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Atchison Benedictine Sister Helen Mueting shares her reflection on St. Scholastica, whose feast day is February 10. The icon was written by Atchison Sister Paula Howard.

Sister Val Luckey shares her thoughts on 50 years of feeding the hungry at Emmaus ministries. Read her op ed at

Sister Tina Geiger, RSM, and her ministry partner at Catholic Rural Ministries, Erie Benedictine Sister Marian Wehler, began Catholic Schools Week having lunch with students and family members at St. Stephen's in Oil City, preschool through sixth grade grade. They enjoyed lively conversation at the lunch tables and visited classrooms.

Toxic, toxicity, groans, and suffering. These are unusual words to begin a consideration of Goal 6, Ecological Spirituality.  Perhaps they are the most appropriate words as we reflect on this goal in the midst of our present reality.

The Erie Benedictines are grateful to our neighbors down the street, East Erie Moose Family Center #593, for their generous donation to Mount Saint Benedict Monastery and the Benedictine Sisters' Benetwood Apartments.

Sister Cecilia Sullivan, OSB, 91, died on Thursday, January 25, 2024, at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Read prayer and obituary>>>

The Benedictine Sisters congratulate Sister Anne McCarthy on being one of the women being recognized this year at the Mercy Center for Women's Women Making History event on Monday, March 25, at the Mercyhurst University Performing Arts Center in Erie.

Sister Margaret Zeller, 81, died on January 22, 2024, at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Read prayer and obituary>>>

Sister Mary Grace Hanes, 96, died on January 21, 2024, at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Read prayer and obituary>>>

Today, with Christians around the world, we begin the celebration of the week for Christian Unity. The theme of this year’s observance is the story of the Good Samaritan, taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. The story reflects the connection between love of God and love of neighbor with a particular concern for challenging the boundaries of who is considered "neighbor". In the dialogue with Jesus that unfolds this week, Jesus calls us not to only observe the commandments, but to also imitate the love of God in the giving of self for another. It is a call for charity, mercy, justice, and unity.

On January 9, 1974, the Benedictine Sisters served the first meal at Emmaus Soup Kitchen. It included soup, peanut butter, and bread. Fifty years later, there are still hungry people in Erie and Emmaus Soup Kitchen continues to serve hot meals.

Sister Mary Louis Eichenlaub, 93, died on January 8, 2024, at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Read prayer and obituary>>>

Morning prayer on the Feast of the Epiphany follows a community procession through the monastery recalling the journey of the three Magi to find the Christ child. We stop in all our common spaces to pray and sing a blessing, beginning with the health care wing and proceeding to the front foyer, the community and dining rooms, and ending in the chapel. At the entrance to each space, we mark the doors with the current year and the inscription CBM: 20+C+B+M+24. The initials stand for the names of the magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The letters also represent the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat which means “May Christ bless this home.” The marking remains throughout the year and serves as a reminder that this monastery is a blessed space and that its residents ask God's blessing on all who share it with us.

Sister Mary Lou Kownacki is the Blessed Among Us remembrance for January 6 in Give Us This Day daily prayer booklet published by Liturgical Press. Robert Ellsberg is the author.

Laudato Sí is a momentous document issued by Pope Francis on climate change. The Laudato Sí Platform Committee presented seven goals for people around the globe to focus on as one way to keep its message before us.

Joe Askins, President of Auto Express Mazda, and and JET/FOX/YourErie named the Benedictine Sisters of Erie their nonprofit of the week on Dec. 27. Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, accepted the "Loving Giving Local" gift of $250 noting that the funds will go towards the sisters' support of families in need.

A local Monasteries of the Heart group from Warren, PA, gathered at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery. Monasteries of the Heart is an online monastery that is a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. You can learn more here.

More than 40 guests, many of them on their first visit to Mount Saint Benedict Monastery, took part in a tour of the monastery followed by supper with the sisters, time to visit the monastery gift shop, and participation in the Vigil for the third Sunday of Advent on December 16.

Two current but related issues involving the Erie Public Library aren’t just about dollars and cents. These issues actually expose social justice inequities and make a mockery of government priorities.

For our friends who live in or near Erie, if you're at the Millcreek Mall between December 15 and 31, please stop by "Gingerbread Lane" and vote for our Gingerbread House, lovingly crafted by Sister Marcia Sigler.

