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News and Events

A story can make a difference
May 24, 2017

About 50 people came together for the Benedictines for Peace (BFP) Speaker Series held at Mount St. Benedict on May 22. “I have found that telling my story helps me and helps others,” said Leonard Shelton as he began to share about his PTSD diagnosis and his ongoing struggle to put the pieces of his life together. Shelton is a veteran who served in the army at the age of 17 for three years before enlisting in the Marine Corps as an infantryman where he spent the next 20 years. He was a drill instructor and served in combat and admitted that he was never the same after that. “Lives change...

Villa Outreach Day
May 23, 2017

A group of 12 students from Villa Maria Academy made 20 lasagnas for Emmaus Ministries on their annual Outreach Day. About 1,000 Prep and Villa students, teachers, administrators, and staff members participated in the Outreach Day.

Last year, students from Prep made lasagnas for the Soup Kitchen and it went over well so the young women from Villa decided to take it over this year.

“It was an easy choice for the students to make lasagna,” said Fr. Mike DeMartinis, the coordinator of Outreach Day at Villa Maria Academy and Cathedral Preparatory School, “because the Emmaus cooks...

Sister Marilyn Schauble Sings with the North East Choral Club
May 23, 2017

"Sing Together" was the theme of the annual spring concert presented by the North East Choral Club (NECC) at Park United Methodist Church on Sunday, May 21. Sister Marilyn Schauble, a member of the group, shared: "I so enjoy being part of this group; we work hard and learn a lot. Sharing our music with others in a concert like this is an opportunity to show how music can be inspirational and nuture harmony among all peoples."

This year’s presentation included a guest performance by a men’s chorus formed for the event. In addition the men joined the women’s chorus for the selections...

Bringing Beauty to the Area
May 22, 2017

Emmaus Soup Kitchen’s backyard neighbor, the Neighborhood Art House, now features a vertical garden, called a Green Wall.

The vertical garden was implemented by the Green Team, a group of students at the Art House led by Sister Pat Lupo, and thanks to a grant from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

“We planted tomatoes, onions, strawberries, beans, and more in the vertical garden,” said one of the Green Team students. “Soon we will be able to try all the vegetables that grow here.”

“One hope is that our...

Women in Transition Continued
May 18, 2017

“When it became necessary for Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski, long-time organizer and leader of spiritual programs, to curtail some of her activities, I was sad and anxious, and distressed that the Women in Transition program would need to be discontinued,” shared Beth Sammartino Blood. “Then I remembered Sister Joan Chittister’s wisdom: ‘This is not a time for despair but for action.’”

To that end, Beth, a faithful participant in Sister Carolyn’s programs and retreats for more than 10 years began Women in Transition Continued. She invited Becky Spudich, Oblate, to help her...

A Mother’s Day Event: Defend Mother Earth!
May 17, 2017

Sisters Pat Lupo, Lucia and Claire Surmik, Oblate Janice Etchison, Sarah Everett, Elliot Dale and Sam Miller took part in "The Barrel Battle at the Border," a demonstration against fracking. In an effort to acknowledge Mother Earth and the suffering that is hers, it was held on Mother’s Day. The Erie group from Our Water, Our Air, Our Rights joined anti-fracking activists from Butler, PA to face off against Ohio anti-fracking groups from Youngstown and Ashtabula in a mock battle at the border over accepting fracking waste...

Carol Zinn, SSJ: Religious Life for the Life of the World
May 16, 2017

"Religious life is always a radical response to the Gospel in a particular historical and cultural context," said Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ, PhD, in her presentation to the women religious of the Diocese of Erie who gathered at Mount St. Benedict Monastery on Saturday, May 13 at the invitation of Bishop Lawrence Persico. "When the history and cultural context shifts, guess what's right behind it? The expression of religious life shifts to match it. Today's women religious are in a process of transformation—a chrysalis, like a caterpillar transforming to a butterfly."

Sister Carol, a...

Emmaus Grove: The Growing Season Begins
May 15, 2017

“It’s not too early to plant some of our vegetables so today we’re planting leeks,” said Mike Bailey, master gardener and coordinator at Emmaus Grove: The Erie Urban Farm School. “We already have our potatoes, onions, beans, and radishes in the ground. And our garlic is growing so well from last fall!”

The other coordinator and co-founder of Emmaus Grove, Ellen DiPlacido, eagerly talked about the ongoing activities in the garden. Every third Saturday of the month the garden is open for neighbors to come in and learn gardening techniques and best practices. She recently scheduled a...

What a Tail!
May 12, 2017

Sister Lucia Surmik received an Honorable Mention award in the Senior Art Show sponsored by the Independent Council on Aging (ICA) for her photograph, “What a Tail!” The event, hosted by the Mercy Hilltop Center, was open to both professional and amateur artists 55 years and older. “It is always exciting to have your work recognized,” said Sister Lucia, “especially in the midst of so much talent and such varied media.” On May 16 the show will move to Alta Cucino where it will be on display from 5-8:30 p.m. The mission of ICA is “to...

Religious Sisters' Erie County/Erie City Election Survey on Climate Change
May 10, 2017

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas sent out a survey to 42 candidates running for Mayor and City Council in the city of Erie, PA and County Executive and County Council in the County of Erie, PA. The survey focused solely on climate change. “We did not see or hear where this issue was being addressed and felt it was very relevant, especially with its relationship to the poor, as expressed in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’,” said Marlene Trambley, Committee for Alternative Resource Energy (...

A Braided Life
May 9, 2017

Oblate Carol Vaccariello was featured in the pilot issue of Braided Way, a magazine that celebrates the diversity of the world’s faith traditions. The publication aims to support an individual’s spiritual development, while influencing the larger culture toward inter-spiritual and inter-religious understanding, acceptance and engagement. The article, “A Braided Life,” unfolds Carol’s unique spiritual journey. Access the magazine here.