Joan Chittister, OSB is an author and international speaker on subjects of spirituality, peace, religious life and justice for all people, especially women and the poor. She was a prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania for 12 years. She writes a column for the National Catholic Reporter, "From Where I Stand". Chittister holds a master's degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in speech communication theory from Penn State University. She was also a research associate of St. Edmund's College, Cambridge University. A past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, she is co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a UN-sponsored organization creating a worldwide network of women peacemakers.
In 2001, the Vatican forbade her to speak on discipleship at the Women's Ordination Worldwide conference in Dublin. Supported by her religious community, Chittister spoke anyway. Chittister says that women’s ordination has never been her primary focus.
Penn State University holds the Joan D. Chittister Literary Archives.