Monthly Update
July 2017
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Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program
The Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program invites women to explore their life questions by living with our monastic community for 6-12 months. Since the program began in 2000, nearly 20 women from around the U.S. as well as England, Mexico and Australia have shared life with us in this program, named for the founder of women's Benedictine life in the U.S.

Two past participants, Joanne Cahill and Alyssa Harpst, are featured in this new three-minute video that gives a brief introduction to the program. View it here.

For more information, including how to contact Sister Stephanie Schmidt, director of the Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience Program, visit this page.  

Date: Ongoing 
Location: Mount St. Benedict Monastery
Sister Carolyn on Know Your Neighbors
New Podcast 
Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski's most recent podcast is an apt reminder of our common humanity as we celebrate Independence Day on July 4. With her trademark openness that not only reveals her own self journey but also invites us to deeper levels of our own selves, Sister Carolyn explores, "Know Your Neighbor," detailing what a walk around her own inner-city block reveals. As she walks she ponders, where is "here" now in a changing neighborhood, a new reality? Listen to this new episode here or subscribe to her podcast series, Sister Carolyn on Creation Spirituality on iTunes here.

Date: Available July 1
Location: Online at or subscribe on iTunes
Gifts of a Scarred Soul eRetreat with Joan Chittister
July 3-28
In this four-week eRetreat Sister Joan will provide tools to help you analyze your own stories of struggle, suggesting the gifts that each struggle can give as you move toward hope and transformation. "Most of us live everyday between struggle and hope," she writes, "and the way we deal with struggle has something to do with the very measure of the self, with the whole issue of what it is to be a spiritual person." Content includes four video presentations by Sister Joan.

For more information, click here.  

Date: Monday, July 3 to Friday, July 28
Location: Online at Spirituality & Practice
Cost: $59.95
Women's Writing Circle
July 5
The Women's Writing Circle meets the 1st Wednesday of the month and is open to writers and non-writers alike. Each session includes discussion of a short reading on a writing topic, introduction of a writing theme through stories and poems, a writing prompt, time for personal writing, and optional sharing in large and small groups.

The Writing Circle creates a safe space for you to develop your own voice and offers you an opportunity to have your words heard and honored without judgment. Each session is stand-alone, come to as many or as few as you are able.

Facilitated by Sister Mary Lou Kownacki. Click here to sign up. 

Date: Wednesday, July 5
Time: 6:30 - 7:45 p.m.
Location: The Writing Studio, 310 East 10th, Erie
Cost: Free and open to the public
Benedictines for Peace
Justice for Immigrants Vigil
July 7
Join Benedictines for Peace in public prayer for Immigrants and Refugees affected by the Administration's newly enforced "travel ban" on six majority-Muslim nations. In addition to prayer, we will distribute fliers with information on rights especially designed for new Americans. All are invited to attend this 30-minute vigil.

Sign up here to receive alerts from Benedictines for Peace.
For more information contact Sister Anne McCarthy, Benedictines for Peace Coordinator or download a  flier here
Date: Friday, July 7
Time: 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Location: Outside the Federal Building, 6th and State
The public is encouraged to attend
Take Back the Site Vigil
July 18
Join us for a Take Back the Site vigil for Anita Jones, a victim of violence. The 15-minute Take Back the Site public prayer vigils are held at the site of any death in the city of Erie caused by an act of violence to reclaim the site for nonviolence with our prayerful presence. We pray for the victim and her family and also pray for the perpetrator. Family, friends, neighbors and those committed to being a presence for peace and non-violence are invited to pray with us. The Benedictine Sisters, the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of Mercy, along with their oblates and associates, lead the vigils.

Sign up here to receive alerts from Benedictines for Peace when a TBTS vigil is scheduled.

For more information contact Sister Anne McCarthy, Benedictines for Peace Coordinator

Date: Tuesday, July 18
Time: 5:15 p.m.
Location: 27th and Holland Streets
The public is encouraged to attend
Labyrinth Ritual with Peace & Justice Theme
July 21
Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski and other sisters, oblates and friends are working with Linda McGarvey from the Carrie T. Watson Garden Club to facilitate this Labyrinth Ceremony because of our ministry in Peace and Justice issues. The one-hour event includes prayer and ritual, presentations, song and movement and (optional) walking of the labyrinth.

Contact Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski for further information: 814-392-6595.

