Mercyhurst has partnered with Penn State University and the Erie Benedictine Community to preserve the literary archives of Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, a 1962 Mercyhurst graduate. Chittister, who also earned a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate from Penn State University, 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.

While the archive is housed on Penn State’s main campus, both Mercyhurst and Mount St. Benedict maintain permanent archive rooms with access to her books, articles and other memorabilia. In addition, Mercyhurst will host an annual lecture series.

Both 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 Helen Boyle Memorial Archive in Honor of Joan D. Chittister, OSB, located on the fourth floor of Hammermill Library, features a 70" interactive touch screen. The display features Chittister’s life in pictures, her vita, her blogs, links to associated websites, videos and summaries of a selection of her books. The archive also includes a computer, which researchers can use to access her complete collections of books, articles, CDs of presentations and more.

The archive was dedicated April 30, 2014.

Chittister Lecture Series

2019 - Teri Bays

Joan Chittister: Her story, my story, our story
Friday, May 3, 7 p.m.
Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center
Mercyhurst University

Mercyhurst University’s Joan D. Chittister Lecture Series presents Joan Chittister: Her story, my story, our story, written and performed by Teri Bays, who calls it “a one-woman play about the intersecting lives of women facing adversity, abuse and injustice.”
Joan D. Chittister, OSB, will respond following the presentation.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available beginning Monday, April 22, at the PAC box office, which is open Monday-Friday noon-5 p.m. Limit two tickets per person. No tickets will be mailed or held.

For information, email Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder

2017 - Cokie Roberts

Author and political commentator Cokie Roberts and Joan D. Chittister, OSB – two progressive Catholic women whose voices are heard around the world – appeared “In Conversation” at Mercyhurst University on April 25, 2017. It was the third event of the Joan D. Chittister Lecture Series.

2015 - Maria Shriver

Author, journalist and former California First Lady Maria Shriver joined Joan D. Chittister, OSB, “In Conversation” on Thursday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Mercyhurst’s Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. This second installment of the Joan D. Chittister, OSB, Lecture Series brought together two women who share a passion for issues of peace and justice – especially as they affect women.

2014 - Tom Roberts

The Joan D. Chittister, OSB, Lecture Series launched April 30, 2014, with a presentation by Tom Roberts, an award-winning journalist and author of the biography Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith (2015).

Chittister with Oprah

On March 1, 2015, Joan D. Chittister, OSB, was the featured guest on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” series. Titled “Oprah and Sister Joan Chittister: A Life of Passion, Purpose and Joy,” the program aired OWN TV.