On Saturday, the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand elected their 13th prioress.
58-year-old Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz will begin her six year term in the prioress role on Saturday, July 13th at a formal installation ceremony at the Monastery of Immaculate Conception. Sister Barbara Lynn succeeds Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau, who has served as prioress since 2003.
The prioress is the religious community’s spiritual leader, chief administrator, and official representative to the Church and civic community. The election of the prioress came at the end of a discernment process that began last fall and included community formed direction statements.
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.
She has been director of mission advancement for the past 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 a graduate of Memphis (Tennessee) Catholic High School. She earned a BBA degree in business administration from Memphis State University in 1976 and a MSA degree in institutional administration from the University of Notre Dame in 1990.
Sister Barbara Lynn is the daughter of Dorothy (Lawrence) and the late Rodney Schmitz of Memphis, Tennessee. She has two brothers, Rodney, Jr., and David, and a sister, Mary, all of Memphis, Tennessee.
The discernment process involves prayerful sharing and listening and openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As prioress, Sister Barbara Lynn will lead the religious community in living out their vocation to seek God in the monastic way of life as articulated in their mission statement: “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.”