Sister Sue Freitag accepts last minute ticket entries.

Benedictine Sisters Annual Draw Fundraiser

July 13, 2021

Seven lucky people learned last Sunday that they were winners in the Benedictine Sisters 2021 Annual Draw Fundraiser. Patricia Dobrowolski Popovich, the very happy $2,000 grand prize winner, immediately said her winnings would go to help support her grandchildren's Catholic education. "All our children when to Catholic schools," Patricia said. "And now all our grandchildren are in Catholic schools and this prize money will go toward their tuition. We love Catholic education!" Patricia herself is a graduate of St. Benedict Academy. Other prize winners were Carol Dean, Erie PA; Mr & Mrs Ralph Kelch, Franklin PA; Kathryn Grebner, Rapid City SD; Karen Prizinsky, Erie PA; Carol Daub, Erie PA; Kim Curry, Sharon PA. Above, Sister Sue Freitag accepts last minute ticket entries.

Sister Mary Lou Kownacki reads poetry.

Sister Mary Lou: Spirit of Justice

July 13, 2021

Author Joyce Rupp includes Erie Benedictine Mary Lou Kownacki as one of the "365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation" in her book, Fragments of Your Ancient Name. The book draws from a wide variety of inspirational sources to heighten awareness of the many names of God around the world. Joyce offers ten-line poetic meditations on each, with "Spirit of Justice" being the name Mary Lou inspired in her.

Above, Sister Mary Lou at a poetry reading.


Feast of St. Benedict

Feast of St. Benedict

July 11, 2021

A monastic heart creates in us
the awareness that everything we do,
everyone we touch, is an anthem,
an alleluia, to the work of God in us.
—Joan Chittister

Happy Feast Day!

Listen to Sister Stephanie's reflections:

Take Back the Site July 7, 2021

Take Back the Site Prayer Vigil for Casey James Nadolny

July 8, 2021

A Take Back the Site prayer vigil took place at the site of the March 23 murder of Casey James Nadolny. Sisters of Saint Joseph, Sisters of Mercy, Benedictines Sisters, and members of the community joined in prayer on July 7 at the intersection of Zimmerly Road and Zuck Road. The vigil was live-streamed, click the link below to pray along with the recorded Take Back the Site Vigil.


St. Benedict Education Center, formerly St. Benedict Academy, on East 10th Street

Erie County Community College to lease space at SBEC

July 2, 2021

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie are pleased to announce that they will lease space in the St. Benedict Education Center (SBEC) building to the Erie County Community College (ECCC) of Pennsylvania. “This opportunity to support ECCC is in alignment with our commitment to inner-city Erie,” said Sister Stephanie Schmidt, Prioress. “Our foremothers arrived in Erie in 1856 with the intention of educating the children of immigrants and this effort is simply a continuation of our commitment to educating those who might otherwise not have such an opportunity.”


Take Back the Site July 7, 2021

Take Back the Site Prayer Vigil Wednesday, July 7, 2021

July 1, 2021

Join the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Northwest Pennsylvania, the Sisters of Mercy, and the Benedictines Sisters of Erie in prayer at a Take Back the Site prayer vigil for Casey James Nadolny (killed on March 23, 2021). The prayer vigil will be held Wednesday, July 7, 2021, at 5:15 p.m. at the intersection of Zimmerly and Zuck Roads (near Country Fair). Masks will be required at this vigil. To watch the prayer vigil live on Facebook, please visit the Benedictines for Peace Facebook page.


Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey talks with Breanna Mekuly as he helps prepare lunch at Kids Cafe

Senator Casey visits Emmaus Kids Cafe

June 30, 2021

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey visited Emmaus Ministries' Kids Cafe on June 30 to launch his Five Freedoms for American Children Plan and to visit with children who depend on the meals they receive at the Kids Cafe for basic food security. "There is food insecurity in Erie," explained Kids Cafe Coordinator Breanna Mekuly. "We have families who aren't certain when they will have a next meal. When a child arrives crabby, I ask them when they ate last. Sometimes, they haven't eaten since the last meal they had with us."


The Mount Magazine, Summer 2021

The Mount Magazine, Summer 2021

June 28, 2021

Features in the summer 2021 issue of The Mount include: Songs of Lament and Hope; Raising Holy Sparks, our call to Tikkun; Care for the Earth and the History of Trees; Food Insecurity in Erie; and Brothers and Sisters in Humanity. This is the issue where you'll find short biographies of our eight 2021 jubilations of 25, 60 and 70 years. We remember our sisters who have died since the last issue, we hear from our oblates and share our COVID lockdown photo album. As always, we are grateful to include the SBA Alum newsletter.



The Story of Plastic

Eliminating single-use plastics

June 25, 2021

At a recent "house meeting" of the sisters who live at the monastery (about 60 sisters live at the monastery on East Lake Road, the others live in small groups in the city of Erie and one in Oil City), we renewed our commitment to greatly reduce and eventually eliminate some single use plastic and paper products. Sister Annette Marshall, representing the Care for the Earth Committee, began by showing a short, five-minute, animated video, "The Story of Plastic," from The Story of Stuff Project.


