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When you support the monastery ... our spring appeal letter

Mount St Benedict Ministry Tour 2024

You may have heard us say at some point in our relationship with you that as Benedictine monastics, our primary ministry is prayer and community. St. Benedict didn’t name a singular good work that would define his monastic communities. Rather, he built those communities around a Rule that is a simple guide for living a balanced and healthy life with each other, with oneself, and with God. His hope was that a monastery would then serve as a leaven for the people in the place where it was located—which is why he asked his monks to promise stability. We grow where we are planted, and in 2024 we remain firmly planted in Erie, Pennsylvania, and online through our websites. Our vow of stability signifies a commitment to grow with you, wherever you are.

When we ask you to financially support us in this ministry of prayer and community, what do your dollars go toward? And how sustainable is Benedictine life? Click here to donate now.

Answer #1: Many good works have grown out of this small group of Benedictine women planted in Erie in 1856 and committed to prayer and community. For starters, education for immigrant children and 120 years of solid preparation of young women at St. Benedict Academy.

Beginning in the 1960s and continuing yet today, the same commitment to prayer and community led us to other good works: feeding the hungry, bringing beauty into the lives of children, educating adults in the former Academy building, building a larger monastery and opening it to spiritual seekers and pilgrims, joining our voices with calls for justice, equality, peace, and care for the earth.

I’m sure Benedict could never have imagined what would grow from people committed to prayer and community according to his “little rule for beginners.” Likewise, my sisters and I could never have imagined the vast Benedictine spiritual and communal infrastructure that has grown out of our monastery here in Erie, and the good works that we do together.

Answer #2: Sustainability is where excitement lies because to live means to change. You experience change in your life—individually, in your families, your work, as members of our larger society and world. We experience it here in the monastery, too. Our future, like yours, is yet to be revealed—it depends on the size of our spiritual imaginations. But one thing we do know is that it will continue to build on our solid Benedictine infrastructure. Here are some of the things we’re doing to reinforce and grow with your support:

  • Creating spaces for new people to discover our monastery, our spirituality, and our commitment to community and the earth. Last summer more than 250 people, including many families, joined us at Glinodo Center for Goatfest, seeing first-hand how goats can clear invasive species from our woods and enjoying the natural beauty of this lakeside sanctuary. We recently welcomed guests to our second monastery tour that included dinner with the sisters and participation in our Lent Vigil. Many of those guests had never been to the monastery.
  • Welcoming the Benedictine charism as it is lived in those who work with us in our ministries. Our ministry directors are no longer exclusively professed sisters, but they are women who bring a Benedictine spirit to the ministry. They are supported by staff and volunteers who are also committed to these good works in the spirit of Benedict. Recently we invited all of them—the staff, boards, and volunteers who work with us—to spend a day at the monastery exploring Benedictine spirituality, commitment, and community.
  • All the while we are focused on growing outward, we are also caring for our elders, the women who made us who we are today. Our members range in age from 31 to 106 and we strive to do as Benedict instructs us, to listen to the young, giving them something to strive for, and to love and care for the elderly so they have nothing to fear.

With your help, we will carry this Benedictine charism into the future so that it continues to seed spirituality, community, and good work in a world that sorely needs these gifts. As a benefactor you are part of this great, unfolding, Benedictine story. What can we grow together?

Sister Stephanie

Stephanie Schmidt, OSB
Prioress, Benedictine Sisters of Erie

P.S. Thank you for considering a donation. Click here if you're able to support us.