The SBA Class of 1977 celebrated their 45th class reunion earlier this year at Calamari’s Restaurant in Erie. Pictured are: back row—Christine McCloskey Eacho, Clare Luddy, Lori Bush DiPlacido, Bernie Bagniszewski, Diane Kowalik Lugin, Linda Lubiejewski Turner and Rene Filipowski

I am a tad old-fashioned when it comes to calendars. Every autumn I buy a neat, clean, spiral-bound calendar for the coming year. I resist using the electronic calendar that, I’m told, would quickly sync my daily schedule between phone and computer. Referring to my paper calendar is one less occasion to be distracted by the barrage of buy, subscribe, click, like, and share messages that endlessly pop up on my screens. Those messages can easily divert us from what it means to be truly human, to love God, and to live well with others and our earth.

Please join us in prayer for Deborah Walker and Rani, two women who died in 2023 in murder/suicide events. Neither woman had obituaries published or any public services. One of the women was never identified by name. We are including both of them in this vigil on Monday, December 18 at 5:15 p.m., at 1417 East 28th Street in Erie.

The #iGiveCatholic 2023 results are in! The Benedictine Sisters of Erie raised a total $13,300 from 72 individuals, including two cash prizes sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania totaling $1,250.

Sunday, December 17, 7 - 7:30 p.m. in Perry Square (West side) Special intention is for Peace on Earth.

Please join us in prayer for homicide victim Jeffrey Johnson on Monday, December 11, 5:15 p.m., corner of East 17th and State Streets, Erie, the site where he was murdered on September 22.

The SBA Class of 1977 celebrated their 45th class reunion earlier this year at Calamari’s Restaurant in Erie. Pictured are: back row—Christine McCloskey Eacho, Clare Luddy, Lori Bush DiPlacido, Bernie Bagniszewski, Diane Kowalik Lugin, Linda Lubiejewski Turner and Rene Filipowski

Please join us in the monastery chapel for Advent Vigils each Saturday during Advent, December 2, 9, 16, and 23 at 7:00 p.m. Reflections will be offered by Week One, Dec. 2: Sister Therese Glass 

The AIM USA (United States Secretariat of the Alliance for International Monasticism) newsletter is available online, download it here.

The Benedictine Sisters are offering two reflective, interactive times of Advent Lectio that will invite participants to consider new doors that might be waiting to be opened.

I like wordplay and books, so I keep my eye out for clever names, including titles of cozy mysteries (Buried in the Stacks, by Allison Brook) and book/gift shops (the Bayfront Bookshelf run by Friends of the Library at Blasco, for example). But I didn't know why the gift shop at Mount St. Benedict (6101 East Lake Road) is called Chapter 57 until Sister Valerie Luckey, OSB, director of Emmaus Ministries, explained its origin. (I am also a freelance writer for Emmaus.)

A Take Back the Site Vigil for Autumn Christine Bassham, Monday, November 20, 5:15 p.m. at the site where she was murdered on September 19. The vigil will take place at 1144 East 28th Street, Erie.

About fifty people walked in a silent prayer for a ceasefire in Israel-Hamas War on Wednesday evening. Sister Anne McCarthy is interviewed in this YourErie news clip.

Read Joan Chittister's new NCR column. She writes, "It is time to put away the swords and lead with the heart so that both people may retain their humanity and pass it on to generations of people to come."

Mary Novak, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, provided insight and challenge as the featured presenter at the annual Benedictine Community Weekend the end of October. In addition to Mary's presentations, more than 70 oblates gathered at Glinodo Center during the day on Friday to consider their vocation--a way of life that brings a Benedictine presence to the many places, organizations, and people they encounter each day--and to examine the ways in which they support the fundamentals of Benedictine life: prayer, community, and ministry.

The Winter 2023 issue of The Mount begins with The Visitation, a work of art by Laura James, and an observation from Sister Joan Chittister, "If God worked through one woman to bring redemption, how is it that anyone can argue that God does not go on working through other women as well?" An interview with Mary Novak, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, a reflection by guest columnist and journalist Liz Allen, and an excerpt from Sister Joan's recent global presentation on "Living the Discipleship of Equals" make the argument a moot point as God works through them. There is so much more for you, too, in this issue. May you find hope and inspiration in its pages.

November's Good Work invites members to read and reflect, in solitude and in shared reflection with others, on our role in empowering peace in our hearts, in our world and in our universe, especially in light of the threat to world peace that is building in the Holy Land and that continues to erupt in Ukraine.

Sister Carolyn reflects on creation reflected in the psalms in this podcast and offers the opportunity for personal reflection on your experiences of creation.

On the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, October 4, 2023, Pope Francis gave his most recent instruction: the Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum (Praise God), on the climate crisis.

