A Litany to Sr. Joan Chittister (… no… really!)

You’ve seen the recent stories about leaders of US women religious being summoned to Rome for to explain the situation.

On the heals of another such story today (HERE) comes this, which I spotted at Church Militant.

Apparently the US weird sisters are now praying TO – not for – our old pal Sr. Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B. Perhaps it was her Triumph in Tahir Square that put them over the edge.  Or could it have been the Zoom to Zuccotti Park?

The Self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagians of Sr. Joan’s community thinks very highly of her, it seems.


But this “Vortex” isn’t really about her directly; it’s about something that was sent in to us about the group of women religious — the Benedictine community in Erie, Pennsylvania of which she has been prioress — that — are you sitting down? — actually composed a prayer to Sr. Joan.

Not for Sr. Joan, not about Sr. Joan — but to her.

We have the whole text available down below, but here’s a sample: “Joan, a life ablaze, an illuminated life, a heart of flesh, who made the great lights, sun and moon for God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

Or how about this one?” Joan, a high spiritual season, a gift of years, a wind of change, by understanding made the heavens for God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

In other parts, she is credited for and prayed to for leading the people through the wilderness, for being a living liturgy, for spreading out the earth on the waters — which, when you stop to think about it, is really small potatoes if she made the sun and the moon. I mean, c’mon. If you can make the sun and the moon, what’s especially praiseworthy about spreading the earth upon the waters?

This prayer is used communally, as can easily be seen on the sheet asking for “participants” to respond. It is a reworking (a bastardization is more like it) of Psalm 136, renamed as a “litany” to Joan.

We aren’t making this stuff up, folks. Honest to Heavens, it’s right there. We’ve attached it down below, gotten straight from the New Age foundry, er, I mean, convent.

The prayer is HERE. WARNING – Put down your Mystic Monk coffee.


You can’t make this stuff up.

That reminds me… I have to get my application in again to attend the LCWR annual meeting.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tantum Ergo says:

    “I have to get my application in again to attend the LCWR annual meeting.”

    Can I go too? huh-huh-huh? I’ve got this really cool 9 ft. puppet I’d like Sr. Joan to bless. Not only that, but I’ve got a brand new electric accordion. I can play, but do you do folk Mass karaoke?

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Nobody could possibly review this litany fittingly, unless it be the late Dorothy Parker (and God be good to her, poor soul), or Simon Cowell.

    To be fair, some of the “titles” in this hell-begotten “litany” are actually titles of Chittister’s books. However, this also is weird and creepy. If somebody went up to Steven King and started chanting, “Steven… The Stand, It, Eye of the Dragon, Misery,” he would up and run away!

    Also, while this litany does a hostile takeover of Psalm 136, it doesn’t actually ask Sr. Joan to do anything. It just praises her as if the Psalmist thought she were God and had written the Psalm for her. So technically, it’s not even a litany. It’s a sacrilegious rewrite of Psalm 136. At least the Roman Empire was worshipping an emperor, not a nonfiction author.

    O Lord, spare your people.

  3. Adaquano says:

    Sounds like I know for whom I’m offering my rosary today

  4. gramma10 says:

    Thank you for the heads up!
    This woman is dangerous. I once read an article by her and noticed the subtle lies in it and my radar went up.
    I think she writes a column for OSV.
    Do they realize that she only confusing clueless Catholics more?
    How can we get her outta here?
    She is a wolf in sheeps clothing.
    We need to teach people to recognize these deceitful pawns of satan.

  5. TNCath says:

    Surely someone as humble and demure as Sr. Joan Chittister would protest such attention paid to her! Surely! Surely! I know…Don’t call her Surely! Call her Joan!

  6. pelerin says:

    ‘Who made the great lights sun and the moon?’ Surely this is blasphemous as I don’t remember her name being mentioned in Genesis as having made the sun and the moon.

    And ‘who alone does great wonders’ – definitely blasphemy.

  7. pelerin says:

    I see Sr Chittister has a website where she is described as ‘One of America’s visionary spiritual voices for more than 30 years.’ Oh dear.

    Investigating further I found an article entitled ‘Language problems in Church’. Thinking this must be about Latin v English or perhaps the new translation I clicked on only to find it was a criticism of the Church using terms like ‘Brotherly love’ ‘For us men’ etc . She really does seem to have a bee in her bonnet (or wimple) about women being regarded in her eyes as second class citizens because of the generic term of ‘mankind’ which even as a schoolgirl I understood represented all people and never thought otherwise.

  8. I recall an ordination of some diocesan priests at which could be heard, during the litany of saints:

    “Che Guevara: pray for us!”

  9. iamlucky13 says:

    “which even as a schoolgirl I understood represented all people and never thought otherwise.”

    It boggles my mind that people are confused about the universal nature of terms like “mankind.”

    The military is even dropping terms like airman and seaman, because somebody in the general staff somewhere has gotten it in their head that the terms are somehow gender exclusive.

  10. Kerry says:

    “Oh Mother Sea, giver of fish, taker of boats, toilet to the world! The Greeks call you Poseidon! The Romans… …Aquaman! Look into thy starfish heart and protect our souls so we might live to go tubing on thee again!”

