Sister Joni Luna professes first vows
Sunday, June 26, was a life-changing day for Sister Joni Luna.
On that day, Sister Joni professed first vows with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
“I have spent much time in deep prayer, conversation and contemplation in pursuit of this truth,” Sister Joni said. “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 and trust that I am not alone, that my sisters, family, friends and Providence Associates are sharing this profession of faith with me.”
Sister Joni entered the Congregation in 2012. In 2014, she began the novitiate, a two-year process that she has now completed. Sister Joni, however, is still in the initial formation program.
Prior to finding her way to the Sisters of Providence, Sister Joni taught physical education in her native state of Texas. However, she has openly admitted that something was missing in her life. And it was at that time that Sister Joni – who was not a practicing Catholic – began exploring spirituality, and while in a Catholic Church, she saw a flier that had been posted by Sister of Providence Sister Barbara Bluntzer.
Sister Joni began meeting with Sister Barbara, who eventually encouraged the Texas native to travel to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The sacredness of the Woods grew on Sister Joni and she started discerning life as a religious.
“I have seen and lived both sides of the coin,” she said. “The life, however, that truly speaks to me now is the one that asks me to offer myself to God with gratitude, and to walk the path marked out by Saint Mother Theodore and so many amazing Sisters of Providence who have followed in her footsteps.”
During the first year of the novitiate, the novice focuses on studying scripture and spirituality, participating more deliberately in communal and private prayer, while continuing the discernment process of the call to religious life through a variety of programs, seminars and other projects.
The second year of the novitiate is referred to as the mission novice year. Novices live the everyday life of a fully professed sister during this time, but they have not yet professed vows as a member of the Congregation.
In the past year, Sister Joni ministered as the assistant principal at St. Patrick School, located in Terre Haute.
In the coming year, she will again minister at St. Patrick, teaching physical education and religion while also serving as the school athletic director.
During the June 26 ceremony, Sister Joni was presented the symbol that the Sisters of Providence wear as a sign of religious profession, her love of God and her commitment to the mission and community of the Sisters of Providence.
“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,” Sister Joni said. “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 the true promises of the God who created me.
“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.”
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.