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Sister Joni Luna: first vows and the grace of an undivided heart

Sister Joni Luna prays in 2-14 as she becomes a novice with the Sisters of Providence.

Sister Joni Luna prays in 2014 as she becomes a novice with the Sisters of Providence.

Editor’s note: Sister Joni Luna professed first vows as a Sister of Providence on June 26, 2016. Here she reflects on her journey with the Sisters of Providence to this point and her journey onward from here.

I stand once again at the door of Providence asking myself: Is this the path my Provident God desires for me to take at this time? Does my Creator desire me, in all my brokenness, to serve as an ambassador? Do I have what God needs in a servant?

I have spent much time in deep prayer, conversation and contemplation in pursuit of this truth. I have asked my Provident God to guide me so that I may clearly see God’s holy will for me. I feel a huge sense of comfort knowing that God is sharing this time of transition with me. I enter into this holy space. I trust that I am not alone, that my sisters, family, friends and Providence Associates are sharing this profession of faith with me.

In the deepest corner of my heart and soul, I have had and continue to have, a burning desire to serve God. To be in community and to cast my lot with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of the-Woods. There is a voice that continues to invite me to come and to be an ambassador for the love and peace that only God offers.

Not growing up Catholic or knowing much about the Bible, I have come to trust and believe that the Gospels are true promises of the God who created me. That voice is very clear when my guard is down and no distractions are pressing me. Yet, as I try to merge who I was with who I am becoming, I find that sometimes I am in conflict. You see, in my former life I was in pursuit of power and had an appetite for money and success. This didn’t just disappear when I chose to enter the Sisters of Providence.

Then-postulant Joni Luna in her first year after coming to the Sisters of Providence volunteers distributing food at Providence Food Pantry in West Terre Haute.

Then-postulant Joni Luna in her first year after coming to the Sisters of Providence volunteers distributing food at Providence Food Pantry in West Terre Haute.

The past four years, I have freely chosen to let go of those values. To seek, with my whole being, to follow this new path illuminated by Providence. A path of SHARING my gifts and talents for the mission of human kindness and all creation. I have seen, and lived, both sides of the coin. The life that truly speaks to me now is the one that asks me to offer myself to God with gratitude. To walk the path marked out by Saint Mother Theodore and so many amazing Sisters of Providence who have followed in her footsteps. It is to say “yes” to my community. To my God and to the people and experiences beyond this day of taking my first vows. It is to allow myself to continue to be transformed as I become the best version of who God created me to be.

So, won’t you please pray with me? Pray that I may have the grace of an undivided heart. Will you pray that I have the courage to remain untangled from worldly desires and possessions that do not feed me spiritually? Pray, that I may continue to give my heart, mind and soul to our Provident God, so that whatever I do will speak of a heart that reflects God’s gifts to the world. Pray that in all I represent from this day forward, in all my thoughts, words and actions, especially in my doubts, frustrations, and failings, that I may place my whole self in God’s Providential care. Pray that I may offer myself as a servant, a woman of Providence, to be guided and shaped to say “yes” with gratitude, now and always. Amen

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Sister Joni Luna

Sister Joni Luna is a native of San Antonio, Texas. She entered the Sisters of Providence in 2012 after spending many years as a physical education teacher and athletic director. Sister Joni professed first vows in June 2016. She currently ministers as the Congregation's Director of Vocations.

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6 Comments

  1. Donna Butler on June 26, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Joni,
    Thank you for this wonderful and inspiring reflection. I pray for you and for all of us that we may acquire an undivided heart. It seems to me to be a daily choice we are called to make.

    My heart is full of joy as you celebrate your first vows! You are such a GIFT to us and to all you meet.

  2. Florence NortonSP on June 26, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Dear Joni,”This is the day the Lord has made,-“May God be with you at all times and in all places. I am honored to have you join our Community with all your gifts and graces and PROVIDENCE will always be your guide.Peace,FlorenceSP

  3. Tracey Horan on June 27, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Thanks for sharing your heart, Joni. This is beautifully said. My prayers are with you, and I am proud to call you sister.

  4. Sheila Donis on June 29, 2016 at 6:35 am

    May the gracious and courageous life of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin continue to inspire and support you.

    You are a great woman!

  5. Janice Smith, SP on June 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Joni,
    Beautifullly written , very well expressed , and completely from your heart .
    Janice

  6. Paula Modaff, S.P. on July 5, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Joni dear,
    What you have expressed is the real you and your desires resonate with the real yous of all of us your sisters in the Congregation with you. You go, Girl! much love, Paula

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