Ryan, Rowan, Shae, and Adam, Mercyhurst Prep students who offer service hours

Mercyhurst Prep students offer service hours

June 22, 2021

Four student-athletes at Mercyhurst Preparatory School earned service hours—and the immense gratitude of the Benedictine Sisters—on June 18, when they spent the day at Glinodo, doing landscaping work to benefit the saplings that were planted in May. Over 250 small trees are growing at Glinodo, part of the ReLEAF program which aims to plant one tree for every person in Erie County. About 110 saplings can be found along the length of the creek, and the rest forming a nursery, in four long rows, at the top of one of the hills.


Take Back the Site June 21, 2021

Take Back the Site Prayer Vigil for Mauris Pacley and Jason Wells

June 18, 2021

A Take Back the Site prayer vigil took place at the site of the March 3 murder of Mauris Pacley and Jason Wells. Benedictine Sisters of Erie and Oblates; the Sisters of St. Joseph, Agrégées, and Associates; Sisters of Mercy and Associates; and members of the community joined in prayer on Monday, June 21, 2021, at 5:15 pm at Bogey's Tavern, 2105 Buffalo Road. The physical vigil was also live-streamed on Facebook on the Benedictines for Peace Facebook page. Click the link below to pray along with the recorded Take Back the Site Vigil.


Sponsor Our Golf Tournament

June 17, 2021

The 2021 Benedictine Sisters Golf Tournament will take place on Monday, August 16. There are still $1,000, $500, and $250 sponsorships available if you would like to support this fundraiser.


 Sister Stephanie Schmidt and Fr. Jim Piszker anoint Sister Placida Anheuser

Women of the Word

June 12, 2021

Sister Barbara Reid, OP, president of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, led the Benedictine Sisters' annual community retreat June 7-12 via Zoom. One of the leading scholars in feminist interpretation of the Scriptures, Sister Barbara built her retreat reflections on "Women of the Word." Sisters and oblates reflected on stories of Biblical women like Elizabeth, Anna, Mary, the mother of Jesus, the woman from Samaria, Martha and Mary, and Mary Magdalene. During retreat the community celebrated the Anointing of the Sick. Here, prioress Sister Stephanie Schmidt and Fr. Jim Piszker anoint Sister Placida Anheuser.

Peace Walk outside Neighborhood Art House

Benedictines for Peace will host a Silent Peace Walk Tuesday, June 15

June 8, 2021

Benedictines for Peace (BFP) will host a Silent Peace Walk on Tuesday, June 15 from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm at Perry Square (West of State Street at South Park Row). For over a year, BFP has encouraged Silent Peace Walks by individuals wherever they could at a coordinated time each month. With the new COVID guidelines, we are able to advertise and hold an outdoor event.

This simple public prayer, step-by-step, is a powerful nonviolent tool to bring peace, beginning with one’s own heart, to our families, our communities, our nation, our world, and to all of creation.


Virtual Take Back the Site Vigil

Virtual Take Back the Site Vigil

June 3, 2021

The Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Mercy and Benedictine Sisters of Erie held a virtual Take Back the Site Vigil for victims of homicides in Erie during the last months of 2020. The 20-minute prayer service video remembers the four victims who died in Erie during the last months of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic: Dayquan Holloway, September 27; Jeremy Jones, October 13; Frederick Perry, October 21; Kasir Gambill, December 5. In 2020, there were 11 victims of homicides remembered in Take Back the Site Vigils in Erie, compared to nine for 2019. Over 140 people in Erie and Millcreek have been remembered in prayer since the Take Back the Site prayer vigils began in November 1999.

Being Benedictine in the 21st Century

Being Benedictine in the 21st Century

June 2, 2021

A total of 20 Erie Benedictine sisters, oblates and friends joined 200 other Benedictine seekers connected to more than 50 monasteries around the country for the Being Benedictine in the 21st Century Conference and Conversation last weekend, May 28-30. Erie Benedictine Linda Romey, whose dream to have such a conversation came to fruition with the event, explained, “Sometimes it’s simply a matter of following one’s heart. I was fortunate that the other people I asked to help pull this off shared my dream.” Sister Joan Chittister presented the keynote address for those gathered on Zoom.


Alliance for International Monasticism

Alliance for International Monasticism

June 1, 2021

A new issue of the US Secretariat of the Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM USA) newsletter is available in PDF format. Erie Benedictine Sister Ann Hoffman is AIM USA's executive director. She writes, "the encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, reflected through the lens of the Rule of St. Benedict, challenges us." This issue features reflections on "A Benedictine Reponse to Fratelli Tutti" from monastic men and women around the globe.


New Thursday Workshops at Art House

New Workshops at Art House

June 1, 2021

Each September the Inner-city Neighborhood Art House hosts one of its major fundraisers, Taste of the Arts. "Because of the pandemic and the children's limited access to classes, we don't have the quantity of small art items to offer our Taste of the Arts patrons," said Sister Annette Marshall, executive director. "Some of our teachers have come up with an innovative way to increase the amount of student artwork available and, at the same time, to offer new art experiences for the children.” Sarah Everett, Program Assistant, reports that, “these children are excited about these extra opportunities and glad to be able to ‘give back’ in this way.” Taste of the Arts is important not only because it shares the Art House mission of putting beauty in the lives of inner-city children with the larger Erie community, it also helps us keep our programming free for inner-city children.