Skip to main content

Positions, publications and awards


• Columnist “From Where I Stand” (National Catholic Reporter)

• Executive Director, Benetvision: Research and Resource Center for Contemporary Spirituality

• Animating force for Monasteries of the Heart, a web-based movement sharing Benedictine spirituality with contemporary seekers

• Co-Chair, The Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders, 2002-present

• Board of Directors, Emmaus Ministries, Inc., 1990-present

• President, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), 1976-77

• President, Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses, 1974-90

• President, Federation of St. Scholastica, 1971-78

• Prioress, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, 1978-90

• U.S. Councilor-Delegate, International Union of Superiors General, 1982-86

• Executive Board, Ecumenical and Cultural Institute, St. John's University, Collegeville, MN, 1976-96

• Board of Directors, National Catholic Reporter, 1983-2000

• Board of Directors, Alliance for International Monasticism, (AIM) 1990-2000

• Executive Director, Alliance for International Monasticism, (AIM) 1990-91

• Member, Council of Conscience for the Charter of Compassion, (TED Sponsored) 2008-present

• Abrahamic Advisory Committee, Chautauqua Institution, 2006-present

• Co-Chair, US Catholic Committee, Project Global 2000, Global Education Associates, 1991-94

• Member, Board of Trustees, Global Education Associates, 1981-93

• Member, Home Rule Charter Review Committee, Erie County Council, 1988-90

• Member, Board of Corporators, Hamot Health Systems, Inc., 1984-88

• Member, International Monastic Commission for the celebration of the Sesquimillennium of Benedictinism, 1978-80

• Board of Corporators, St. Vincent Foundation for Health and Human Services, 1986-2000

• Board of Trustees, Erie Community Foundation, 1993-2002.

• Member, Advisory Committee for the Seventh Mother Emanuel AME Commemoration Service for the Martyred. (2022)

• Member, Niwano Peace Foundation, Tokyo, Japan, 2003-2006; Vice-Chair 2004-2006

• Advisor, "A Woman's Nation," report, (led by Maria Shriver) 2009 

• Former Fellow at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge University, England

• Contributor to The Huffington Post


Honorary Doctorates:

Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA

Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH

St. Michael College, Colchester, VT

Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL

Barry University, Miami Shores, FL

St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN

Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

St. Leo College, St. Leo, FL

Loyola University, New Orleans, LA

Loyola University, Chicago, IL

St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN

Villa Maria College, Erie, PA

Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA

Civic, Academic and Religious Awards (selected sample):

2021- Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice, Paulist Center, Boston

2019 - AIM (Advancing Image and Mission) Award by Communicators for Women Religious (CWR)

2017 - Athena Leadership Award, Erie Chapter of International Athena Organization, Erie, PA

2016 - The Spirit of Mary Magdalene Award, Call to Action Western Washington, Olympia Branch

2015 – Edward C. Doll Community Service Award, Erie Community Foundation, Erie

2014 – Thomas B. Hagen Dignitas Award, Jefferson Educational Society, Erie

2014 – Dedication of Helen Boyle Memorial Archive in Honor of Joan D. Chittister and inauguration of annual Joan D. Chittister Lecture Series, Mercyhurst University, Erie

2013 – Spirit, Faith and Action Award,

2011 – Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Clubs International.

2010 – Call to Action-PA-21st Century Prophet Award

2007 – Hans Kung Award, Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church

2007 - Outstanding Leadership Award, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)

2005 - Dr. Thomas A. Dooley Award, University of Notre Dame Alumni Association

2001 - Thomas Merton Award, Merton Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

2000 - Distinguished Alumni Award, Penn State University.

1997 - Notre Dame Alumni Association Women's Award of Achievement

1992 - U.S. Catholic Award for Furthering the Cause of Women in the Church. U.S. Catholic Magazine, Chicago, IL.

1992 - Catharine of Siena Award, Congregation of St. Catharine of Siena of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, KY.

1991 - Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA.

1990 - Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award, Pax Christi National Assembly.

Catholic Press Association Awards:

Two Dogs and a Parrot, 2016

From Where I Stand, Blog, NCR 2016

The Way of the Cross, 2013

The Monastery of the Heart, 2012 (2)

Happiness, 2012

God’s Tender Mercy, 2011.

The Gift of Years, 2009.

Welcome to the Wisdom of the World, 2008

The Way We Were, 2006

Called to Question, 2005

In the Heart of the Temple, 2005

The Friendship of Women, 2001

A Passion for Life, 1997

There is a Season, 1996

Other Writing/Communication Awards:

2018 - January 2018 Book to Live By, for Radical Spirit, Women on Fire

2017 - Best Spirituality Books of 2017, for Radical Spirit, Spirituality and Practice Magazine

2017 - Best Books of 2017, for Radical Spirit, Spirituality and Health Magazine

2016 - Best Books of 2016, for Two Dogs and a Parrot, Spirituality and Health Magazine

2015 – The Best Spirituality Books of 2015, for Between the Dark and the Daylight, Spirituality and Practice

2015 – Illumination Book Award for Joan Chittister: Essential Writings

2015 - The Best Spirituality Books of 2014, for Joan Chittister: Essential Writings, Spirituality and Practice

2010 – 2010 Retailer’s Choice Award-Christian Retailers, The Liturgical Year

2008 – Award of Excellence, “30 Good Minutes,” Religion Communicators Council

2007 - National Indie Excellence Book Award for The Ten Commandments: Laws of the Heart.

2006 - Gold Aurora Award for "30 Good Minutes" - Excellence in film and video industries.

2005 - The Best Spirituality Books of 2004, for In the Heart of the Temple; Spirituality and Health magazine.

2004 - Associated Church Press, Seasonal Article, Honorable Mention for US Catholic cover story: "Can You Rise to the Easter Challenge?"

