Joan Chittister has been one of the church’s key visionary voices and spiritual leaders for more than thirty years. A Benedictine Sister of Erie, PA, Sister Joan is an international lecturer and award-winning author of more than 40 books.
She is the founder and executive director of Benetvision: a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality located in Erie. Currently she serves as co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the UN, facilitating a worldwide network of women peace builders, particularly in Israel and Palestine. She is also co-chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives with Rabbi Michael Lerner and Cornel West.
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.
Eight of her books have received awards from the Catholic Press Association, including a First Place Award in 2008 for Welcome to the Wisdom of the World. Her most recent book, The Gift of Years: growing older gracefully has been a consistent best seller since its release. Her 1990 book on monastic spirituality, Wisdom Distilled From the Daily, is considered a classic in contemporary spirituality.
Sister Joan has served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization of the leaders/superiors of the over 67,000 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 from Penn State University in speech communications theory.
Her many awards include: The Hans Kung Award from the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church; the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious; a Gold Aurora Award for Excellence in the Film and Video Industries for her Chicago Evening Club series; the Dr. Thomas A. Dooley Award from the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association; the U.S. Catholic Award for Furthering the Cause of Women in the Church and twelve honorary degrees from US colleges and universities.