About the Benedictine Sisters of Erie

Corporate Commitment

A corporate commitment is a vision or goal that we agree to promote as a community and as individuals no matter where we are or in how many diverse ministries we might be engaged. The corporate commitment of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie is:

As Benedictine Sisters of Erie we commit ourselves to be a healing presence and prophetic witness for peace by working for sustainability and justice, especially for women and children.

Charism Statement

A charism is a particular way in which people respond to God's call. A community’s charism embodies the way the members carry out their mission and ministries. The Benedictine charism is:

The Benedictine way is to seek God in the communal life and to respond in prayer and ministry.

Common Life

Community

Life as a Benedictine Sister of Erie is centered in community, following the Rule of St. Benedict under the guidance of the Prioress. We are vowed in the Catholic tradition promising with perpetual vows: stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life and obedience. A commitment to the common good and respect for each other support us in our search for God and nurture the bonds of community.

Prayer and Liturgy

As Benedictine women, prayer is central to our monastic life. The community gathers three times a day for the Liturgy of the Hours, the basis of our communal prayer. The festive marking of Sunday, along with the great feasts and seasons of the liturgical year, includes the celebration of Eucharist as well. Daily lectio divina, occasional reconciliation services, and various annual events complete the community’s liturgical life.

Ongoing Formation

How does one keep fresh and alive the energy and joy of responding to one’s call to monastic life? The community’s commitment to continuing education – to our On-going Formation Program – is one way. This program is implemented through a series of regularly scheduled community meetings. The meetings focus on areas that will aid in our growth and development as human persons and monastic women in church and society.

Ministry

Ministry is an integral part of monastic life. Inspired by the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict we respond to the needs of God’s people. We steward the gifts, talents and skills that have been given to us and extend them through service. Community and non-community ministries alike provide the opportunity for meaningful work that is consistent with our monastic commitment to glorify God in all things.

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Community Life

May Date set for Postulant Jen's entrance into the Novitiate

On the day before Hosannas were set to ring out on Passion (Palm) Sunday, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie were sneaking in a resounding alleluia to affirm Postulant Jen Frazer’s request to move forward and enter the novitiate. After a community...

Postulant Jen teaches Still Life Art Class

Like everyone, the Erie Benedictines are making the best of the stay-at-home mandate. Our horarium (daily routine) continues; we gather for prayer and meals keeping physical distance but remaining social in the best of ways. A monastic rhythm...

St. Benedict Education Center: Work continues....from home

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that all schools would be closed, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This directive was received late Friday afternoon, March 13th and required an immediate response at...

Friends helping friends, businesses helping nonprofits

What happens when you mention to a friend that the monastery is running low on sanitizer that is on back order? Your friend has a friend and low and behold, a need is met—thanks to Mazza Vineyards...

No Place to Go

“What’s hardest for us is that we can’t engage them (soup kitchen guests) in conversation and ask how they are,” explained Sister Mary Miller in an article that appeared in the Erie Times-News on the plight of the homeless during the pandemic....

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Community History

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie trace their beginnings to the Benedictine nuns at St. Walburg Abbey in Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany, founded in 1035. Sisters from there first came to St. Marys, PA in 1852 to educate the children of the newly arrived German immigrants.

On June 21, 1856 Mother Benedicta Riepp and five sisters from St. Marys arrived in Erie at the request of the Erie bishop. Sister Scholastic Burkhard was appointed first superior by Mother Benedicta thus establishing the first community of women religious in the Erie area.

In 1859 three sisters from Erie were sent to Covington, KY to begin a community and in 1861 three more traveled to Chicago to establish another community. Both communities continue today. Read more