Sister Mary Ellen Cummings

Sister Mary Ellen Cummings

This 50th Jubilee is truly a monumental event in my life. The experiences and happiness that have been mine in these 50 years has far surpassed my imagination. Doing anything for 50 years is almost unheard of in our fast-paced society. Yet, living religious life for 50 years has been a special blessing for me.

It has been a gift to have loved every place I taught, every place I lived and every place I worked from North East to Oil City to Sharon to Fryburg to Erie. Teaching at St. Benedict Academy in Erie was a dream come true.

From a very young age, the idea of being a missionary was always in the back of my mind. That, too, became a reality when I was able to serve as a missionary with the Erie Diocesan Mission of Friendship in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico for five years. The opportunity to work that closely with the poor of another culture changed my life forever. I came home from Mexico to work at Pax Christi USA, which had its own rewards, and then at St. Benedict Education Center as a caseworker, another work I truly loved. Now I am at the Neighborhood Art House with children from many cultures and they have found their way into my heart. I have learned that missionary work can be done right in our own backyard.

None of this would have been possible without the blessings of community life and my sense of humor that my Mom implanted in me and each of my brothers and sisters.

Benedictine monasticism has been a good fit for me since the day I entered. Daily prayer keeps me grounded and Eucharistic liturgy keeps me nourished. The Benedictine Sisters of Erie are a community of women that knows how to celebrate. This Jubilee is one more way to truly enter into a full, communal, spiritual celebration of each other’s lives. To celebrate with the community, with my family and with my friends will definitely increase my blessings a hundredfold.

Sister Mary Ellen Cummings is presently the assistant to the Program Director and also the receptionist at the Inner-city Neighborhood Art House. After working for several years in elementary education, Sister Mary Ellen taught high school at St. Benedict Academy. She also worked at Pax Christi USA and served as a missionary at the Erie Diocesan Mission of Friendship in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. Immediately prior to her current position, Sister Mary Ellen ministered at St. Benedict Education Center.