  11. TMKent says:

    During my post-conciliar childhood (1970’s) in the Erie Diocese, I was indoctrinated by her and her followers (I no longer think of them as Benedictines). They all talked longingly of going home to “The Mount” to see her and my mother would say she was evil and a witch. It took me years to understand the damage these woman had done to the children entrusted to their teaching. I watched as once good and holy sisters gave in to her skewed view while others escaped and still others suffered nervous breakdowns. By the time I graduated high school, I knew more than a few of the remaining sisters who were “out of the closet”. I returned home to PA a couple years ago only to see some old woman on the news circling a murder scene in Erie with a burning sage “smudge stick” and listened while the reporter identified her as a “Benedictine Sister of Erie”. I was not the least bit shocked.

  12. wmeyer says:

    Appalling. And yet, unsurprising, if you know the nature of this mob.

    It surely is a measure of just how far off the rails, reservation, or whatever, they truly are. If they pray to Sr. Joan, then I must doubt whether they pray any longer to the God we know from our faith. What next? The Litany of Fr. Rohr?

  13. un-ionized says:

    That link is to a pdf file. Where does that come from?

  14. HeatherPA says:

    And this is yet another reason why if our son discerns a priestly calling to vocation, we are going to strongly encourage him to the FSSP and not our home diocese of Erie. Sigh.

    We had a brush with Sister Joan when we first came to the parish we currently are at some years ago. Our priest was new also, and he ended her ever coming again to “speak” at women’s retreats after he incredulously saw the above “prayer” to Joan and stopped it from being “prayed”. He was appalled to say the very least.

  15. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    True story: Back in 2010, a liturgical dance troupe, Credo, performed for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Boston. Credo’s leader was a self-proclaimed “community ordained” woman priest. She read this prayer as part of an Advent service at the Fontbonne Convent:

    “God is depending on us for the mending
    The loving and caring and healing and such
    And gives us creation and freedom and wisdom And prays that we use them
    For loving and caring and healing to touch
    One another
    God sent are we. Oh, and God sending.”
    By Kathleen M. Henry

  16. Jerry says:

    HeatherPA – do I understand correctly that you can tie the prayer to Sr. Joan? Mr. Vorie provides no such evidence.

  17. HeatherPA says:

    I can say that this prayer was part of the handouts at a women’s retreat in the Erie Diocese, and that this happened some years ago, not recently.
    Bishop Trautman was the bishop then, I know he was made aware of it at that time.

  18. HeatherPA says:

    It looks like there is commentor over at the church militant site that is also stating that this happened at a retreat 10 years ago in Erie diocese. I don’t think Sr. Joan is doing retreats anymore, maybe she is getting too old to travel around the diocese.

  19. NBW says:

    Totally heretical. They are heretical nuts, and should be removed. Sorry I can’t come up with something witty, am too busy having a spit flecked nutty.

  20. Geoffrey says:

    Someone should tell these gals that it is time for them to emerge from the dark ages. The Nova Vulgata’s “quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius” of Psalm 135 (136) is now translated as “for his mercy endures forever”, in both The Revised Grail Psalms (2010) and the Second Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (2006). Get with the times! Sheesh!

  21. frjim4321 says:

    I don’t like almost any “homemade” prayers. The whole idea of somebody writing a prayer for other people to read/say is pretty absurd to me.

    Now, I would have to observe that they correctly disclaimed this as an “Interpolation.”

  22. misternaser says:

    Actually, it says it’s an “extrapolation” of Psalm 136. I’d like to think they meant “interpolation,” but considering Merriam-Webster’s second definition for “extrapolation” is “to project, extend, or expand into an area not known or experienced so as to arrive at a usually conjectural knowledge,” perhaps it wasn’t a mistake in terms….

  23. Benedict Joseph says:

    Liberalism is a mental disorder. Confirmed — again, and again…

  24. GreggW says:

    This bizarre prayer reminded me that I have read that some Montanists began referring to Montanus as the Holy Spirit, including his name in invocations to the Trinity. But that seems to have been some time after his death, not while he was still alive.

  25. Elizabeth D says:

    Joan Chittister is a remarkable person, and a skilled deceiver adept at putting on a mantle of Catholic tradition, but in fact she is explicit at certain moments that her project is actually a NEW CHURCH. For instance in the forward she wrote to a book by another dissident sister (The Feminization of the Church? by Sr Kaye Ashe OP Sinsinawa) she wrote about the new church formed through dissent “it’s a new church whether anyone wants it to be or not.” But this is the first I’ve see that she is literally a focal point of “religious” devotion in the new church.

  26. JerrytheYTPer says:

    I am a student at one of the colleges she graduated from and it annoys me how everyone at my school seems to be OBSESSED with “Sister” Joan. Most of what she says sounds like new age garbage. Then again, one must remember the previous Bishop of Erie, Trautman, was a student of Karl Rahner, so that may explain why the Erie Benedictines can get away with so much.

  27. AndrewPaul says:

    I know leftists and heterodexes of other Christian faiths who would barf at this.

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