The Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh Enliven the Community


By Paula Green

        For the past 147 years, the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh have been a renowned part of our community.  The Sisters live by the Rule of St. Benedict.  Their order was established on Aug. 20, 1870 in Carrolltown Pa., in Cambria County.

        In 1885, the Sisters established a monastery on Canal Street on Pittsburgh’s Northside.  They moved their monastery to Ross Township in 1927, and in 1936 they opened a secondary girl’s high school called St.  Benedict Academy.  The school remained opened until it shuttered its doors in 1985.  Five years ago, the Benedictine Sisters moved to their new home located at 3526 Bakerstown Road in Bakerstown, Pa.   

       As they broadened their ministries to include human and social services as well as their involvement in education, their commitment to the Benedictine charism and mission continued to guide them.

      “We have 43 Sisters in our order and we’re well-known in the community.  One of our main focuses has been working with some of the North Hills schools and churches.  We have been involved with St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Perrysville for 111 years now, and St. Athanasius Parish in West View for nearly 100 years,” said Sister Karen Brink, Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh.

       The Benedictines have been involved with numerous community projects.  “We sponsor a Bonanza Raffle in June, and a fundraising picnic in August.  We have two Sisters in Greene County in our Waynesburg location that run an ongoing ‘Heart ‘N Soles’ shoe drive.  Greene is one of the poorest counties in the state,” Sister Karen noted.

       “We also have a program called ‘Angels in Overalls.’  This nonprofit assists the poor by providing them with furniture, emergency repairs and necessities for family living,” Sister added.

     “Our big upcoming appeal is our 2nd annual gala. ‘The Moonlight Serenade Gala’ supports the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh, and is a fundraiser for the benefit of the community.  During that evening we’ll be honoring the National Religious Retirement office.  We’ll pay tribute to those who have been a part of this program, and those who have contributed to it,” remarked Sister Karen.

      Another person that will be honored posthumously that evening is Mr. Patrick “Frank” Meehan.  Meehan will be bestowed with the Culture of Giving award for his many years as a beloved member of the Allegheny community.

      The Moonlight Serenade Gala will be held 6-11 p.m., on May 6 at the PNC Champions Club at Heinz Field.  The evening festivities include – dinner, dancing, surprise raffles, entertainment featuring the Tania Grubbs Quartet and the music of Glenn Miller.

       Tickets for raffles and to the event are available to the public.  If interested, contact the director of the Office of Community Advancement, Elizabeth Tamburri at (724) 502-2597, or visit