Catherine Manning, SSJ, recognized her call to religious life in second grade after she first encountered the Sisters of St. Joseph when her family moved to Bradford, PA. She was fascinated by the, “women in black who wore shawls instead of coats and had long veils that blew in the wind.” From then on she had a deep desire to be a Sister of St. Joseph. “I was smitten!” she says of those early years.
Sister Catherine was born on November 10, 1938 in Lewis Run, Pennsylvania. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Bernard Parish in Bradford on August 29, 1956 and professed her final vows on August 15, 1964.
She graduated from St. Bernard High School, Bradford, PA, 1956, and earned a BS degree in elementary education from Villa Maria College, Erie, 1966; an MA in education guidance counseling from Gannon University, Erie, 1971; and an MA in theology from Boston College, 1981.
Of Sister Catherine’s ministry years, nearly 30 were in education, 20 in healthcare, and 10 at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie. She taught at several Erie Diocesan schools from 1956-1963, was the principal at St. Peter Cathedral School, Erie, 1966-1973; and was the director of admissions at Villa Maria College, Erie, 1973-1976. From 1982-1985 she was academic dean at Marymount International School in Rome, Italy.
In addition to her teaching career, she served at Saint Vincent Hospital as the vice president of patient affairs from 1985-1990, the senior vice president from 1990-1991, and as the president and CEO from 1991-2002. She ministered at the Diocese of Erie from 2003-2013 where she was the education and grants coordinator from 2003-2007 and the executive director of the Catholic Foundation in 2007. In 2008, she became the highest-ranking woman in the Erie Catholic Diocese when she was named vice chancellor of the diocese, making her the first non-clergy to hold the position.
She has served on the board of directors for several organizations including the Sisters of St. Joseph, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania Catholic Healthcare Association, United Way of Erie County, and Edinboro University. Currently, she is on the board of directors for the SSJ Neighborhood Network, Erie Catholic Preparatory School, and the SSJ Mission and Ministry Foundation.
Sister Catherine is currently retired and living at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center where she wishes to “simply appreciate each day as it unfolds, giving thanks for another day of living and loving.”