“In a period of great spiritual search, the world needs the kind of ancient spiritual tradition that can energize the present as it has the past. That,” said Sister Anne Wambach, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, “is the Benedictine charism.”
With this in mind the Benedictine Sisters of Erie have initiated Monasteries of the Heart: A New Movement for a New World.
“The Benedictine way of life has lasted for over 1,500 years because it has adapted to the times,” Sister Anne explained. “Monasteries of the Heart is one more adaptation of this spirituality. We believe Benedictine life has something to offer to today’s search for community, spirituality, meaningful work, care of creation and peace.”
Monasteries of the Heart is a new form of Benedictine life for our time. It is a monastic movement for lay people designed to respond to the great hunger and thirst for spirituality that exists in today’s world.
Monasteries of the Heart is a monastery “without walls” — it unites individuals and groups by Benedictine values not necessarily geographic location. MOH provides individual seekers a monastic website for spiritual sustenance and personal growth. It provides both creativity and stability by enabling community groups to form both an online and by the formation of small on-site communities of like-minded seekers who meet in parishes, homes, neighborhoods and prisons.
Monasteries of the Heart began in April 2011 as an outreach of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. It was launched in conjunction with the publication of the movement’s basic text, The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life by Erie Benedictine Joan Chittister.
Erie Benedictine Mary Lou Kownacki, coordinator of the new movement, explains, “This is a response to requests that we’ve received to develop a new form of Benedictine spirituality for a new face of society. Monasteries of the Heart welcomes seekers of God everywhere.”