Life we get for free.
Who we are
when we die,
we must earn.
—Joan Chittister

  • Participants in the JCICS visit Sister Joan's archives at Mercyhurst University.

    Participants in the Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality visit Sister Joan's Archive at Mercyhurst University. Nine women, graduate students or recent graduates in divinity, theology, religion, or related programs, are participating.

  • Participants listen attentively to input from Sister Joan.

    “A Feminist Benedictine Option,” is the topic of the Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality. Participants have a full schedule of input, reading and discussion. The Institute is taking place at Mount St. Benedict Monastery.

  • Joan, Tom Roberts and participants in the JCICS

    Sister Joan and her biographer, Tom Roberts, are surrounded by participants and staff of the Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality. Tom presented his book, Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith.

  • JCICS participants visit the Joan Chittister Archives at Mercyhurst University

    Participants in the Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality look at displays in the Joan Chittister Archive Room at Mercyhurst University.

Joan Chittister is an outspoken advocate of justice, peace and equality — especially for women world-wide — and has been one of America’s visionary spiritual voices for more than 30 years.

On this website you can explore what makes her a beloved and best-selling author, a soul-stirring speaker, and a gifted spiritual guide.

Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Sister of Erie, has dedicated her life to voicing questions that test popularly accepted truths of the day. Her questions to both church and society focus on the empowerment of women, the development of contemporary spirituality, a redefinition and renewal of Benedictine life for seekers today, and justice for the oppressed and marginalized, particularly those in prison. Here are four Good Works that reflect her life commitments:

What's New

Joan Chittister, 2018 Readers Retreat
15th Annual Retreat

“I love the intensity and depth of this gathering. I love the way Joan keeps pushing your statements until you hear your own truth,” said Deanna Langle, Evanston, IL, a first-time participant in the 15th Annual Reader’s Retreat with Joan Chittister, held at the Sheraton Bayfront Hotel in Erie. About one-half of the 36 participants had attended a previous retreat. One of them, Karen Huiberts, London, Ontario, explained, “I keep coming back because it feeds me like no other experience. We can share our life experiences, however painful, because it’s a safe place.” Another returnee, Barbara Litrell, Sedona, AZ, said, “I keep returning because I need to get my spirit regenerated and I need to have all my positions challenged. Because of this retreat I’m going home more mindful of the imperative to keep asking questions.” Brian St. Clair, Redlands, CA, who attended with his wife, Aadila Sabat-St. Clair, was the only male participant. “This is my first reader’s retreat,” said Brian, “and it’s such a rare experience to come together with people who appreciate this depth of spirituality. Anytime we get an opportunity to pool our wisdom is both miracle and gift. And ‘miracle and gift’ describes this retreat.”

Joan Chittister and Theresa Kane
Special Guest

A surprise guest—Theresa Kane, RSM—attended Joan Chittister’s presentation at Saint Boniface Church, Brooklyn, NY on Sunday, Sept. 30. The women are longtime friends having each served as President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and, over the years, working together when disputes arose with the Vatican. Sister Joan spoke to capacity crowds at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, Long Island, on Friday evening and again in Brooklyn on Sunday.

John McCain's funeral
A new column from Joan Chittister: For where you stand, stand up

Sister Joan begins her latest From Where I Stand column by saying, "I haven't been writing much about the state of things in the United States these past months. From where I stand, there simply has been almost nothing really good to say. At least not about U.S. politics." A few paragraphs later, she writes, "Until the funeral …" You can read the entire column, posted on NCRonline, by clicking here.

Joan Chittister Newsletters

One Minute with Joan Chittister

Oct 14, 2018

A Word from Joan

A woman of fire
Oct 15, 2018

October 15, Feast of St. Teresa of Ávila, Doctor of the Church

To be a woman is not easy in any period of history. The world is a male preserve, and women, it has apparently been decreed by someone, somewhere for his own convenience, are to be its caretakers, not its pioneers. To be a strong and idealistic woman is even worse. The problem is that caretaking is not usually the gift of dreamers who have an urge to change things, but if the dreamers are women, it is even worse.

Spirituality Resources

A Little Rule for Beginners: Insights into Benedictine Spirituality
A Little Rule for Beginners: Insights into Benedictine Spirituality

New from Joan Chittister

Since she was 16 years old Joan Chittister has had the Rule of Saint Benedict— known as a "little Rule for beginners" —read aloud to her each day, as is the custom in her community. In this artistic and accessible small book, she distills the wisdom of all that listening, choosing one line from each chapter of the Rule and then commenting briefly on the new understanding or new questions about God that it reveals.

Benetvision STORE

One of the many ways Benetvision pursues its mission as a research and resource center for contemporary spirituality is through a store where Joan Chittister’s books, newsletters, and recorded teachings are available for sale. When you buy from the Benetvision store, the proceeds help support the work of Sister Joan and her Benedictine community.