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In Memoriam: Sister Audrey Berdis, OSB

Headshot of Sister Audrey Berdis.

Sister Audrey Berdis, OSB
December 18, 1940 - January 26, 2015

Gracious and Loving God,
you have called to yourself our sister, Audrey,
a seeker with a contemplative spirit and open heart.

Audrey danced through life
and delighted in your presence.
She recognized you in people and places,
and found you in friendships and fun.
She knew contentment in the routine of the daily
and joy in the surprise of unexpected pleasures.

Her life was full:
engagement in ministry enlivened her,
time with family enriched her,
love of community empowered her.

Audrey’s unexpected death reminds us
to be present to each moment
and to respond to any and all situations
with gratitude, wonder, inner strength and love.

May we who hold dear her memory
find peace in you, O God,
the source of our faith and the answer to our hope,
both now and forever. Amen!

Sister Audrey Berdis, OSB, 74, died on Monday, January 26, 2015, after a two day illness, and surrounded by her sisters in community and members of her family.

Born to Joseph and Mary Ann (Janosik) Berdis on December 18, 1940, Sister Audrey was a native of Holy Family Parish in Erie. She attended the parish school and St. Benedict Academy. Sister Audrey entered the School Sisters of Saint Francis in Pittsburgh in 1958, pronounced her perpetual vows in 1965, and celebrated her silver jubilee in 1985. In 1992, after discerning a call to the monastic way of life, she began the process of transferring her vows. Sister Audrey was fully incorporated into the Benedictine Sisters of Erie in 1995 and celebrated her golden jubilee in 2010.

Sister Audrey held several degrees: B.S., education, Carlow College, Pittsburgh; M.S., education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; M.A., administration, University of Dayton, Ohio; M.S., counseling psychology, Gannon University, Erie. She also participated in numerous workshops, seminars and retreats in support of professional, personal and spiritual development. For many years she served as elementary principal and teacher in the Pittsburgh and Erie dioceses, eventually returning to Erie to become principal of Holy Family School in 1984. Sister Audrey’s ministry to others through social services in Erie began with her directorship of Hope House for Women, 1989-1993. From 1994-95 she worked as a counselor at Mercy Center for Women. She served as a counselor and treatment specialist at Community House, Inc. until 1996 when she became a counselor and case manager at St. Benedict Education Center. In 2007 Sister Audrey began her ministry as service coordinator at Benetwood Apartments, the ministry in which she was serving at the time of her death.

Sister Audrey’s interests extended to other areas, including healthy living, exercise, outdoor activities and travel. She visited the Mission of Friendship in Merida, Yucatán, Mexico and spent some time in
South Africa. Most recently, she was involved in the revival of the Stillpoint Contemplative Prayer Days at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery. Sister Audrey was a gentle woman who served others with kindness, care and compassion. She enjoyed life fully and was enriched by the bonds of community and family. Her ever-present delight in God’s goodness endeared her to many.

In addition to her parents, Sister Audrey was preceded in death by 6 of her 13 siblings: Eleanor Tarasovitch, Mildred Merski, Sister Eileen, OSF, Joseph, Francis, and Thomas. She is survived by her Benedictine community, her community of origin, the School Sisters of St. Francis (Pittsburgh), seven brothers and sisters: Lawrence, Rev. Donald, James (Barbara), Robert, Sister Kevin, OSF, Ann Krauza (Paul), and Jean Abate (Frank), and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Services took place at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery and included: Visitation, a Service of Memories, a Mass of Christian and Interment in Trinity Cemetery. Brugger Funeral Homes and Crematory, Pine Avenue Branch, 845 East 38th Street, was in charge of the arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, 6101 East Lake Road, Erie, PA 16511. Click here to offer an online memorial.