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New Mercyhurst archive, lecture series honors Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mercyhurst University will inaugurate its Joan D. Chittister Lecture Series with an April 30 talk by Tom Roberts, author of the forthcoming biography “Sacred Uncertainties: A Journey with Sister Joan Chittister.”

His talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center and is free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, Sister Joan will be on hand as Mercyhurst dedicates the Helen Boyle Memorial Archive in Honor of Joan D. Chittister, OSB, on its campus.

Mercyhurst is partnering with Penn State University and the Erie Benedictine Community to preserve the literary archives of Sister Joan, a 1962 Mercyhurst graduate. While the archive will be housed on Penn State’s main campus, both Mercyhurst and Mount St. Benedict will maintain permanent archive rooms with access to her books, articles and other memorabilia. In addition, Mercyhurst will host the annual lecture series.

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.

The Boyle Memorial Archive, on the fourth floor of Mercyhurst’s Hammermill Library, will feature a 70" interactive touch screen where visitors can learn about Sister Joan. The display will feature her life in pictures, her vita, her blogs, links to associated websites, videos and summaries of a selection of her books. The archive will also include a computer, which researchers can use to access her complete collections of books, articles, CDs of presentations and more.

Joan Chittister, OSB, who also earned a master’s degree from Notre Dame and a doctorate from Penn State, 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. 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.

Tom Roberts, whose biography of Sister Joan will be published by Orbis Books, also wrote “The Emerging Catholic Church: A Community’s Search for Itself” (Orbis, 2011).

A national award-winning journalist, he joined the National Catholic Reporter, the independent newsweekly, in January 1994, first serving as managing editor and then as editor. Under his leadership the paper received the General Excellence award, the highest honor given by the Catholic Press Association, for eight consecutive years, and received numerous awards for investigative reporting, editorial writing and design.

In September 2008, Roberts became editor at large, a move that provides the opportunity to do more extensive reporting and writing.

For more information about the Chittister lecture or archive, contact Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D., msnyder@mercyhurst.edu or 814-824-3105.

View photos here:

Album One - Reception

Album Two - Dedication