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Sister Joni Luna makes perpetual profession of vows

Prior to becoming a Sister of Providence, Sister Joni Luna, SP, felt lost and began a journey of discovering her true purpose.  

“As my GPS says, when I have taken a wrong turn, ‘recalculating,’” Sister Joni commented. “I recalculated my path and began to pursue my spirituality, which I had neglectfully left out of my calculations.”

Sister Joni prays silently during the vows ceremony.

That simple recalculation led Sister Joni to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. On Sept. 17, 2012, Sister Joni made real her calling by entering the Sister of Providence and on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, Sister Joni fulfilled her call to Providence by professing final vows with the Congregation during a ceremony at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Prior to her visits to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Sister Joni, a self-described “overachiever,” was close to reaching her life goals. She had graduated college, began teaching and coaching, moved into an athletic coordinator and vice-principal position and was close to becoming an athletic director or principal.

But Sister Joni admitted getting that close to her life goals “scared her.”

“I realized that this pursuit included very little practice of what my parents had instilled in me about family, community and faith,” Sister Joni commented. “I was serving myself and it was not feeling good anymore. I found myself lost, spiritually bankrupt if you will. There was a hole that had eroded within me as I chased the corporate ladder. I realized I had it all wrong.”

So, Sister Joni simply “recalculated.” And it worked.

“That’s how I arrived here,” she said. “I had to undergo a makeover, which included shedding old, unuseful ideas that did not serve me spiritually. I had been blinded to my spiritual life, to my heritage, my culture and my roots. This was where my journey began.”

The journey included many visits to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She attended Come and See Retreats, and even became a Providence Associate, before she eventually knew she was destined to be a woman religious.

After professing her vows, Sister Joni kisses the Bible, held by General Officer Sister Lisa Stallings.

And nine years later, after professing perpetual vows, Sister Joni said she is “beyond words,” when it comes to describing the “recalculation” of her journey.

“I overcame my fears of saying the first ‘yes’ and all the little ‘yeses’ in between,” Sister Joni mentioned. “Through all the good and hard times, I knew one thing: My life was not serving me in a way that was life giving, and I was willing to do whatever it took to find my treasure.”

Sister Joni added she has also spent a significant amount of time in recent years studying her heritage, including her Native American background, which has influenced her greatly.

“White Eagle, a Native American who was chief of the Ponca Indians from 1840 to 1914, said, ‘Never fear your journey ahead, for as God has watched over you all your life … so God will take you through the darkness valley into the light.’ I am resolved to follow these ancient teachings and live my life in faith, truth, virtue and goodness as a devoted partner to my Creator.”

Sister Joni spent the past year in what is called Tertianship, the final formal period of initial formation. 

“We are always welcoming new women who wish to join in our mission,” said Sister Jenny Howard, SP, a member of the Congregation leadership. “The purpose of this Congregation is to honor Divine Providence and to further God’s loving plans by devoting ourselves to works of love, mercy and justice in service among God’s people.

“We’re very blessed to have new members so that together we can carry forward God’s mission in our world.”

Would you like to learn more about life as a Sister of Providence? Visit our website or contact Sister Joni, who ministers as the Congregation Vocation Director, at 361-500-9505 or via email at jluna@spsmw.org.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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