Need help as you prayerfully sort through where God might be calling you? The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods New Membership Team offer experience and wisdom to women exploring religious life. As companions and friends, this group of sisters assist women in each stage of discernment and then formation, from initial inquiry, through guided discernment, the application process, and into postulancy and the novitiate. Sister Editha Ben, director of new membership, would be happy offer guidance. Contact her at or 812-230-4771.

Sister Editha Ben

Sister Editha Ben, director of new membership

As director of new membership for the Sisters of Providence, Sister Editha assists women in their discernment about religious life. She travels the country to visit with interested women. She helps connect interested women with a Sister companion who can walk with them through the discernment journey. When a woman feels ready to apply 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. You can reach her by email: or call 812-230-4771.

Sister Marsha Speth

Sister Marsha Speth, postulant director

Sister Marsha Speth leads women in the first year after they enter the Congregation. She helps the postulants better understand the Congregation, its mission, members, ministries, community living and more. Sister Marsha lives in community with the postulants and guides them in 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, in her role as director of novices, accompanies our newest sisters during their second two years with the Congregation. Together, she and the novice sister, seek to more deeply  internalize living out the Gospel values. Sister Janice leads the novices in this time of extended prayer and spiritual development and study of Scripture, theology and the history and traditions of the Sisters of Providence. Sister Janice resides with the novices in the novitiate community at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Sister Jenny Howard

Sister Jenny Howard, general officer liaison

Sister Jenny Howard is the member of the Sisters of Providence leadership team who works with the New Membership team. She offers support and guidance to women in formation after they have finished their two-year novitiate and are ministering as temporarily professed sisters. Prior to serving on the Sisters of Providence General Council, Sister Jenny ministered as the director of new membership.


Vocations in Asia

The Sisters of Providence have sisters ministering in Taiwan and other parts of Asia and also accept applicants from there.