Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality

Sister Joan and participants in the Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality

A visit to the Joan Chittister Archive Room at Mercyhurst University in ErieNine young women who are graduate students or recent graduates in divinity, theology, religious studies or related programs participated in a pilot “Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality: A Feminist Benedictine Option” from June 17-29 at Mount St. Benedict Monastery. How did it go? Let the following photos and comments speak for themselves:
This Institute gave me hope for the Church, deep joy in community, the seeds of new thoughts and more.
This two weeks gave me the courage to find and use the voice God gave me
I hope that we can reach out to more feminist women who love the gospel and the Church and the tradition but feel alone in their quest
My hope is that women will continue to work together to encourage and support one another is speaking their truths
I am leaving the Institute with confidence to live into my calling as a feminist Catholic woman
Through this Institute I gained renewed faith, a new community, and a liberating sense of my womanhood
This institute strengthened my understanding of God and of myself by looking through the lens of Benedictine spirituality with emphasis on the Divine Feminine
Participants in session on the monastery grounds I am leaving the Institute knowing what it feels like to be part of a devoted, active, and spiritual Catholic community
​I feel a deeper sense of conviction about my value and place in the Church as well as the courage (I hope) to speak my truth
My truth is that I and all women are made in the image of God and that we cannot accept oppression by the masculine, hierarchical Church as doing so devalues both ourselves and God

I am called to be a prophetic voice and force in the healing and wholeness of the global Church
I believe that all people matter and until all voices are heard and honored, the church and the world suffer.  My role is to speak my truth and make a space for other people’s truths and to value them.

Photographers: Breanna Mekuly and Charlotte Anne Zalot, OSB.
Visiting a studio at St. Mary's: A Space to Create, part of Emmaus Ministries, Inc.
Participants work in a session led by Sister Joan Chittister