birthday gift that Martha Hillbert, Emmaus board member and volunteer, never tires of is the ice cream sundae treat served at the soup kitchen in her honor. One of her son’s families, John and Nancy Hilbert family, have hosted and served the annual treat of Connie’s ice-cream with “all the fixins” for five consecutive years. This year Martha’s granddaughter, Olivia, brought her two best friends—Rachel Brugger and Maureen Wilson, Juniors at Villa Maria Academy who have been friends since kindergarten—to help prepare and serve the summer special.

Photo: (L-R) Rachel Brugger,...

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