Sister Pat Hause retires from Benetwood

Sister Pat Hause and Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress

“It’s been an incredible 23 years,” said Sister Pat Hause at the celebration of her retirement at the Benedictine Sisters’ Benetwood Apartments in Harborcreek. “All of you have helped make Benetwood a true community. Your willingness to open your arms to new residents and help them become members of this community has been inspiring and a beautiful witness to what makes Benetwood home,” she told the many residents, board members and staff, members of her family, and sisters who gathered in Benetwood’s common space to honor her many years of service on May 26.

Benetwood is a 75-unit HUD-sponsored apartment complex that the Benedictine community opened in 1981 on property adjacent to the monastery. From the time the first residents moved in, there has been a neighborly bond between Benetwood residents and the sisters. They enjoy the walking paths on each other’s grounds, some Benetwood residents join the sisters for prayer and liturgy, and, until covid intervened, an annual dinner for Benetwood residents at the monastery was always much anticipated.

Sister Pat became manager in 1999. “In the early years, times were slower, and residents got to know each other better because we didn’t have many move outs. With time that changed, yet we are still able to extend gift of hospitality to those who come,” she said. Over the years, she has shepherded the community at Benetwood through many changes including the staff addition of Service Coordinator who helps our residents with many of their needs so they don’t have to try and move through the systems that make it so hard for the elderly to understand. We also added a beauty parlor, a computer room, an exercise area, and had some major renovations done over the years.”

Community is a good descriptor for life at Benetwood, one of the few stand-alone facilities of its kind in Erie. Because community is central to Benedictine life, that value also became central to Benetwood as it grew under Benedictine management. “We care about one another, we look out for one another. There is a real sense of belonging,” said resident Shirley Trott, who has lived at Benetwood for eight years. “I love it here, in addition to the people, I love the quiet and the gardens and trees, it is beautiful.”

Board president Gery Nietupski, Law Offices of NietupskiAngelone LLC, concurs. He adds, “Sister Pat has been key in creating and sustaining that sense of community over the years, both among the residents and also with the board. Leading the Benetwood board has been one of the most positive board experiences I’ve had.”

Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress of the Benedictine sisters, had the highest praise for Sister Pat, who also serves on the monastic leadership council. “I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for Pat’s many years of service at Benetwood. She is much loved and will be greatly missed.”