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The many gifts of volunteering

Blog post author Noah Luna and his Auntie Sister Joni Luna

I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. Every summer I had the privilege of visiting my godmother Auntie Joni Luna. My auntie is a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana. With every summer came a new visit. With every visit I gained a better understanding of myself and of serving others from my heart. The first few years our visits were family trips to visit Auntie Joni and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Woods. Then Auntie Joni helped create a Teen Volunteer opportunity. It helps youth, like myself, gain a better understanding of the Sisters of Providence, their mission and the meaning of serving.


Noah, standing third from right, poses with a group of sisters and teen volunteers at the Woods

During our volunteer times at the Woods, we attended rosary with elder sisters. We played games with them, took the sisters to visit Saint Mother Theodore’s shrine and learned about White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. Every summer I looked forward to our visit to the Woods. The bonds created are irreplaceable. I was able to hear about how some of the sisters stood up for civil rights during the 1960s and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. And, about how others have fought tirelessly for social justice and strive to be a voice for the voiceless. I learned that everything the sisters do is done out of kindness for each other and the community of Saint Mary of-the-Woods. I know my time spent at the Woods serving with the Sisters of Providence has helped prepare me for college. It has given me a better understanding of myself and the love, kindness and service I have to offer others.

More benefits

Noah Luna at an elementery graduation and at his high school graduation

I was recently blessed with a scholarship. The scholarship is $12,000 per year and will help me pay to attend The University of Texas at Austin. When I applied for this scholarship I attached my scholar high school resumé, SAT scores, perfect GPA, top 4 percent ranking and endless amount of clubs and extracurricular activities that I was involved with the last four years. I also included my time and service as a member of the Teen Ministry Program at Saint Mary’s of-the-Woods. The scholarship team awarded me the $12,000 scholarship. They told me it was my service and time at the Woods with sisters that set me apart from other applicants. 

I will forever be grateful for the opportunities that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and the Sisters of Providence have given me. Some may think my time at the Woods was serving the Sisters of Providence. But to me, the Woods and the Sisters of Providence have served me and my heart. I am a better person because of my time with the Sisters of Providence. 

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Noah Luna

Noah Luna

Noah Luna is a recent graduate of Mary Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. He currently attends the University of Texas at Austin. Noah spent over 56 volunteer hours at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods helping sisters and working time at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice through the Providence Teen volunteer opportunities. Noah hopes to become a corporate lawyer in the future.

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  1. Avatar S. Editha on August 22, 2020 at 6:10 am

    Thank you for the summers you were at the Woods, Noah. We surely enjoyed your presence and service.
    Blessings to you as you start college.

  2. Avatar Mary Pat Dailey Cross on August 22, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Noah and Sister Joni Luna are inspirations and lights that gives for a hopeful future in the midst of a world embroiled in turmoil.

    • Avatar Maureen Abbott, SP on August 22, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Congratulations, Noah. You are a credit to your family. The photos remind me how much we enjoyed having you around and how much we miss you young folks. Stay safe!

  3. Ann Casper, SP Ann Casper, SP on August 22, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Congratulations, Noah! Best of luck as you begin your college career. Thanks for your great Blog and your years of service at the Woods.. Stay safe, stay well in Austin..

  4. Avatar Mary Carroll Blocher on August 22, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Wonderful example of generosity and kindness. Noah is to be congratulated.
    Sisters Joni and Barbara Ann, you are very special!

  5. Avatar Mary Ryan SP on August 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you Noah for sharing your experiences at the Woods. It has been a blessing to all of us to have you here. You will be in my prayers as you begin another chapter in your life.

  6. Avatar Evelyn Ovalles, SP on August 22, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing your time and gifts with the Sisters of Providence at the Woods. Congratulations and best wishes as you continue your life’s journey. You’ll be in my prayers.

  7. Avatar Sister Barbara Bluntzer on August 22, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Noah, always helping, always smiling! You are such a great guy to be around. We are proud of you and your past accomplishments….and are looking forward to your achievements in the future. You always have been a very special young man.

  8. Avatar Mary Montgomery on August 23, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful article, Noah and Auntie Joni! Congratulations on the scholarship, Noah! It was great to have you visit and share service each summer! All the best to you in college!

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