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News and Events

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)

ABA Art Show
June 20, 2018

The American Benedictine Academy’s (ABA) convention is being held this summer, July 19-22, 2018. This biennial convention focuses on a theme relevant to the Benedictine heritage. The theme for the 2018 convention is “Artisans of the Monastery.” There was a call for actual and digital artwork. Sister Margaret Ann Pilewski submitted two photos, both of which were taken in the monastery chapel. These lovely photos will be on display during the convention which is being hosted by St. Benedict’s Monastery, Saint Joseph, MN....

Off to a great start
June 19, 2018

The first annual Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality is off to a wonderful start. Yesterday morning began with a conversation with Sister Joan, her biographer, Tom Roberts, and 9 eager and enthusiastic participants.

The subject of this year’s program is “A Feminist Benedictine Option,” and the discussions will focus on monasticism and women through the lens of Sister Joan’s work. Sister Joan says monasticism “is as much a way of seeing and working and living as it is a way of praying. It is a spiritual vision that affects a person’s whole style...

Parables and the Reign of God
June 16, 2018

“Retreat 2018 is now a memory but the richness of the content will live on for a long time to come,” said Sister Mary Ellen Plumb, ongoing formation committee member.

For the past week the community has benefitted from the wisdom of Abbot John Klassen who came to the Mount to be the community’s retreat director. The topic: Parables and the Reign of God.

When Jesus came to proclaim the reign of God, he frequently used parables as a means to draw his listeners into his message. Through the parables Jesus was calling people to a new vision of God. According to Abbot John, “As...

Erie's Poor People's Campaign
June 14, 2018

A group of about 160 took part in Erie’s revival of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign to challenge systemic racism and poverty on the 50th anniversary of the original campaign which was inspired by a speech made by the Rev. Martin Luther King a few days before he was killed in 1968. Benedictines for Peace (BFP) was a co-sponsor of the event and a number of BFP members were able to participate. The public came together to challenge the structures that make Erie the most unequal city in the country for black...