Fire chief James Hawryliw and members of the Fairfield Hose Company Volunteer Fire Department and their spouses and children joined the sisters for the annual thank you dinner in the monastery dining room. "This is always one of our most anticipated events each year," said Chief Hawryliw. It's a long-standing tradition, a way for the sisters to express their gratitude to the Company for their many assists for ambulance services and the occasional fire alarm.

The Benedictine Sisters join the Erie Catholic School System in being pleased to announce that Sister Katherine Horan is taking on a new leadership role at Blessed Sacrament Campus in Erie.

Join us in the monastery chapel on Wednesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. for a Holy Hour for Peace in the Holy Land. Click to access a PDF flier.

Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small offers a different perspective on Matthew 22:1-14, the Wedding Banquet, in her homily on Sunday, October 15.

Sister Joan Chittister addressed a global audience at Spirit Unbounded: Human Rights in the Emerging Catholic Church, a lay-led synodal assembly that took place along side the Vatican Synod on Synodality October 8-14 with live presentations streaming from Rome October 13 and 14.

Listening Hearts, a grassroots program offering Benedictine spirituality to women in Erie challenged by poverty, launched its 2023-24 cohort at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery on October 11.

Sister Audrey Steff (right) offered the invocation at the ACES 2023 Awards Luncheon honoring Valerie Laufenberg as the Bob & Betty Merwin Outstanding Citizen.

The SBA Class of 1973 50th Reunion celebration included liturgy and coffee at Mount St. Benedict Monastery on October 8. Seventeen class members and three former faculty members, Sisters Dorothy Stoner, Phyllis Schleicher, and Rosanne Loneck, gathered for a photo in between the excited conversation and laughter.

Sister Pat Lupo's work with Hold Erie Coke Accountable (HECA) is featured in a new blog post in Penn Future: Our Water, Our Future Erie Newsletter.

Artisans of the monastery, according to St. Benedict in Chapter 57 of his Rule, are to share their craft with all humility. While trapping and relocating wild animals may not be a traditional craft when one thinks of artisans of the monastery, it is an art and a skill that Sister Jacinta Conklin brings to the community.

Sister Joan Chittister’s book The Time Is Now is included in a new mural on Erie’s East Bayfront Parkway, atop a stack of several other books. It's on a wall of Gallagher Plumbing on E. 9th St. but it is facing the Bayfront Highway.

The Benedictine Sisters will co-host "Engagement in the Public Square, a Spiritual Practice," a presentation by Mary Novak, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Washington, DC, with the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul in Erie.

Sister Susan Doubet, long-time educator, principal, and basketball coach at Villa Maria Academy in Erie was recently inducted into the 2023 class of the Cathedral Prep Athletic Hall of Fame.

Residents of the Benedictine Sisters' Benetwood Apartments recently joined the sisters for prayer and dinner. This annual event celebrates the relationship of friends and neighbors between the two living communities.

The September 2023 issue of Emmaus Ministries' The Companion is available in PDF format.

Throughout Laudato Sí Pope Francis offers insights that can help us understand and implement Goal 4 from the International Action Platform.

The Feast of All Saints on November 1 and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (commonly known as All Souls Day) on November 2 are times when we pause to remember all these members of our community, our personal communion of saints, living and deceased.

The Benedictine Sisters proudly presented their 2023 Prophet of Peace Award to environmental advocate and educator Doreen Petri on September 20.

Mother Blandyna Michniewicz, OSBap, Abbess of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Monastery in Warsaw, Poland, presented a first-hand account of the tragedy of the war in Ukraine to sisters and guests at the monastery.

Sister Mary Therese Egan, OSB, 85, died on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Read prayer and obituary>>>

The 2023 Taste of the Arts Neighborhood Art House annual fundraiser, "Sights and Sounds of the Art House," brought together young artists and performers, staff, sisters, friends, donors, and guests to celebrate an evening of beauty and hope "under the tent" in the Art House parking lot.

Woodturner Sister Audrey Steff was recently awarded a lifetime membership in the Presque Isle Woodturners--an organization of which she was a founding member 25 years ago. “There are only three of the original founding members remaining,” she explained. “And one of them thought that founding members should no longer have to pay dues.”

Sister Carolyn reflects on two very significant dates in 2001.

In September we celebrate the Season of Creation ( and Labor Day. It’s a good time to consider the third goal of Laudato Sí, Ecological Economics.

Goat Fest 2023 drew several hundred people--parents, children, adults, friends and neighbors--to Glinodo for a couple hours of outdoor fun and education on a unique way to care for our environment.

Erie News Now invited Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small for an interview focused on the invasive-species eating goats at Glinodo and Saturday's Goat Fest.

