Archive opens in honor of Sister Joan D. Chittister

“Everything we do changes the future, not the past. We all have a responsibility to do this,” noted Sister Joan D. Chittister in her remarks at the recent dedication of the Helen Boyle Memorial Archive in Honor of Joan D. Chittister, OSB at Mercyhurst University in the Hammermill Library in Erie, Pennsylvania. Chittister, an internationally renowned writer and lecturer, is one of the most articulate social analysts and influential religious leaders of this age. In 2013, The Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State, Mercyhurst University in Erie and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie began a collaboration to archive and make accessible books, articles, reviews, presentations, speeches, homilies, interviews and newspaper columns related to her life and work.

Among the displays of photos and archival materials in the Boyle archive are copies of the 50 books authored by Chittister and a number of her hand-written journals. The room also includes a 70-inch screen to allow for an interactive experience. More on the dedication is available online.

A Joan D. Chittister Archive also is housed in The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, as part of the Penn State University Archives, in the University Libraries. A Distinguished Alumna with a doctorate in speech communications theory from Penn State, a bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst University and a master’s from the University of Notre Dame, Chittister was an elected fellow of St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge University. She also has served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, (representing leaders of more than 57,000 Catholic women religious in the United States) as well as president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses. She was prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for 12 years. Currently, Chittister is the executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality located in Erie.

Questions about the Joan D. Chittister Archive should be addressed to: Jackie R. Esposito, Penn State University archivist, 814-863-1793, or Mary Snyder, chair of mercy and Catholic studies, Mercyhurst University, 814-824-2502,

Last Updated May 14, 2014