The question that has dogged Joan Chittister her entire life is: What does it mean to live a spiritual life today?
It is the question that drives her prolific writings, her teachings and her public conversations with both church and society. As part of that search she founded Benetvision: a research and resource center for contemporary spirituality.
An outreach of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA, Benetvision has served people internationally for over 25 years with publications, retreat offerings, book discussions, a ministry to prisoners, and a store where Joan Chittister’s books, newsletters and recorded teachings are available to all.
It is also the question that led her to focus her greatest spiritual passion on the plight of women worldwide. A fearless advocate for women’s rights, she has consistently confronted the patriarchal church on its sin of sexism and championed equality for women in all of society. A strong feminist, she has insisted that feminism is necessary to ensure the healthy spiritual development of both men and women. A visionary leader, she has shown the connections between justice for women, for world peace, and for the environment As co-chair of the Global Initiative for Women, Sister Joan has traveled the globe to weaken reactionary forces and campaign tirelessly for increased religious access for women in all religions.
As theologian Chung Hyun Kyung noted, “Joan Chittister showed us how a woman with integrity could reconcile faith and feminism and thrive in one’s own religious tradition no matter how oppressive it is. She taught us how to own our power and act from that power for greater justice, peace, and democracy."