Cheryl, Case Manager at SBEC

SBEC Annual Government Monitoring

December 22, 2021

Saint Benedict Education Center operates the EARN (Employment Advancement and Retention Network) program, a state-contracted program funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). It is designed to provide training, skill development, and employment opportunities to participants who are currently on TANF. Each year the government conducts an audit of the program.


Alliance for International Monasticism

Alliance for International Monasticism

December 21, 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. "Proclaim Glad Tidings to the Poor" is the theme and the newsletter features letters and pictures from monasteries around the world.


Mount St Benedict Monastery Erie PA

The rise of monasticism in a modern world

December 16, 2021

"Spiritual seekers and apostolic sisters reconnect with ancient contemplative traditions" is the subhead of a new Global Sisters Report posting. "Monastic traditions — including stability, silence, community, hospitality, love of learning, and continual growth, to name a few — are speaking to this moment, and those ranging from the nonreligious to apostolic Catholic sisters are listening," writes GSR columnist Soli Solgado. Soli interviewed a number of people for her column, including Erie Benedictine Sisters Joan Chittister and Linda Romey. Katie Gordon, who lives and works with the Erie Benedictines and is a coordinator for Nuns & Nones, was also interviewed.


Sister Cindy Hoover, center, greets volunteers Loretto and Pat.

SBEC Offers Positive Activities

December 15, 2021

Saint Benedict Education Center is committed to planning positive activities during a discouraging time. It is difficult to deny the fact that these are “discouraging times.” Because all of us — staff, participants, volunteers, and our families — have been touched by this pandemic we are committed to offering positive, life-giving opportunities that enrich our SBEC community. Most recently, we have experienced a Volunteer “Thank you” Event and a Coats and Boots Program.


Third Week of Advent

Third Week of Advent

December 13, 2021

Oblate Priscilla Richter offered reflections for the Vigil of the Third Sunday of Advent. The Gospel for Gaudete Sunday, gaudete meaning "rejoice," was Luke 3:10-18. We rejoice because the Christmas is near, the celebration of the birth of Jesus is fast approaching.

Listen to Priscilla's reflections:

Mother-daughter SBA Alum Carol Fischer Kuna, '56 and Anne Marie Kuna Shiel, '79

SBA Christmas alternative celebration

December 7, 2021

Santa's elves helped the St. Benedict Academy Alumnae Association raise more than $6,000 for scholarships to Catholic schools and for ministries of the Benedictine Sisters. "We really wanted to hold the annual Christmas party and dinner this year but once again decided it would be safer to offer an alternative. Hopefully next year we'll again have 400 of us gathered together celebrating Christmas and long-standing friendships," said Darlene Kerstetter, '82, co-chair of the SBA Board of Directors. Mother-daughter SBA Alum Carol Fischer Kuna, '56 and Anne Marie Kuna Shiel, '79 were among the early arrivals. Pictured here, they were featured in the new issue of The Mount magazine along with three other mother-daughter alum pairs. Read the story on pages 22-23, click here.

Emmaus guests receive donations from Erie Day School students

Emmaus guests receive donations from Erie Day School students

December 7, 2021

A group of students from Erie Day School recently delivered more than 100 bags of either food or hygiene products to Emmaus Soup Kitchen to be shared with Emmaus Guests. Abby Hartman, a teacher at Erie Day School and Student Council coordinator, said that “We talk a lot about being grateful for what we have and let the students know that not everyone has the things that we take for granted. This year, I could tell that some of the kids were really moved. They really got it, that some people won’t have anything to eat or anything warm to wear unless they get help. I always tell them, ‘to whom much has been given, much is expected.’”


Take Back the Site and Vigil for Immigration Reform

Take Back the Site and Vigil for Immigration Reform

December 4, 2021

Please join us for a Take Back the Site Vigil for Rhonda Glover on Thursday, December 9, 5:15 p.m., in the 600 block of East 13th Street in Erie [Facebook event HERE] and on Friday, December 10 for a Prayer Service for Immigrants: The Injustice of Title 42 from 4:30 -5:00 p.m. in Perry Square, State Street. This vigil is part of a national faith based action to end Title 42, a law which was designed to protect public health, and is now being used to allow authorities to expel all migrants at the border, without giving them a chance to apply for asylum. Additional information and action to take about ending Title 42 HERE.

New issue of The Mount

New issue of The Mount

December 4, 2021

Features in the winter 2021 issue of The Mount include: Peace Is Still Our Calling, an interview with Sister Mary Lou Kownacki; Bearing Witness to God, a reflection by guest columnist The Very Rev. Melinda Hall, and Making Room for God, stories of final and first professions. There is a short excerpt from Sister Joan Chittister's new book, The Monastic Heart: 50 Simple Practices for a Contemplative and Fulfilling Life. For the fun of it, there's a cut-out page to make an O'Antiphone "Zine." This issue's SBA Newsletter includes reflections by four sets of mother-daughter grads.



Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, carries the candle for the first week of Advent

First Week of Advent

November 30, 2021

Advent began at the monastery with the Vigil of the First Sunday of Advent on November 27. Prioress Sister Stephanie Schmidt entered the darkened chapel with the candle for the first week of Advent and blessed the wreath. Sister Colleen Leathley offered reflections on the gospel of Luke chapter 21 verses 25-28 and 34-36. Sister Mary Lou Kownacki will offer reflections for the second week of Advent, Oblate Priscilla Richter for the third week and Sister Margaret Ann Pilewski for the fourth week.

