Sister Joni shares her story of finding what was missing in her life and how that led her to the Sisters of Providence.
Sister Joni shares some advice for other women considering becoming a Catholic religious sister
Sister Joni shares her discussion with a spiritual advisor about what kind of a difference becoming a Catholic woman religious would have in her life.
Sister Joni shares what to expect in the first few years of formation toward becoming a Sister of Providence
Restless for God
Sister Joni shares some of her struggles early on in entering the Sisters of Providence
Audio file: podcast of full interview with Sister Joni
About Sister Joni
Current ministry: Children’s Program Director and Outreach Coordinator at Miracle Place neighborhood ministry in Indianapolis.
My good friend says I’m … very intuitive. And they chuckle because I am often speaking to strangers like I have known them for years.
My favorite thing about Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is … There is a deep sense of sacred holiness on our grounds. I feel a love and acceptance by our Sisters that fills my heart with peace. I have often called Saint Mary-of-the-Woods a Spiritual Disneyland. It’s a place that fills my heart, mind and soul with God’s unconditional love.
Three things that are sure to make me smile are …
Observing children being fully themselves, uncensored and totally organic.
Sharing and reminiscing childhood stories with my sisters and brother.
Resilient miracles of faith that I have witnessed by believers who have come to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods — a beautiful gift of unconditional love that simply brings a smile to my face.
When I am not at work or in ministry, you are most likely to find me … at a movie, walking through the woods at Rosary Hill or taking pictures of nature.
On weekends I love to … sit quietly outdoors with a cup of coffee and be awed by nature.
I am passionate about … trusting in God’s Providence. I seek God’s wisdom in my life and try to respond in love and forgiveness as much as humanly possible. If I can internalize God’s nudges within me, then I can better acknowledge, serve and respond to the Spirit as it unfolds within and around me.
One thing most people don’t know about me is … I have experienced much pain and heartache in my life. Each time I fell I got up, stood up taller, breathed deeper and was broken open to an unexpected ability and desire to be kinder, gentler and love more deeply.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of God is … Holy Creator, Mystery and Profound Wisdom
My biggest pet peeve is … blaming God for difficult human experiences. There is no free pass to pain or suffering. It’s all part of our life’s journey. Being human guarantees we will be broken apart and restored many times over. This is our destiny when we are born. Embrace it and live it!
Favorite movie: Steel Magnolias. I love Shirley MacLaine as Weezer. She is my favorite character. I think if I had not become a SP I would be Shirley in the movie.
Qualities I most admire: mental toughness, honesty, kindness, generosity, love and forgiveness.
Favorite saint: Mother Theodore, of course
Favorite sinner: me, myself and I
Favorite hero/heroine: My mother Olga Gallegos
Favorite childhood activity: flying kites in the summer while eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grape koolaid.
Favorite food: Most anything edible
Favorite pizza topping: cheese
Favorite course in school: Athletics/P.E
Favorite form of prayer: contemplative walking through nature, meditation with the gospels and community prayer with my Sisters.
Favorite recreation: walking with my camera through the woods
Favorite sport: volleyball, basketball, football
Favorite TV program: ESPN 30/30
Favorite animal: Clancy, our dog at Rosary Hill
Favorite music/song: Carrie Newcomer and Jan Phillips
Favorite scripture passage: Philippians 4:6-7
Favorite season: I love them all. Each share a particular wisdom if we are quiet long enough to listen to what they whisper.
Favorite vacation spot: Wimberley, Texas and Padre Island, Texas
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