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News and Events

Why Bread Baking as 'Art as Meditation'?
September 30, 2016

“When I was a youngster, every Sunday after mass we would stop at a local bakery,” shared Sister Karen Oprenchok, novice. “On the way there I would rehearse my line. As we approached the store my mother would put a dollar in my hand and remind me to get the change. When the car stopped I would jump out, run inside, and proclaim to the clerk ‘One loaf of light rye, sliced, please.’ The bread was still warm enough when we got home that the butter melted into every crevice.”

With this memory in mind Sister Karen began a four week stint as a baker. Art as Meditation allows...

AIM Board Gathers at Mount Saint Benedict
September 29, 2016

Sister Theresa Zoky, Executive Director of AIM USA (Alliance for International Monasticism) hosted the annual meeting of the AIM Board of Trustees at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery with the help of her staff, Sisters Therese Glass and Ann Hoffman. Sister Anne Wambach, prioress, was also in attendance. “It is always a pleasure to welcome these dedicated monastics into our home,” said Sister Anne. “We are enriched by their presence and their commitment to assisting missionary monasteries throughout the world.”

The Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM USA) is an organization of...

Congratulations to the Newlyweds
September 26, 2016

Several sisters and oblates were able to attend the wedding of Alyssa Harpst and Josh Kissell over the weekend. Alyssa participated in the Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program after graduating from Canisius College.

Following her year as a "Riepper" Alyssa took up residence in Erie and began working at St. Benedict Child Development Center where she is now lead teacher in the infant room.


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 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...