A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Pennsylvania, Joan Chittister is a best-selling author and well-known international lecturer on topics of justice, peace, human rights, women's issues and contemporary spirituality in the church and in society. She presently serves as the co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the United Nations, facilitating a worldwide network of women peace builders, especially in the Middle East. Chittister has won 14 CPA awards for her books. Her most recent include Between the Dark and the Daylight (Random House), Two Dogs and a Parrot (Blue Bridge, 2015) and In God’s Holy Light (Franciscan Media, 2015). A biography, Joan Chittister: Her journey from certainty to faith, by NCR’s Tom Roberts, was released in 2015 by Orbis Books. Chittister is the founder and executive director of Benetvision, a resource center for contemporary spirituality in Erie.

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Blessed are the merciful — for our sakes

Joan Chittister: "Blessed are the merciful," the fifth beatitude contends, "for they shall receive mercy." Jesus says that the kind of mercy we give will be the kind of mercy we get when we need it. Mercy is not an event; it is a way of being in the world.


Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness — for they shall boil over

Joan Chittister: I saw recent hints that our country — after years of protests about police brutality, women's equal rights, justice for all — may be beginning to boil over.


Blessed are those who mourn now — and do something to make it better

Joan Chittister: We must allow ourselves to face, to mourn, what is happening to our lives, to our country, to our church. And the Beatitudes are clear: What we ourselves do will be what will "comfort" our mourning.


The choice between happiness and reward: Blessed are the poor in spirit

Joan Chittister: Without poverty of spirit, simplicity of desire, or contentment with enoughness, there can be no awareness of the riches that come with simply being alive, of being loved and loving earth and all in return.