2003 - Best General Interest Award for 2003, Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope. Association of Theological Booksellers.




  • Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light, Orbis
  • In God’s Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics, Franciscan Media
  • A Little Rule for Beginners: Insights into Benedictine Spirituality, Benetvision
  • Living the Rule Today: A Series of Conferences on the Rule of Benedict, Benet Press
  • The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life, BlueBridge
  • A Radical Christian Life: A Year with Saint Benedict, Liturgical Press
  • Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life, Random House
  • The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Crossroad
  • Wisdom Distilled from Daily: Living the Rule of Benedict Today, Harper Collins
  • The Monastic Heart: 50 Simple Practices for a Contemplative and Fulfilling Life, Random House



  • The Fire in These Ashes: A Spirituality of Contemporary Religious Life, Rowman & Littlefield
  • The Way We Were: A Story of Conversion and Renewal, Orbis
  • What Are You Looking For? Seeking the God who is Seeking You, Paulist Press



  • The Art of Life: Monastic Wisdom for Every Day
  • Aspects of the Heart: The Many Paths to a Good Life
  • The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer
  • God’s Tender Mercy: Reflections on Forgiveness
  • Our Holy Yearnings: Life Lessons for Becoming Our Truest Selves
  • The Sacred In-Between: Spiritual Wisdom for Life’s Every Moment
  • Songs of the Heart: Reflections on the Psalms
  • We Are All One: Reflections on Unity, Community and Commitment to Each Other
  • Grace-filled Moments with Sr. Joan: 365 Reflections on Life, Loss, Healing and Joy



  • Becoming Fully Human: The Greatest Glory of God, Rowman & Littlefield
  • Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the contradictions of life, Random House
  • Beyond Beijing: The Next Step for Women, Rowman & Littlefield
  • Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir, Rowman & Littlefield


  • An Evolving God, An Evolving Purpose, An Evolving World (My Theology, 10), Fortress Press 
  • Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose and Joy, Random House
  • The Friendship of Women: The Hidden Tradition of the Bible, BlueBridge
  • The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully, Blue Bridge
  • Gospel Days: Reflections for Every Day of the Year, Orbis


  • Happiness, Eerdmans
  • Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men, Eerdmans
  • In the Heart of the Temple: My Spiritual Vision for Today’s World, BlueBridge
  • In a High Spiritual Season, Liguori
  • In Search of Belief, Liguori
  • Job’s Daughters: Women and Power, Paulist 


  • Life Ablaze: A Woman’s Novena, Rowman & Littlefield
  • Light in the Darkness: New Reflections on the Psalms, Crossroad
  • Listen with the Heart: Sacred Moments in Everyday Life, Rowman & Littlefield
  • The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins
  • Living Well: Scriptural Reflections for Every Day, Orbis


  • A Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God, Orbis
  • The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year, Crossroad
  • Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope, Eerdmans
  • Seeing with Our Souls: Monastic Wisdom for Every Day, Rowman & Littlefield 
  • Songs of Joy: New Meditations on the Psalms, Crossroad
  • The Story of Ruth: Twelve Moments in Every Woman’s Life, Eerdmans


  • The Ten Commandments: Laws of the Heart, Orbis
  • The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims, with Waskow and Chishti, Beacon Press.
  • There is a Season and For Everything a Season, Orbis
  • The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage, Random House
  • Two Dogs and a Parrot: What Our Animal Friends Can Teach Us About Life, BlueBridge
  • Uncommon Gratitude, Liturgical Press


  • The Way of the Cross: The Path to New Life, Orbis
  • Welcome to the Wisdom of the World: And Its Meaning for You, Eerdmans
  • Winds of Change: Women Challenge the Church, Roman & Littlefield
  • Womanstrength: Modern church, Modern women, Rowman & Littlefield
  • Women, Ministry and the Church, Paulist


  • Awakenings: Prophetic Reflections, Kownacki, Snyder, Orbis
  • Dear Joan: Conversations with Women in the Church, Bazan, Twenty-Third
  • Joan Chittister: Essential Writings, Kownacki, Snyder, Orbis
  • Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith, Roberts, Orbis
  • Joan Chittister: In My Own Words, Kownacki, Liguori
  • Spiritual Questions of the 21st Century: Essays in honor of Joan D. Chittister, Snyder, Orbis
  • From the Writings of Joan Chittister: On Women, Benetvision
  • From the Writings of Joan Chittister: 38 Personal Stories to Transform a Life, Benetvision


OTHER MEDIA (selected sample):

•Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, May 2019

•CBS Religion & Culture:The Wisdom of Our Elders, 2016

Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, March 2015.

•PBS Religion and Faith, Interview, 2013

Point du Jour, Paris, Video interview, 2013.

•NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday with Liane Hansen, 2010, 2008.

"Meet the Press with Tim Russert," 2006.

•Papal funeral, election and inaugural, commentator and reporter: BBC Radio and the National Catholic Reporter 2005.

"Now with Bill Moyers," 2004.

Over 700 articles by Joan Chittister have been published in periodicals such as America, Commonweal, US Catholic, Sojourners, Origins, Catholic World, Sun, Notre Dame magazine, Liguorian, Religion and Intellectual Life, Weavings, Lutheran Women Today, The Way (England), Religious Life Review (Ireland) and The Tablet (London).

Joan has had more than sixty chapters, forewords, introductions and afterwords in other authors' books.


Through the UN-sponsored Global Peace Initiative of Women, Religious and Spiritual Leaders, and independent programs she has been involved in programs in: Bhutan, Kenya, Egypt, Mexico, Philippines, India, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Jordan, Taiwan, Iraq, Denmark, South Africa, Ireland, England, Spain, Australia and numerous other countries.