The Glinodo Goat Fest is free and will take place on Saturday, August 26 from 1-3:30 p.m. The event is family-friendly, and will include a storybook trail, nature art, snacks, and games.

Thank you to sponsors, golfers, volunteers, and sisters who made the Erie Benedictine's Sister Mary Lou Kownacki Memorial Golf Tournament a terrific event.

The Trinity Square Foundation recently sponsored a block party at the East 22nd Street Poetry Park in honor of Sister Mary Lou Kownacki and Sister Mary Miller, the creators of the park, who both died earlier this year. Their memory was honored with a new plaque that was installed in the park. A tree was planted in Sister Mary's honor--last year one was planted for Sister Mary Lou.

Neighbors, family and friends of Mary and elk for an afternoon of food, fun, music, and poetry.

Family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors of Quran Wesley Sims gathered at the site where he died of multiple gunshot wounds last June 3 to reclaim the site for nonviolence.

New podcast from Sister Carolyn. Where have the thousands of days in your life taken you?

Development office staff Sister Linda Romey, Michelle Scully and Michelle Basista attended the Erie Community Foundation's Parking Lot Party to mark Erie Gives Day.

The Benedictine Sisters celebrated four sisters on the 60th anniversary of their monastic profession: Sisters Mary Ellen Cummings, Marcia Sigler (seated) and Pat Lupo and Annette Marshall standing. They are pictured with Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, seated in the center.

This month we celebrate! August is an ideal month to celebrate Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Sí, On Care for Our Common Home. In #12 of Laudato Sí we read, "Saint Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise."

Mother Blandyna Michniewicz, OSBap, Abbess of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Monastery in Warsaw, Poland will present a first-hand account of the tragedy of the war in Ukraine at Mount St. Benedict Monastery and virtually on August 31.

In a special expression of gratitude, the Benedictine Sisters thanked all the good people who work at the monastery and help them carry out their good works, at the annual Employee Recognition picnic.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Benedictine Sisters 2023 Annual Draw fundraiser. You helped us make our goal of $42,000--funds that help support monastic life in Erie and the good works that grow out of our commitment to be a monastic presence in Erie.

Benedictines for Peace sponsored a Silent Peace Walk at the site of the United Electrical Workers strike at the Wabtec plant in Erie. Strikers joined sisters, oblates, and friends for the 20-minute silent walk/prayer for peace.

Prioress Sister Stephanie Schmidt was interviewed for local PBS station WQLN's Chronicles series "Houses of Faith" part three.

This Sunday July 16 BINGO sponsored by the SBA Alumnae Association. Bring a toy for a child at St. Benedict Child Development Center and get a free bingo card. Bingo at Polish Falcons, 431 East 3rd, Erie. Doors open at noon.

Help the Benedictine Sisters of Erie partner with Let’s Goat Buffalo to give rescue goats purpose doing what they love best: eating invasive plants. Save our trees and give these goats a second chance with your gift.

The newest issue of the United States Secretariat of the Alliance for International Monasticism newsletter is available in PDF format.

Sister Mary Miller helped to plant the seed for Emmaus Grove Urban Farm in 2013. The garden grows and thrives thanks to two Master Gardeners who coordinate the site, volunteers who provide upkeep for the garden’s raised beds, and dependable benefactors, such as AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania.

Erie Benedictines collaborate with PennFuture's Erie Office working on Clean Water Advocacy. Read their first newsletter.

“Lemonade! Lemonade! Come and get your lemonade!” 8-year-old Kids Cafe participants Roia and Gladness chanted, behind the counter of the lemonade stand they were staffing on East 10th Street.

Is there a connection between this and the goal we considered last month, Response to the Cry of the Earth? Absolutely. Chapter Two in Laudato Sí, The Gospel of Creation, considers sections of Scripture and explores the wisdom found in considering the relationship between humans and nature.

Five Erie Benedictines participated in the Blasco Memorial Library's Read-In "to reaffirm the importance of free and equal access to materials representing all children and families." Pictured are Sisters Jacqueline, Stephanie, Kathy, Colleen, and Therese.

Katie Gordon recently presented on a panel at the Federation (now Monastic Congregation) of St. Gertrude General Chapter in Beech Grove, Indiana. Gordon, who lives with the Erie Benedictine community at Pax Priory, and works with Monasteries of the Heart, presented alongside “seasoned monastic” Teresa Jackson, OSB (Cottonwood, ID), “younger monastic” Kathleen Marie Cash, OSB (Ferdinand, IN), and Jane Somerton, OblSB (Cottonwood, ID).

