About Us

Discover the power of women in community.

We are one of the largest Benedictine communities of women in the United States — over 130 members strong and thriving. We were founded in 1867 by four young Benedictine sisters who came to Ferdinand to teach the children of area settlers. Since then, more than 1,000 women have entered our community and we’ve expanded our ministries both beyond education and beyond Ferdinand. We serve as teachers, social workers, parish ministers, counselors, nurses, youth ministers, chaplains, librarians, and more.


We, the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana, are monastic women seeking God through the Benedictine tradition of community life, prayer, hospitality, and service to others. By our life and work, we commit ourselves to be a presence of peace as we join our sisters and brothers in the common search for God.


As we seek God, the values and principles by which we live flow from our mission statement and are central to our call as the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana.

The guiding principles are the Benedictine values of prayer, work, hospitality, and community life.


(L to R) Sister Jane Becker, subprioress and Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz, prioress

Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz was elected the 13th prioress of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana, on June 9, 2013. She was installed as prioress in a ceremony on July 13, 2013.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Sister Barbara Lynn entered the monastery in 1981 from St. Anne Parish in Highland, Tennessee. She made her profession of monastic vows in 1982.

Before her election, she served as director of mission advancement for four years. Previously, she was parish administrator/pastoral associate at St. Mary’s Parish in Evansville from 2003 to 2008. She served as business/financial consultant for Benedictine communities throughout the U.S. from 2002 to 2003. She was treasurer and business manager for the sisters in Ferdinand from 1989 to 2001 and business manager for Marian Heights Academy in Ferdinand from 1981 to 1989.

Sister Barbara Lynn is graduate of Memphis Catholic High School (Tennessee). She earned a bachelor’s degree from Memphis State University in 1976 and a master’s degree in institutional administration from the University of Notre Dame in 1990. She is daughter of the late Dorothy (Lawrence) and Rodney Schmitz of Memphis, Tennessee. She has two brothers, Rodney Jr. and David, and a sister, Mary, all of Memphis, Tennessee.

The subprioress for the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana, is Sister Jane Becker. The monastery coordinator is Sister Rose Wildeman.