Joan Chittister
the play


Her story, my story, our story

Joan Chittister

A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Joan is a leader in peace and social justice issues, most especially for women.  Sister Joan has written over sixty books, most recently Radical Spirit.  Joan is the co-founder of the Women's Global Peace Initiative and is an international speaker.

What Joan says about the play

"The work is seamlessly, artfully and movingly welded together.  It's a fresh and interesting approach to the notion of the universality of women today.  It has heart and substance....great praise!"                  Joan Chittister

Teri Bays

A singer, writer and actress, Teri premiered off-Broadway at The Duplex and has starred in numerous theatrical productions.  A pastoral musician for nearly 40 years, she has recorded two CDs, and wrote Through Stained Glass: the priests of my life.  She lives in beautiful Sedona, AZ.

Upcoming Performances


Mount Mary University

Bergstrom Hall

Milwaukee, WI

October 25, 2018


Private Event

November, 2018


Joan D Chittister Lecture/Event Series

with Sister Joan 

Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA

May 3, 2019

Interest in these areas....


Currently there are organizations and churches interested in performances in these areas.  Contact us to coordinate travel plans and a performances in a nearby area.

Don't see your state? Call and see how we can schedule a performance

Past Performances


Si Birch Auditorium, Sedona, July 2017

Flagstaff Federated Community Church, August, 2017

Methodist Church, Prescott, November, 2017

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Sedona, February 2018

Mary D. Fisher Theatre

June, 2018


Morristown Methodist Church, September 2017

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Westfield, September, 2017


Gracier Auditorium, Santa Rosa

January 2018


CTA and One Spirit, One Call- Oregon, January 2018


St.  Michael’s College, Burlington

Trinity Episcopal Church, Shelburne

April 2018


Sharon Springs

Church of the Assumption, Fairport

April 2018


Holy Wisdom Monastery

          May, 2018

Sinsinawa Mound

          May, 2018


The Canticle

Sisters of St. Francis

     May, 2018


Our Lady of Victory Knoll


July 20, 2018

Past Performance Spaces

Sedona, AZ

Si Birch Auditorium, 

August 4, 2017

Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff Federated Community Church, August 25, 2017

Morristown, NJ

Sophia Community at
St. Mark's Lutheran Church

September 15, 2017

Westfield, NJ

Holy Trinity Catholic Church

September 18, 2017

Santa Rosa, CA

Glaser Auditorium

January 13, 2018

Burlington, VT

St. Michael’s College

Shelburne, VT

Trinity Episcopal Church

Fairport, NY

Church of the Assumption Catholic Church

Huntington, IN

Our Lady of Victory Knoll Chapel


Unbelievable! That was a truly magnificent performance--an inspired and important work!

Roberta W., Business Manager

Brilliant, moving, inspiring and the way you combined the memories and characters was so effective!

 Alicia M., Rabbi

Wonderful play and performance!

Monica, W., Episcopal priest

Thoroughly enjoyed the show! Amazing writing and performance!

 Marie B. 

Really incredible! I keep thinking about the play. I am excited to learn more about Sister Joan.

Stephanie K., former news reporter


By Morristown Green Contributor -  September 18, 2017 

 By Linda Stamato

Some 28 years ago, Teri Bays sent a letter to Benedictine nun Joan Chittister.

“I wish your words were on my lips,” wrote Bays.

They are now…..with stunning and, at times, shocking, effect. The large and appreciative audience gave Ms. Bays a standing, sustained ovation at the conclusion of her performance.

Joan Chittister is a woman for all seasons. With 60 books, 12 honorary degrees, leadership positions too numerous to count, and a global following, this revered author and speaker has had a lot to say about peace, justice, women’s issues and the role of religious life in the modern world. 

She certainly has created a presence.  And Teri Bays, her disciple, “becomes” her to demonstrate through Chittister’s words–and her own–the profound connection between them. She intensifies Chittister’s impact and makes it at once personal and universal. The performance is deeply affecting.

As Bays moves from left to right on the stage, we hear each woman in various times and places, and witness the strands of experience that connect them. 

Bays’ mother was in elementary school with Chittister;  both women, as girls, sought refuge from terror in their households that were fueled by their fathers’ alcoholism and abuse. 

Seeking freedom from fear, they found solace in books, in their diaries and journals, and in companionship and support in the homes of friends, in Bays’ case, and in Chittister’s, in the Benedictine convent which she joined as a novice in 1952.

Their paths diverge and come together as certain themes emerge: Struggling for standing, engaging in protest, embracing non-denominational spirituality, seeking self-understanding in times of change, teaching to embrace social justice, and loving music. 

They both experience and resist intolerance, racism and sexism in the church, and, confidently, distance themselves from it.

Seeking to advance morality over religiosity, they take stands for life–more than birth, living free from poverty and duress–they attack the “enemies of our time: Power and profit,” and they assert their equality, resist silencing, and answer the call to leadership, in different ways to be sure.

As Chittister says, “The church needs women for its salvation,” I heard a strong echo from her disciple and supportive murmurs from the audience.

Bays’ performance is delivered with a heavy hand–Chittister’s compelling words–but also with a light touch–expressing the great good humor of both of these talented, courageous and resilient women. 