Date: Friday, July 21
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: Frontier Park on Erie's West Side
Free and open to the public
Discover Your Inner Artist
July 24 or 26, August 7 or 9
Produce your very own whimsical acrylic painting on canvas under the direction of artist and Neighborhood Art House teacher, Mary Kay Geary. Classes are for adults and will not exceed 10 participants, so register early. Choose from four dates, see dates and times below. Registration fee includes all materials, snacks and soft drinks.

For additional information and reservations (required) contact Mary Kay at 814-490-2807 or email

Date/Time: Monday, July 24 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Date/Time: Wednesday, July 26 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Date/Time: Monday, Aug 7 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Date/Time: Wednesday, Aug 9 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Neighborhood Art House, 201 E. 10th Street, Erie
Cost: $35
The Loving Search for God Retreat
with Rev. William Meninger, OSCO
Sept. 15-16
William Meninger, OCSO, Trappist monk, prolific author, retreat leader, is one of three principal architects of the Centering Prayer movement. The September retreat is a collaborative effort sponsored by Erie Contemplative Outreach, Saint George Church, Our Lady of Mercy, the House of Prayer, and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. Participation is limited to 120 persons.
Click here to register now-participation is limited. 
For more information, contact Joe Sarbak, 814-746-1015
Date: Friday, Sept. 15 - Saturday, Sept. 16
Time: Begins at 4:00 p.m. Friday, ends at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday
Location: Mount St. Benedict Monastery
Cost: $95 includes program and four meals (overnight accommodation NOT included) 
Save the Date
Erie Gives Day
August 8
Erie gives +ministries On Erie Gives Day, Tuesday August 8, a percentage match of your donation will expand your contribution to support Neighborhood Art House programming for inner-city children, for services to guests at Emmaus Ministries Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry and Kids' Cafe or for the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. 

The Erie Community Foundation is sponsoring Erie Gives to help local nonprofit organizations raise funds needed for their various missions
Date: Tuesday, August 8
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Minimum donation: $25   
Save the Date
Taste of the Arts
September 12
Save the date for the annual gala that supports the Neighborhood Art House program. Enjoy the artwork and performances of the children, a silent auction of works by professional artists, a delicious buffet, and a treasure board of gifts.

Questions? Contact Patti Eichen at the Art House, 814-455-5508 or visit 

Date: Tuesday, September 12
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Under the tent at the Neighborhood Art House, 201 E. 10th Street, Erie
Cost: $75

Receive alerts from Benedictines for Peace each time there is a
--Take Back the Site Vigil
--An Immigration Reform Prayer Vigil
--An event or action that BFP is supporting
CLICK HERE to read more and sign up. 
Play Pickleball™ 
Call for schedule
Playing Pickleball® at SBCC is different than playing it anywhere else in the city. We are Erie's only Benedictine gym and being Benedictine means hospitality is one of our top priorities. Your friends, co-workers and family members will enjoy the friendly, unintimidating and even intimate setting of our facility that larger gyms and clubs simply can't offer. We offer you:
  • Two courts with seamless, cushioned flooring that is gentle on joints
  • Court times Monday to Saturday, mornings and evenings
  • Memberships and discount cards available
  • Free use of equipment (paddles and balls)
  • Free lesson on your first visit
  • Private bookings available
Click here for more information or call Sister Dianne Sabol, Director, 814-459-2406, to schedule court times.

Date: Call to schedule
Location: St. Benedict Community Center, 320 East 10th Street, Erie
Cost: Fees vary for regular court times
Spiritual Direction available

Spiritual Direction, sometimes referred to as spiritual guidance or spiritual friendship, is an on-going relationship in which one person (the directee), wanting to be attentive to his or her spiritual life, meets with another person (the director) on a regular basis, specifically for the purpose of becoming more attuned to God's presence in order to respond more fully to that presence in all of life. The primary focus of the session is the directee's relationship with God as it is reflected and challenged by all aspects of that person's life. 

 Visit our Spirituality Page to learn about and/or contact our sisters who are Certified Spiritual Directors. Click here.

 Suggested offering is $30/session.



Guest Accommodations available
One of the greatest gifts monastics can offer is their monastery as a place of prayer and peace, community and care, welcome and hospitality. In doing so monastics take to heart what Benedict advocates: the monastery is a dwelling where guests are to be cherished and respected, where hearts overflow "with the inexpressible delight of love." -Prologue, Rule of Benedict
Come for a week, a weekend, or a single overnight. 
Click here for a guest registration form.