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Maria Shriver joins Joan Chittister ‘In Conversation’

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sister Joan Chittister, Maria Shriver

UPDATED: APRIL 8 - "Blue" tickets for the "In Conversation" live stream at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center (MAC) will be available at the MAC door the night of the event. They can still be obtained at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) today and Thursday during regular box office hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Doors to both venues will open Thursday evening at 6:30.

UPDATED MARCH 23 - Overflow parking will be available at St. Luke Church, just west of Mercyhurst on E. 38th St.

UPDATED MARCH 19 - Tickets  for the Maria Shriver, Joan Chittister, OSB, “In Conversation” event in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Mercyhurst University sold out in four hours. To accommodate the overflow crowd, Mercyhurst has made arrangements to screen a live feed to the Mercyhurst Athletic Center (MAC). Free tickets may be obtained at the PAC box office, which is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets to the live-stream program in the MAC will be blue; tickets for the sold-out PAC engagement are orange. No one will be admitted to either venue without a ticket.

Two women who share a passion for issues of peace and justice – especially as they affect women – will share the stage when Mercyhurst University hosts the second annual Joan D. Chittister Lecture on April 9.

Author, journalist and former California First Lady Maria Shriver will join Joan D. Chittister, OSB, “In Conversation” on Thursday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Mercyhurst’s Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.

While the two come from vastly different backgrounds, they became good friends after Eunice Kennedy Shriver introduced her daughter to Chittister’s writings. Shriver invited Chittister to serve on the planning committee for two editions of her groundbreaking Shriver Reports on issues affecting women. Chittister was also a major speaker at The California Women's Conference Shriver hosted in 2008.

The April 9 event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. They will be available beginning March 18 from the box office of the performing arts center. There is a two-ticket limit; no tickets will be mailed or held. The box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and an hour prior to scheduled performances. For information, call 814-824-3000.

About the speakers:

Shriver is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Since 2009, Shriver has produced a series of Shriver Reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in the American culture and society affecting women today. The most recent – titled A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink – explores the new reality that 1 in 3 American women lives on or over the brink of poverty.

Shriver was California’s First Lady from 2003 to 2010 and, during that time, she spearheaded what became the nation’s premier forum for women, The Women’s Conference. Shriver’s work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change — people who see a problem in their own lives or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution.

Read more about other recent Shriver projects and follow her blog – I’ve Been Thinking - at

Joan Chittister, OSB, is a Mercyhurst graduate who later earned a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate from Penn State University. She has been an articulate social analyst and influential religious leader for 40 years, advocating for justice, peace and equality in church and society, especially for women.

She’s an award-winning author of more than 50 books and 700 articles, and writes a regular column, “From Where I Stand,” for The National Catholic Reporter and for the Huffington Post. Her latest book, Between the Dark and the Daylight, will be released in February by Random House. She recently partnered with Brother Mickey McGrath for the 2015 issues of The Monastic Way, a monthly subscription publication designed to nourish spiritual growth.

She 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.

She was prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for 12 years and is now executive director of Benetvision, a research and resource center for contemporary spirituality. She is the animator of Monasteries of the Heart, a web-based movement sharing Benedictine spirituality with contemporary seekers.

Visit for updates on Chittister’s activities.

About the Chittister Lecture Series:

Mercyhurst’s Joan D. Chittister Lecture Series began in 2014, when Mercyhurst also dedicated the Helen Boyle Memorial Archive in Honor of Joan D. Chittister, OSB, in Hammermill Library. The archive space at Mercyhurst and the lecture series have been endowed by the Boyle Family in honor of Helen Loebelenz Boyle, Mercyhurst Class of 1934, a longtime friend of Sister Joan.

For information, contact Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D., professor of religious studies and director of the Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies at Mercyhurst, at