Special to The Message
On June 4, the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana, elected Sister Anita Louise Lowe as their 14th prioress.
Sister Anita Louise will begin a six-year term of office with a formal installation ceremony at Monastery Immaculate Conception on July 13. She succeeds Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz, who has served as prioress since 2013.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Sister Anita Louise, 54, entered the monastery in 1987 from St. Lawrence Parish. She made her first profession of vows in 1989 and her perpetual profession in 1995.
She has been the Director of Liturgy in Ferdinand for the past 11 years. Previously, she was an English and French teacher, Assistant Director of Communications, Public Relations Manager, Assistant Director of Vocations, and a Director of Vocations.
Sister Anita Louise is a graduate of Brescia College in Owensboro, Kentucky. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a French minor and a secondary-education certificate before going onto receive an MA in Theology with a concentration in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Sister Anita Louise is the daughter of the late David and Mildred (Geywitz) Lowe. She has two late sisters (Jane Lowe and Jean Lowe), and her sister Teresa (Lowe) Buehler, married to Greg Buehler, of Louisville.
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 begun last summer, which has included general direction setting by the community.
The discernment process involves prayerful sharing and listening, and openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As prioress, Sister Anita Louise will lead the religious community as members live out the 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.”
About Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz
During the last six years as prioress, Sister Barbara Lynn led the religious community through significant change and accomplishment. Over this period, the Ferdinand Benedictines:
Developed Benet Hall apartments, 15 2-bedroom units for seniors age 55+, meeting a community need and utilizing available campus infrastructure;
Brought new life to the former art studio in partnership with local brewmasters. St. Benedict’s Brew Works has proven to be a fun attraction to bring new people to the campus;
Enhanced natural spaces by installing new pathways into the beautiful grotto and Stations of the Cross so all can pray outside and enjoy nature;
Deconstructed Madonna Hall, opening up the vista to the historic (ca. 1880) structures, making the buildings more accessible to those with mobility challenges, remedying significant environmental concerns (lead and asbestos); creating open space; and increasing accessibility for all sisters and visitors;
Renovated a section of the historic quadrangle to serve as Benedictine Hospitality Center; here the sisters welcome visitors from all walks of life with 21st-century amenities. The center is the true embodiment of our charism of hospitality;
Leased 9 acres of land to Trilogy Health Services to construct a new 88- bed care center;
Remedied threats to our historic (ca. 1880) structures, installed more efficient infrastructure and positioned them for another 100+ years of use.
The Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand are 138 religious women who minister in schools, parishes, church institutions, healthcare facilities, retreat centers and social-service agencies in Indiana, Kentucky and Peru. Founded in 1867, the Ferdinand Benedictines are one of the largest Benedictine communities of women in the U.S.