The Rev. Dennis Crowley of Assumption Church and Bernice Anglin await start of 'Joan Chittister: her Story,' Sept. 15, 2017. Photo by Linda Stamto

Prophets and poets both, they are leading the new way, using public settings, churches, lecture halls and stages to have their voices heard, urging people, as Chittister says, “to live faithfully and to love radically, ” to be public thinkers so as to inspire openness to possibility, resisting retreat to past ways.

Billed as “a one woman play for all women,” Joan Chittister: Her Story, is so much more. 

It is a play for men too, and especially for those who wear clerical collars; it is for all those who work for change in the church and more, for those who share faith in humanity, peace, spirituality and common purpose.

Bays’ appearance was supported in part by the Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community, whose roots are solidly in the tradition of Vatican II.  Its mission was given a burst of energy and spirit tonight and Sister Joan Chittister and Teri Bays found themselves in good company.


New and long-time friends on the Road

Buddy S. Ajalat

What a gift that Buddy and Carole came to one of my first performances in New Jersey.  In 1976 he became my first voice teacher and high school music teacher.  We knew each other for 41 years.  He died just weeks after this photo but his influence lives on with so many of his students.

Beth Jordan

Beth brought me to Santa Rosa, CA in early 2018, despite being evacuated from her home because of the fires just a month or so earlier.  Beth became a supporter early on, spread her good reviews to all she could think of and she continues to cheer me on.  

Kathy Felong

Kathy is my Monastery of the Heart sister.  We met for the first time in person at the Reader's Retreat with Joan in 2016 but we had gotten to know one another for almost a year before this through the MOH Benedictine website.   Here we are on Good Friday, 2018, just after she said, "God's hand is all over this!"  

Sr. Pat

Sr. Pat drove down from Vermont to see my first "on the road" performance in New Jersey.  She promised to bring me to Vermont and she did!  Sr. Pat is a FORCE and I enjoyed every moment I spent with her.  

Claire Crowley

So one of the perks of traveling is getting to spend time with family who live in a different time zone!  Claire is in her third year at the University of Vermont and it was so great to have lunch with her in Burlington, then have her in the audience that evening and then visit with her again after that performance!  

Sr. Pat again!

Sr. Pat not only arranged for a performance at St. Michael's College in Burlington, but she also arranged for another the next night in a charming church in Shelburne, Vermont.

Deb and Virginia and Bentley

The most gracious hosts!  Deb, Virginia and I first met in Sedona.  They returned to their Iowa home just in time to host me for the WI and Iowa performances.

Stef and Jean

My Monastery of the Heart Sister, Stef from CO is visiting Sedona just in time for the performance and she meets Jean, a member of our Tuesday small faith sharing group.  

Becki and Jean

Celebrating after the Sedona performance

Is this the cast of Closer Than Ever?

Faithful friends from Flagstaff come down the mountain, returning to the  Mary D. Fisher Theatre where we performed Closer Than Ever in 2015.  Thanks Glenn, Andrew and Rebecca!  Jessica (not here) already saw the show!

Some Details about the Play

The Joan Chittister Play...

....runs about one hour with no intermission and tells the story of Joan Chittister, her life and work through scenes, dialogues, actual letters, as well as portions of her books and speeches. The one-woman play portrays two women to tell the story of all women overcoming adversity, abuse.  As the play progresses Joan addresses justice themes about life, women, interfaith, and spirituality.  A small table, podium, 2 chairs and wireless microphone are needed. joan chittister


Scroll back to the top of this website and click on the upper right corner:  Booking Information.

Interested in a performance near you?  There may be another organization or church in your area also interested.  Please call or email to see if resources can be shared so a performance can be booked in your area.


The usual stipend is $1500. for an anticipated audience up to 300 people, slightly more for larger audiences.  In addition, travel and housing expenses are expected.

There is more flexibility if there is more than one performance in an area.  

Thank you for inquiring.

To get started

A $500. stipend hold the date and is used for initial travel expenses.  A letter of agreement outlines some specifics and groups can use this to determine if a performance is feasible.  

The balance of $1000. is due after the performance along with reimbursed travel expenses.

See Booking Information in the upper right corner at the top of this website for more details.


Bookings are listed here At

Flyer templates and the program are here under BOOKING INFORMATION (top --upper right corner)

Other Questions?

Email or call if you have any questions.


“All, but death, can be adjusted.”

        Emily Dickenson

Arizona Performances

Sedona, 2018

June 7, Thursday


Mary D. Fisher Theatre

    Home of the Sedona International Film Festival

Phoenix Area

More Information Soon

Previous AZ Performances

Si Birch Auditorium, Sedona

Methodist Church, Prescott

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Sedona

and thanks to Rabbi Alicia Magal for a 

Dress Rehearsal at Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley

Your church, school, state...

If you would love to bring the play to your area, contact Teri.  It is very possible that there are others in your area also interested and travel expenses can be shared.  See below for some upcoming performances.  This list is not complete.

Find out more

Seeking Groups, Churches, Organizations...


Call to book a performance in your area!

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Book a Performance or Ask a question

21 San Jose Circle, Sedona, AZ 86336, US

(928) 274-0674