Below you will find some frequently asked questions from those considering life as a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

MTG walking in woods

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin started the Congregation in 1840. Her legacy continues today in the mission and ministries of the sisters.

Q. Who are the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods?

A. Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are a community of Catholic women religious who collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. We value community life, prayer and a shared desire to live out the message of the Gospels.

Q. How many members are in the Congregation?

A. Nearly 300 sisters minister in the United States and in Taiwan. We live in a variety of cultural and ethnic settings, in urban and rural areas, and minister in ways that address the needs of those around us.

Q. What are the ways in which you minister?

A. The Sisters of Providence are committed to breaking boundaries and creating hope in our world though diverse ministries. These include areas such as education, pastoral ministry, health care, social justice and eco-justice and more. Explore the ministry section of our website for a closer look at some of the ways we work to meet the needs of the world as a Congregation.

Q. Are there restrictions on who can become a Sister of Providence?

A. We welcome single, Catholic women between the ages of 18 and 42 without any dependents to consider whether life as a Sister of Providence might be for them.

Q. Are there educational expectations?

A. We prefer that, in addition to having completed high school, you have at least two years of professional, college or life experience that could lead you toward a ministry consistent with the mission of the Sisters of Providence.

Q. If I become a sister, will someone always be telling me what to do?

A. No matter what lifestyle we choose, we all seek advice from other people. The same is true for the Sisters of Providence. Consideration of others and the good of the Congregation guide our decisions. That said, today’s sisters have much more autonomy in decisions such as where to minister and where to live than sisters had in the past.

Q. How will you help me as I am discerning?

A. We’ll keep in regular contact with you. You will be invited to Vocation Discernment Weekends and other Congregation activities and celebrations. When you feel ready, you will receive a “sister discernment guide” who, along with the new membership director, will companion you on your discernment journey.

Q. When I am ready to enter the Sisters of Providence, what will happen?

A. After you complete the application process and are accepted for membership, you will begin three years of formation. During this time you live with the sisters and learn about our life, our history, our ministries. You will deepen your spirituality and prayer life and continue to discern whether being a Sister of Providence is a life-giving choice for you. See the Stages of Formation page for more about the formation process.

Q. What financial obligations will I assume during this period?

A. We prefer that you be free of any major debts prior to entering the Congregation. Aside from that, the cost of your living expenses and formation are covered by the Congregation and our generous donors who believe in investing in you and in what you will bring to the world.

Q. How can I learn more about your life?

A. Contact our New Membership office. Meet with a Sister of Providence. Visit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and take a tour. Volunteer or sign-up for an internship at one of our ministries to get a better understanding of what it means to be a Sister of Providence.

Explore our website for information about our ministries. About our Congregation’s history and foundress Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. About our Providence Associate relationship. Learn about our retreats and programs and more.

For more information, contact Sister Editha Ben at or 812-230-4771.