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Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
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Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, is an articulate social analyst and influential religious leader of this age. For over 40 years she has dedicated herself to advocating for universal recognition of the critical questions impacting the global community.

A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Pennsylvania, Sister Joan is an international lecturer and award-winning author of more than 50 books. She is the founder and executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality located in Erie.

A regular columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, Sister Joan has received numerous awards and recognition for her work for justice, peace, and equality, especially for women in the Church and in society. Thirteen of her books have received awards from the Catholic Press Association. In February 2015 her latest book, Between the Dark and the Daylight, was published by Random House.  

A founding member of The Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the UN, she works to develop a worldwide network of women peace builders. As co-chair of this group she has facilitated gatherings of spiritual leaders throughout the Middle East, in Asia, Africa, the Far East and Europe in an effort to spread an interfaith commitment to peace building, equality and justice for all peoples.

Sister Joan has appeared with the Dali Lama at the First Emory (University) Summit of Religion, Conflict & Peacebuilding and at Seeds of Compassion in April 2008. In December 2009 she spoke at the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, Australia and also attended the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing.

She has served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization of the leaders/superiors of the over 50,000 Catholic religious women in the US; president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses; and was prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for 12 years. Sister Joan received her doctorate in speech communications theory from Penn State University and was an invited fellow and research associate at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge University.

Entries by Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

It Is Time For Us To Listen To The Animals

(7) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 11:28 AM

The following is an excerpt from Sr. Joan Chittister's book, "Two Dogs and a Parrot: What Our Animal Friends Can Teach Us About Life."

All my life I wanted a dog. After all, I was an only child. To a child without neighborhood friends, without sisters...

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A Letter to Pope Francis - Remember Women

(11) Comments | Posted September 21, 2015 | 11:57 AM

Dear Pope Francis,

Your visit to the United States is important to us all. We have watched you make the papacy a model of pastoral listening. You have become for us a powerful reminder of the Jesus who walked among the crowds listening to them, loving them--healing...

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Thinking the Unthinkable

(2) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 7:06 PM

An excerpt from Between the Dark and the Daylight.


There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve...

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The Seven Blessings That Come With Aging

(33) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 8:19 AM

Sister Joan Chittister is offering an online course on the blessings behind every aspect of growing older. Learn more about this opportunity here.

The one certain dimension of US demographics these days is that the fastest growing segment of the American population is comprised of people above...

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Pope Benedict XVI's Most Powerful Gift to the Church

(101) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 11:09 AM

The end of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI is a dramatic one. It leaves the Catholic world at a kind of ecclesiastical hiatus between two worlds. The church that brought us to Vatican II, however hard Benedict XVI tried to restore it, is more distant than ever. It is...

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Prayer for Leadership

(13) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 12:05 PM

Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development for ourselves--

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Suicidal Silence: What the 'Debaters' Did Not Say

(7) Comments | Posted October 18, 2012 | 5:08 PM

Three debates by candidates for president and vice-president, and not once has the word "climate" crossed their lips. Nor has "the poor" or "poverty."

On the missing "climate": Only a scathing remark from one candidate about investments in renewable energy being far too large, and from the other, a commitment...

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Vatican II, 50 Years Later

(19) Comments | Posted September 9, 2012 | 12:28 PM

As Vatican II ended, I was just about to begin doctoral studies in communication theory and social psychology. I didn't know a lot about either subject at the time, but, with one foot in religious life spawned by the Council of Trent and the other in a religious life awash...

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Following the Path, Finding Your Purpose

(164) Comments | Posted June 12, 2012 | 7:02 AM

The following is an excerpt from, "Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy."

What does it mean "to have a purpose?"

"It's not easy to know what you're supposed to be doing in life."

"Maybe not,...

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A Prayer For The Times: Litany of Women for the Church

(28) Comments | Posted May 21, 2012 | 12:30 PM

Dear God, creator of women in your own image,
born of a woman in the midst of a world half women,
carried by women to mission fields around the globe, made known by women to all the children of the earth,
give to the women of our...

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We Have Risen With Him

(7) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 4:28 PM

Excerpted from "Journey Into Light: Lent 2012"

Today, at an empty tomb full of light, begins the gathering of the community, of a small and fragile assembly of believers left to their own devices, of disciples whose faith has been shaken by the dashing of the dream....

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The Light of Lent

(2) Comments | Posted March 7, 2012 | 2:19 PM

Please join the HuffPost community in "A Lenten Journey" for reflections throughout Lent, and join our online Lenten community here.

The following is excerpted from "Journey Into Light"

Sometimes, it is only in darkness that we can really see clearly. I look up at...

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Light and Dark

(13) Comments | Posted February 29, 2012 | 12:19 PM

Please join the HuffPost community in "A Lenten Journey" for reflections throughout Lent, and join our online Lenten community here.

The following is excerpted from "Journey Into Light"

Light and dark are the colors of life. No life is ever all of one or...

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In Search of the Divine Feminine

(45) Comments | Posted November 17, 2011 | 9:13 AM

Where does this notion of the Divine Feminine come from? Is the question of the Divine Feminine simply a current fad? A silly notion of even sillier feminists? Or could it possibly have deep and ineradicable roots in the tradition itself?

However much we mock the idea, the truth is,...

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The Mandala: Why Do Monks Destroy It?

(18) Comments | Posted September 20, 2011 | 3:21 PM

Editor's Note: Buddhist monks from Tibet who spend their lives going from place to place, from occasion to occasion, making sand mandalas, sacred cosmograms, that originated in India over 2,500 years ago, are coming to Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania this week. A few years ago, after witnessing the mandala...

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Beyond 9/11 To A Broader View Of The World

(11) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 5:33 PM

In the midst of a university conference on US Foreign Policy and International Relations, I got three cell phone calls dolling out the news: First, the World Trade Tower had been hit by a plane. Then, the second tower, too, had been struck. Finally, the country might be under attack....

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My Prayer for Pentecost

(28) Comments | Posted June 10, 2011 | 1:33 PM

The Holy Spirit embodies the life force of the universe, the power of God, the animating energy present in all things and captured by none. On this great feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit of God, I invite you to pray with me:

May the Gifts of the...

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Rule of Benedict for God Seekers

(83) Comments | Posted May 11, 2011 | 7:52 AM

"Your way of acting should be different from the world's way."

The search for God is a very intimate enterprise. It is at the core of every longing in the human heart. It is the search for ultimate love, for total belonging, for the meaningful life.

It is our attempt...

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Readings for Holy Week

(8) Comments | Posted April 19, 2011 | 10:34 AM

Monday: Holy Week is the church's great celebration of life in all its dimensions: communion with others in the Spirit, the call to suffer if necessary for the sake of the gospel, the sometimes loneliness of total commitment and the glory of living in the Christ, whatever the cost. It...

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Benedictine Spirituality: Peace in the Monastery of the Heart

(59) Comments | Posted April 18, 2011 | 7:49 PM

"Turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim."

Over the archway of medieval monasteries were commonly carved the wordsPax Intrantibus, "Peace to those who enter here."

These words were both a hope and a promise.

Benedict's vision of the peaceable kingdom was...

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