Mercyhurst collaborates on Sister Joan Chittister Archival Project

Sister Joan Chittister

Mercyhurst University has joined in a collaborative effort to preserve and make accessible the papers of one of its most prominent graduates, Sister Joan D. Chittister, OSB.

Chittister, an internationally renowned writer and lecturer and one of the most articulate social analysts and influential religious leaders of this age, has established the archival collaboration that also includes Penn State University and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie.

The Joan D. Chittister Archive will be physically housed in The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, as part of the Penn State University Archives, the University Libraries. The Benedictine Sisters of Erie at Mount St. Benedict Monastery will maintain a permanent archives room with access to her books, articles and other memorabilia, while Mercyhurst will host public events and exhibitions documenting Chittister’s career.

Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D., professor of religious studies and director of the Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies at Mercyhurst, will oversee Mercyhurst’s involvement in the archive project. A longtime friend and colleague of Chittister, she edited a Festschrift in her honor, Spiritual Questions for the Twenty-First Century: Essays in Honor of Joan D. Chittister (Orbis Books, 2001).

Chittister graduated from Mercyhurst in 1962 and went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in speech communications theory from Penn State.

For more than 30 years, Chittister has dedicated herself to advocating for universal recognition of the critical questions impacting the global community, and she has received numerous awards and recognition for her work for justice, peace and equality, especially for women in church and in society. She currently serves as co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the U.N. that facilitates a worldwide network of women peace builders.

Chittister was prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for 12 years and also served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, representing leaders of more than 57,000 Catholic women religious in the United States, and as president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses. Currently, Chittister is the executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality located in Erie.

She has written more than 50 books, winning 13 Catholic Press Association awards. She writes a regular online column, “From Where I Stand,” for the National Catholic Reporter newspaper and for The Huffington Post.

Questions about the Joan D. Chittister Archive should be addressed to Mary Hembrow Snyder at 814-824-2502, msnyder@mercyhurst edu; Jackie R. Esposito, Penn State University Archivist, 814-863-1793,; or Sister Susan Doubet, research assistant,, 814-459-0314.





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