Joan Chittister the Play

“Riveting!” “Amazing!” “Phenomenal!” “Inspiring.”
—responses to Joan Chittister the play

Sister Joan Chittister said,“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: Her Story, My Story, Our Story runs 85 minutes with no intermission and tells the story of Joan’s life and work through scenes, dialogues, actual letters, as well as portions of her books and speeches presented from a podium. The one-woman play portrays two women to tell the story of all women—about identity, overcoming adversity, abuse, and as the play progresses, justice themes: life issues, women, interfaith, spirituality and prayer.

Here is a link to a review of a recent performance in Morristown, New Jersey, which is also copied at the end of this email.

‘The church needs women for its salvation’: One-woman play champions nun’s quest for social justice

What others have been saying about the play:

Really incredible! I keep thinking about the play. I am excited to learn more about Sister Joan as a result. Bravo! Thank you again for an enlightening evening.
Stephanie K.

Amazing play…there was hardly a stir in the room the entire evening! … And wow, what a story!
Roberta W.

Bravo! Thoroughly enjoyed the show. Amazing writing and performance.
Marie B.

Truly you touched my heart. The warmth of Sr. Joan was apparent and you are being a voice that needs to be heard. You are an inspiration!
Monica W

The set is simple and although a raised platform is preferred, it can easily be adapted to any room. A small table, 2 chairs, a podium or music stand and wireless microphone is needed.

Even small groups have been able to cover the transportation, room and stipend from ticket sales/suggested donation. Call 928-274-0674 or email: if you are interested and need more information in how Joan Chittister the play can be performed for your church, school, or organization.

Additional information can be found at

A pastoral musician for over 35 years, until recently, Teri served as the Director of Liturgy and Music at St. John Vianney in Sedona. Having a personal connection to Joan, which is revealed within the play, Teri wrote the play and performs both the role of herself and Sister Joan, a passionate advocate for peace, justice and women’s issues.

Morristown review of Joan Chittister the Play by Linda Stamato:
“I wish your words were on my lips,” said Teri Bays in a letter to Benedictine nun, Joan Chittister, some 28 years ago. They are now…..with stunning, and, at times, shocking, effect.

“Joan Chittister: Her Story, My Story, Our Story,” created by Ms. Bays, a singer, writer and actress from Sedona, Arizona, was performed by Bays on Friday evening at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Morris Plains. The large and appreciative audience gave Ms. Bays a standing, sustained ovation at the conclusion of her performance. It was well-deserved!

Joan Chittister is a woman for all seasons. Sixty 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 has certainly created a presence. And Teri Bays, “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 Teri 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. Teri’s mother was in elementary school with Joan; 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 Teri’s case, and in Joan’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 Joan 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–Joan’s compelling words–but also with a light touch–expressing the great good humor of both of these talented, courageous and resilient women. Prophets and poets both, they are leading the new way, using public settings, churches and lecture halls and stages to have their voices heard, urging people, as Joan 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. It’s mission was given a burst of energy and spirit tonight and Sister Joan Chittister and Teri Bays found themselves in good company.

Teri Bays