Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Catholic Visionary

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.