Joan Chittister has been one of America's key visionary spiritual voices for more than thirty years. Sister Joan, a social psychologist and communications theorist with a doctorate from Penn State University, is a best selling author and well-known international lecturer.
A regular columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, Sister Joan has received 11 honorary degrees and awards (including the Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State in 2000) and recognition from countless organizations for her work for justice, peace and equality, especially for women in the Church and in society.
Currently she serves as co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the UN, facilitating a worldwide network of women peace builders, particularly in Israel and Palestine. She was a keynote speaker at their October 2002 conference at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
In September 2004 she attended and addressed the Pan-Asian Youth Summit in Hiroshima. In March, as a founding member of the inter-religious International Committee for the Peace Council, she was in Thailand as a chair for the conference, "Women and Religions: Advancing Gender Equity in a Globalized World." In 1995 she attended the Fourth UN Conference of Women in Beijing and, in 1999, the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently a member of the international and inter-religious Niwano Peace Foundation in Tokyo, Japan who award the prestigious annual Niwano Peace Prize.
In 1996 she was an invited fellow and research associate at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge University. In 2001 she held the Brueggeman Chair of Ecumenical Theology at Xavier University. Sister Joan earned her M.A. in Communication Arts from the University of Notre Dame.
Four of her 30 books have received awards from the Catholic Press Association. Her most recent books include: CALLED TO QUESTION, A SPIRITUAL MEMOIR; and SCARRED BY STRUGGLE, TRANSFORMED BY HOPE. Her 1990 book on monastic spirituality, WISDOM DISTILLED FROM THE DAILY, is considered a classic in contemporary spirituality.
She has served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, (an organization of the leaders/superiors of the over 75,000 Catholic religious women in the U.S.), president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses (1974-90), and was prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for 12 years.
She is the founder and executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality located in Erie, Pennsylvania.