Sister Marlene Bertke: A woman of justice

Sister Marlene Bertke, OSB, came to Erie in 1973 to be part of Pax Center for peace and justice, and later transferred from the Benedictine Sisters in Covington, Ky., to the Erie Benedictine community. She co-founded national Benedictines for Peace (BFP) and served as director of Erie Benedictines for Peace for 23 years in addition to other ministry: teaching at St. Benedict’s Academy, Erie, Pa., followed by ministry at Pax Christi USA, the Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM), and teaching English as a Second Language. She participated in protective accompaniment delegations to communities at risk during U.S. funded wars which took her to Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Chiapas, Mexico. On her return, she shared her experiences and advocated for change in U.S. policy. She was one of the originators of the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage, Take Back the Site vigils and monthly First Friday vigils for peace, an end to the death penalty, and justice for immigrants. Sister Marlene was named an Erie Times-News Person of the Year in 2016 for her peace and justice work.