Community Weekend 2022

Sister Stephanie welcomes oblates

More than 50 oblates participated in the 2022 October Community Weekend at the monastery, the first on-site gathering since 2019. Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, welcomed everyone on Friday afternoon.

Friday afternoon, oblates, sisters, and volunteers involved in various good works hosted displays and entertained conversations, inviting others to join their efforts. Interest groups represented were Artisans of the Monastery, Benedictines for Peace, Care for the Earth, Discerning Deacons Phoebe Circle, Erie Benedictine Study Group, Monasteries of the Heart/Listening Hearts, and Prison Ministry. Descriptions of each group and photographs are below. Erie Benedictine oblates interested in making a contact with a group, please email oblates@eriebenedictines.org.

On Saturday, Sister Joan Chittster guided oblates and sisters through a process that in itself illustrated synodality as she reviewed the Councils of Trent and Vatican I and how they relate to the movement of the Church today under the leadership of Pope Francis. Her presentation “Roots and Wings” highlighted the as-yet unrealized wisdom of the documents of Vatican II and the potential we have at this moment to become the Church that they envision. 

Evening Praise on Saturday began with the annual Oblate Commitment Ceremony after all oblates present processed into chapel. Oblate Co-Director Joanne Cahill presented the commitments of 260 oblates to Sister Stephanie who then received four new oblates and three initiates. She presented initiates Donna Cullen, Naples, FL, and Sharon McSweeny, Duxbury, MA, with copies of the Rule of Benedict. Initiate Cindy Lack, Marquette, MI, was not able to be present.

Sister Stephanie welcomed new Oblate Bernadette Strada, Rushville, NY, and gave her the community pin. New Oblates Nicole Kearney, Ontario, Canada, Linda Shank, Elliottsburg, PA, and Merrilyn Tucker, Seattle, WA, were unable to attend. 

Oblate Kelly Adamson proclaimed the Gospel, Luke 19:1-10, and Sister Stephanie offered reflections. View the video here.

To learn more about the Oblate Way of Life, contact co-directors Sister Dianne Sabol or Oblate Joanne Cahill, 814-899-0614 ext 2402 or oblates@eriebenedictines.org

Scroll down for photos from the weekend.

The eight interest groups were:
ARTISANS: "If there are skilled workers in the monastery, let them practice their craft in all humility." Rule of Benedict Chapter 57 Purpose: To offer a forum for artists to share and support one another as they explore ways in which their gifts can serve the community. Coordinators: Oblate Jo Clarke, Sister Peggy Pilewski

BENEDICTINES FOR PEACE: "Seek peace and pursue it." Rule of Benedict Chapter 4 Purpose: Benedictines for Peace (BFP) asks the question, "What is a monastic response to the peace and justice issues of our day?" We carry the ancient quest for peace into contemporary times. As the peace and justice outreach of the Erie Benedictine community, BFP members advocate for nonviolence, social change, and justice by direct action, prayer, and bearing witness. Our members include Benedictine Sisters and Oblates, as well as many others who share our commitment to peace and nonviolence. Coordinators : Sister Anne McCarthy, Oblate Priscilla Richter Website: http://www.benedictinesforpeace.com/

CARE FOR THE EARTH: "Regard all utensils and goods as sacred vessels of the altar." Rule of Benedict Chapter 31:10 Purpose: There are many ways to be involved in caring for the earth, from email updates, to discussion or project groups, to projects that can be done at home, to collaborating with environmental organizations, to membership on one of our Working Groups – and others that you will discover as this group explores possibilities. Coordinators: Sister Annette Marshall, Oblate Eileen Gross

DISCERNING DEACONS PHOEBE CIRCLE: "Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out this charge: If you hear God’s voice today, do not harden your hearts (Ps 94[95]:8). And again: You that have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev 2:7)." Rule of Benedict Prologue Purpose: To foster a circle of support for women in ministry and to engage Catholics in our communities in the active discernment of the Church about restoring women to the diaconate. Coordinator: Oblate Kelly Adamson

ERIE BENEDICTINE STUDY GROUP FOR OBLATES AND SISTERS: "Listen readily to holy reading, and devote yourself often to prayer." Rule of Benedict Chapter 4:55-56 Purpose: Participants in this study group will explore a selected topic in the study of the Rule of Benedict or monastic themes each year through more in-depth reading and study, culminating in engaging conversation, applications to our lives, and an enriched prayer. Coordinators: Oblate Cynthia Legin Bucell, Oblate Michael Bucell, Sister Dorothy Stoner

MONASTERIES OF THE HEART: "As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love." Rule of Benedict Prologue Purpose: Monasteries of the Heart is an online movement empowering contemporary seekers of God to embrace Benedictine spirituality and form a monastic heart with other seekers so as to live their ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
Coordinators: Katie Gordon, Sister Mary Ellen Plumb Website: https://www.monasteriesoftheheart.org/

MONASTERIES OF THE HEART - LISTENING HEARTS: "Listen with the ear of your heart." Rule of Benedict Prologue Purpose: A Gathering of Women in need, rooted in Rule of Benedict, offering opportunities for Prayer/Lectio, shared wisdom, spiritual experience and activities. Coordinators: Sisters Anne McCarthy and Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski, Beth Blood, Oblate Cherylann Carter

PRISON MINISTRY: "Go to help the troubled and console the sorrowing." Rule of Benedict Chapter 4:18,19 Purpose: To bring together sisters/oblates who are engaged in prison ministries as a support source and sharing of ideas. In addition, provide resources to all sisters/oblates of the various ways to be a Benedictine presence to those in prison. Coordinators: Oblate Janice Etchison, Sister Marian Wehler, Oblate Jackie Burns

Erie Benedictine oblates interested in making a contact with a group, please email oblates@eriebenedictines.org.

Benedictine Study Group
Benedictine Study Group
Listening Hearts
Listening Hearts
Care for the Earth
Care for the Earth
Artists
Artists
Benedictines for Peace
Benedictines for Peace
Monasteries of the Heart
Monasteries of the Heart
Prison Ministry
Prison Ministry
Discerning Deacons
Discerning Deacons
Sister Joan speaks with oblates and sisters
Sister Joan speaks with oblates and sisters
Sister Joan
Sister Joan
Procession of oblates into chapel
Procession of oblates into chapel
260 Oblate Commitments
260 Oblate Commitments
New Oblate Bernadette Strada, new Initiates Donna Cullen and Sharon McSweeny
New Oblate Bernadette Strada, new Initiates Donna Cullen and Sharon McSweeny