Monasteries of the Heart

Member photos from Monasteries of the Heart website
Member photos from Monasteries of the Heart website

Monasteries of the Heart brings the Rule of Benedict,
the person, and the community together to do again
in our own time what is needed to revive our spiritual energy,
our recognition of common values, and
a sense of vibrant and effective human community.
— Joan Chittister, creator and animator of Monasteries of the Heart

Monasteries of the Heart is a web-based movement sharing Benedictine spirituality with contemporary seekers.

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA, launched the movement in 2011 to address a growing cry, from an increasing number of seekers, for spiritual sustenance and for a sense of meaning and fulfillment in life. The movement is open to anyone—regardless, or even in the absence of a faith tradition--who desires to seek God through a Benedictine way of life.

The 10,000 international members of Monasteries of the Heart receive formation in the core elements of monastic life—prayer, lectio (sacred reading), good works, study and community—through a website created and managed by members of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA.

There are 58 Monasteries of the Heart communities registered on the website and they meet either
online, onsite or in prisons.

“For over 1,500 years Benedictine hospitality has provided a welcoming presence for diverse individuals who step through the monastery doors.” explained Joan Chittister, the creator and animator of the movement. “Now, through Monasteries of the Heart, this healing presence is carried beyond the monastery walls and into homes, and offices, and schools, and marketplaces, and prisons. Everywhere people are learning to live an ordinary life, extraordinarily well.”

The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life by Joan Chittister (BlueBridge) is the basic and inspirational text for the movement.

For more information on Monasteries of the Heart, click here. You must create a free member account to access all the content on the site.

From the Heart: letters from members of Monasteries of the Heart

For me, the main elements of the monastic tradition are what I'm looking for from MOH. And I find them here—lines from a Psalm, a short poem, a challenging good work, and the community conversations—it’s a beautiful mosaic.

I looked into the MOH
 website and was delighted to find this new community.
 I travel a lot, often working in different countries and different states
 when I am at home in the US. My husband is from Italy and so I'm never
 settled in one place for long, although lately I have been asking for a 
community, ready to alight someplace for a long while. I appreciate the new
 home that I will have with you at MOH and simply wanted to say thank you! I
 look forward to being together.

Like others, I have been waiting. I heard the invitation, rather the summons, years ago and started the walk. I left it. Now, the new desert is rich in quiet, solitude, barren simplicity. In this monastery of the heart, I am removing my shoes for this walk on holy ground.