Listen to Sister Colleen's reflections:

Thanksgiving at Emmaus Soup Kitchen

Thanksgiving at Emmaus Soup Kitchen

November 24, 2021

A grandmother whose face mask was printed with the word “love,” a young dad who recently immigrated to the United States, and a man who was so tired he said he could hardly remember how to smile, all found themselves celebrating an early Thanksgiving dinner on November 18th, along with 268 other hungry residents of Erie who came to Emmaus Soup Kitchen. Emmaus coordinates with local other soup kitchens and food providers in the city, with each organization offering their Thanksgiving dinner on a different day. This ensures that everyone who may be experiencing hunger and poverty, everyone who has nowhere else to go on the holiday, at least has the opportunity to celebrate with a warm, hearty meal, made by someone who cares for them.


Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the Annointed One

Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the Annointed One

November 21, 2021

Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski offered reflections on the Cosmic Christ as part of the Liturgy of the Word on this solemnity. "It’s just about 40 years since the word "cosmos" entered into my consciousness along with "cosmology." Forty years ago I studied Creation Spirituality in Chicago, with Matt Fox and teachers like Hildegard of Bingen, Rosemary Reuther, who introduced me to the Feminine Face of God, and Brian Swimme, a cosmologist. Many years later, the Cosmic Christ terminology was an extension of my learnings," she explains in her introduction.

Final weekend

November 19, 2021

The Federation of St. Scholastica, to which the Erie Benedictines belong, is sponsoring an auction of 10 beautiful shawls made with prayerful hands and loving hearts by Sister Ana Cloughly, Colorado Springs, CO, and Sister Dolores Dean, Bristow, VA, to help support the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Federation next June. The auction ends MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15 AT 6:00 P.M., click here to see all the shawls. The celebration includes a colloquium, "Benedictine Life: A Vision Unfolding," open to women and men who are professed, oblates, or spiritual seekers. It will take place at Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, KS, June 21-24, 2022 and virtually. Registration will open soon.

Sisters who died during COVID remembered at funeral liturgy

Sisters who died during COVID remembered at funeral liturgy

November 18, 2021

After many months, more than a year and a half in some cases, the Erie Benedictines sang the Suscipe (Psalm 119:116) one final time for seven of their sisters who died during the time the monastery was closed due to COVID. The sisters sing the verse, "Uphold me, O God, according to your word and I shall live. And do not fail me in my hope," with special reverence at final profession, jubilees, and sisters' funerals. The community sang it one last time for Sister Kate Disbrow who died on May 7, 2020; Sister Carol Ann McLaughlin, June 4, 2020; Sister Anne McGreevy, June 13, 2020; Sister Jerome Eustace, June 27, 2020; Sister Mary Daniel Meahl, July 23, 2020; Sister Andrea Weidle, February 26, 2021; Sister Mary Bernadette Ladner, April 5, 2021. While each of the sisters was remembered during a Memory Service at the time of her death, and burial rites were held at the cemetery, the funeral liturgy was postponed until pandemic conditions were less threatening. A prayer honoring each sister and her full obituary are here >>>

Sister Karen Kosin, Robert Pape, Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski

Erie Benedictines helped shape political scientist

November 17, 2021

Robert Pape, a political scientist and professor at the University of Chicago, and "one of the world's foremost experts on strategic air power and terrorism studies," according to the Jefferson Educational Society, went to St. Mary's School in Erie. His sixth grade teacher was Sister Karen Kosin and his principal was Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski. He recently addressed the Jefferson Educational Society's Global Summit and the two sisters were in the audience. "After the talk when we took off our masks, he recognized us right away," said Sister Carolyn. "He got so excited he called the photographer over to take pictures." Pape was the 2021 Thomas B. Hagen Dignitas Award recipient, an award given to Erie citizens who have made a profound impact on society.

Blessing of new scholastics and directors: Sisters Annette Marshall, Jen Frazer, Pat Witulski, Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, Karen Kosin, Colleen Leathley.

Three sisters make first monastic profession

November 14, 2021

Sisters Jen Frazer, Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, and Colleen Leathley made their first monastic profession at Evening Praise on November 13. With first profession, they become scholastics and will spend the next three to six years focusing on the integration of prayer, community and ministry. The scholasticate is a time of discernment and preparation to enter a permanent covenant relationship with God and the sisters of the community.

Workforce Readiness Specialist Don Feeney shares information from Safe Journey

The PurpleOne Dot at SBEC

November 9, 2021

There is something new on the front door of Saint Benedict Education Center: A PurpleOne Dot. This dot indicates that SBEC is an approved organization that can offer immediate assistance to a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence statistics are readily available, yet they never fail to shock us.
—Every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten.
—Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women aged 15-44, more common than car accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined.
—1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
—20 people every minute experience physical violence by an intimate partner.
—2574 victims of domestic violence were served in one day in Pennsylvania last year. And 109 victims died.
—It has been estimated that at least 8 million children witness physical and verbal spousal abuse each year, including a range of behaviors from insults and hitting to fatal assaults with guns and knives.

Erie Benedictine Oblates

Virtual Oblate Gathering: For Everything There is a Season: Care for the Earth

November 3, 2021

Nearly 90 oblates gathered for the 2021 oblate gathering “For Everything There is a Season: Care for the Earth” that was grounded in the spirituality of Ecclesiastes 3 and attuned to the pressing needs of the day. Planning team Oblates Becky Spudich, Priscilla Richter, Mark Gorman, and Sandy Selby, worked with co-directors Sister Dianne Sabol and Oblate Joanne Cahill to plan what they initially hoped would be an in-person gathering at the monastery. A new oblate logo, designed by Oblate Jo Clarke, was introduced at the gathering.

Transcripts from Oblates Mark Gorman and Marlene Trambley's panel presentations and action ideas are available.