The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods initial formation program is guided by a team of Catholic sisters who work with women from their first inquiry about religious life through their profession of perpetual vows. As companions and friends, the New Membership Team members assist women in each stage of initial formation — initial inquiry, discernment, application, the postulancy and the novitiate. We are accepting new vocations!

For more information, email Sister Editha Ben, vocation director at or call 1-800-860-1840, ext. 2895.

Sister Editha Ben

Sister Editha Ben, vocation director

As vocation director, Sister Editha assists women in their discernment about religious life. She travels the country to visit with interested women. When a woman feels ready to join the Sisters of Providence, Sister Editha assists her with the application process. Sister Editha also spreads the word about the Sisters of Providence by representing the Congregation at national conferences and other outreach opportunities.

Sister Editha is also available to talk to high school and college-age women and groups about vocation discernment, the resources available and other questions that might arise. You can reach her by email: or call 1-800-860-1840, ext. 2895.

You may also email; or write the Sisters of Providence Vocation Office, 1 Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876-1089.

Sister Marsha Speth

Sister Marsha Speth, postulant director

Sister Marsha Speth is the postulant director and it is her primary responsibility to give women a deeper appreciation of the Congregation, an understanding of its mission and charism, and an awareness of the diversity of the members and their ministries. Sister Marsha oversees the program, living with the postulants and guiding them through their first experiences of life in this religious Congregation.
(View an oral history interview with Sister Marsha here.)

Sister Janice Smith

Sister Janice Smith, novice director

Sister Janice Smith is the director of novices and, in that role, guides women who are canonical novices and mission novices. Her primary role is to help foster a deeper internalization of the Gospel values. This program includes extended time in prayer and spiritual development and instructions in religious life, along with the study of Scripture, theology and the history and traditions of the Congregation. Sister Janice resides with the novices in the novitiate at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Sister Jenny Howard

Sister Jenny Howard, general officer liaison

Sister Jenny Howard is the liaison from the General Council to the New Membership Team and serves as the communication link between both groups. She oversees all aspects of initial incorporation and provides support to new members as well as the directors at each level. Sister Jenny also oversees the period of temporary profession. She most recently was the vocation director for the Congregation. Sister Jenny is a native of Indianapolis and has been a member of the Congregation for 27 years.

Sister Nancy Nolan

Sister Nancy Nolan, vocation office coordinator

Sister Nancy Nolan is the vocation office coordinator. She responds to initial inquiries from persons interested in religious life. She works with the administrative assistant to send pertinent information to those requesting it. She keeps the current data base of women interested in SP life and refers seriously interested women to the vocation director.

Vocations in Asia

The Sisters of Providence have sisters present in Taiwan and other parts of Asia and are accepting new members. Contact one of the sisters above if you have questions or need further information!