Introducing the new Communications and Development Team

Introducing the new Communications and Development Team

“It was certainly not the way I envisioned bringing someone into our extended Benedictine family,” said Sister Linda Romey after welcoming Michelle Basista to her new position as Communications and Development Associate via Zoom on January 4. “But with the monastery under quarantine with active COVID cases, it was our only option.”

Annie Rosenthal came on board as a Communications and Development Associate in late November and had a few weeks’ working in person at the monastery before the December 24 quarantine began. Although social distancing and mask-wearing limited Annie’s opportunity to interact with the sisters, she was able to begin making connections. "The weeks before Christmas were an excellent time to get acquainted with the sisters and staff. It was a busy and wonderful time of year to begin learning the Benedictine traditions at the monastery," said Annie. "I look forward to continuing to meet members and friends of the Benedictine community while familiarizing myself with communications and development at the Mount."

Sister Linda was appointed Coordinator of Communications and Development in August by Sister Stephanie Schmidt who became prioress on August 15. As is often the case when a new prioress takes office, there were administrative changes. In August Sister Mary Jane Vergotz completed more than 20 years serving the community as Director of Development and Sister Charlotte Anne Zalot completed 10 years as Director of Communications.

At this transition time, Oblate Jo Clarke, who worked in the Development Office nearly 15 years, most recently as Director of Development Programs and Outreach, decided to leave her position the end of December. She will remain connected in other ways.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank Jo and Sisters Charlotte and Mary Jane. We would not be where we are today without their commitment to our Benedictine life and values,” said Sister Stephanie.

Prior to accepting her position with the Benedictine Sisters, Annie Rosenthal, a native of Erie, was the Public Relations Coordinator for Coordinated Care Services, Inc., Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.

Michelle Basista, also an Erie native, was most recently the Development Officer for the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania. “Before returning to Erie in 2018, I worked in various fundraising roles for the Sisters of St. Francis in Pittsburgh for almost 14 years,” she said. “I am so pleased to be working with sisters again and look forward to bringing my gifts and experience to help aid their mission, ministries and community needs.”

Sister Linda left the staff of Monasteries of the Heart and Benetvision to lead the Communications and Development team. Other team members are Oblate Ann Comstock, and Sisters Laura Beichner, Susan Freitag, and Irene Spacht.