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie support the United Electrical Workers Union in their strike. There are many issues at stake in the controversy between Wabtec Corporation and UE Locals 506 and 618 in Erie, but two stand out as especially important (from the UE website):

   • The union wants to ensure that workers will have the right to strike in the future, in order to ensure that grievances between the workers and the company can be settled fairly. 
   • Also, workers want to pivot toward making green locomotives, which will dramatically lower the carbon footprint of the production. The change to producing green locomotives is also projected to create thousands of jobs.

July's Second Saturday at the Benedictine Sisters Inner-city Neighborhood Art House features artwork that you can wear. Join us from 10 am-12 pm for tie-dying and jewelry making activities.

Oblate Kelly Adamson, seated at left, served as retreat leader for the 2023 Erie Benedictine Community Retreat. In 10 short sessions over five days Kelly led sisters and oblates gathered at the monastery and others attending via Zoom on a pilgrimage that she titled, "Benedictine Women in a Synodal Church: Gifts for the Pilgrim Journey."

It may be that Benedictines come by longevity honestly--Benedictine monasticism has been around for 1,500 years. But that alone is not sufficient explanation for an alumnae association that has remained strong and vibrant 35 years after the school from which they graduated has closed.

Where do you experience the loud and wild thundering of the waters? In the Summer 2023 issue of The Mount, we look for the God of all strength who is with us always in the thundering waters. Learn about the "Creative Third Force" in the opening piece by contributor Katie Gordon. We remember Sister Mary Lou Kownacki who died in January with one of her many, many blog posts. An interview with Sister Marian Wehler, Benedictine, and Sister Tina Geiger, Sister of Mercy, about their work in Catholic Rural Ministry challenges us to adore Christ in everyone. In the summer issue we also celebrate our 2023 jubilations, both sisters and oblates. See how your donations were put to good work and how the SBA legacy of empowering women continues. Along with all the features, find the news highlights of the past six months from sisters and oblates.

Sister Dorothy Stoner, St. Benedict Education Center, and SBA Alumna Jenny Hagerty, director of Mercy Center for Women, were two of the speakers at Network's Care Not Cuts rally in Erie.

The Erie Benedictine Laudato Sí Platform Committee is working locally to keep alive the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Sí, On Care for Our Common Home. We follow the direction set by the International Laudato Sí Action Platform as it works globally to keep this message of the encyclical before us. The vision: Every sector of the global church is, somehow, finding ways to lessen the climate crisis. All families, parishes, schools, health care, business, agriculture….are promoting and implementing Laudato Sí in their own local communities.

Dr. Geoffrey Dunn's presentation "Bunbu Ryodo - a surgeon’s experience" at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery is now available for online viewing. Dr. Dunn's presentation addressed spiritual growth through the twin paths of action and contemplation. The twin path concept is derived from the Japanese, bunbu ryodo, the balance of the pen and the sword. He discussed the principle in light of recent neurologic research and a half century’s experience with painting and surgery.

Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake by surface area of the five Great Lakes in North America and the eleventh-largest globally. The city of Erie is the main access point for Pennsylvanians to the Great Lakes. Erie Benedictine Sister Pat Lupo has been an environmental voice and activist in the Lake Erie region for decades. She is a contributor in a new podcast, Connecting with Lake Erie, from PennFuture's Environmental Voices podcast. 

This Tuesday May 23 from noon to 12:45 p.m. Benedictines for Peace and other local organizations are joining in NETWORK’s “Care Not Cuts" Rally, a non-partisan event to call on Congress to protect SNAP/WIC, housing subsidies, Medicaid, and veteran's services. Our democratic government, by means of the federal budget, has a moral responsibility to prioritize care for vulnerable people in urban and rural communities, and create a stronger, safer, healthier country where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Let's come together and urge Congress to secure a moral budget that serves the common good. Erie Benedictine Sister Dorothy Stoner will speak at the rally, along with Mayor Joe Schember and others.

Several Erie Benedictines were among the religious women honored by Erie DAWN (Dwelling and Advocacy for Women in Need) for their vision and leadership in beginning the non-profit collaboration in 1995. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, the Sisters of Mercy, and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie began Erie DAWN and sponsored the ministry for 25 years. It is now a separately incorporated ministry with the mission of "providing safe, affordable, independent, transitional housing for low-income women and children. Advocacy and support services are provided so these women can continue to be productive members of society."

Sister Mary Miller, OSB, 81, died on Sunday, May 14, 2023, at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Read prayer and obituary>>>

“Not turning away: Climate change and the tools of good works” by Erie Benedictine Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small appears in the March 2023 issue of the American Benedictine Review.