Cheetos & White Zin: how sisters kick back

Catholic sisters are among the most industrious people we know, but they also understand the importance of R&R. 

We checked in with four sisters to learn their summer highlights – including their favorite forms of leisure.


Sister Guadalupe Ramirez

San Antonio, Texas

Missionary Catechist of Divine Providence

Associate professor of pastoral theology


Best book of the summer: I read the stories of the Mexican martyrs who rebelled against the Mexican government who was persecuting the Catholic Church in the early 1900s. Very sad but also inspiring.

Best movie: “The War on the Planet of the Apes.” I usually don't watch animal movies. However, this one had a lot of life lessons in it. I recommend it. 

Soundtrack of the summer: “Vienen Con Alegria” (They come with joy)

Favorite way to recharge: laugh myself silly with friends, have a shrimp dinner with friends, or eat cheetos and drink White Zinfandel wine

Favorite way to be lazy: stay in bed for a few extra hours and watch Westerns

Biggest accomplishment this summer: I celebrated my 50th anniversary of consecrated life with family, friends and co-workers. Had a beautiful liturgy and a reception with mariachi music. It was wonderful –I am so blessed. 

Favorite trip: I visited Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Basilica in Mexico City, and I was overwhelmed with tears as I thanked her for such a rich life of faith and service as I prayed for all my loved ones. I am always inspired by the devotion and faith of all the pilgrims who come to see her and experience her motherly gaze as I do. 



Sister Tanya Williams

St. Louis Park, Minn.

Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa

Employment services manager at Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners; work readiness instructor at Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility


Best book of the summer: The Wisdom of Not Knowing: Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty by Estelle Frankel

Best movie: “The Zookeeper’s Wife”

Soundtrack of the summer: “Anthem” sung by Sarah Thomsen or Leonard Cohen (“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in…”)  

Favorite way to re-charge: Stand overlooking the Mississippi River and just listen to it

Favorite way to be lazy: veg out and watch mysteries on late-night television

Biggest accomplishment this summer: taking bass clarinet lessons (and disciplining myself to practice scales and arpeggios)

Favorite trip: spent a long weekend at Camp WeHaKee, a girls’ camp owned and sponsored by our Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation (since 1923), located on the shores of Hunter Lake near Winter, Wis. I joined a couple of other Sinsinawa Dominican sisters, the camp co-directors, camp counselors from the U.S. and different countries around the world, more than 100 campers (ages 7 to 17) and saw Dillon!

Dillon is a beautiful buckskin who has come to Camp WeHaKee for the past eight summers (along with about 15 others of a larger herd he is part of).

What made the trip especially wonderful this summer?  I walked into the pasture and, without a sound from me, Dillon eventually looked up and walked across the field to me. We said hello again, after what is always a long year for me. This was a visual and a feeling I will never forget.



Sister Belinda Monahan  


Benedictine Sister of Chicago

Office staff at St. Peter Catholic Church in Skokie, Ill.


Best book of the summer: Re-reading for the umpteenth time Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety

Best movie: I think the only movie I’ve seen this summer has been “Bridget Jones’ Diary” whilst eating ice cream with a friend.  

Soundtrack of the summer: “Sunday in the Park with George”

Favorite way to re-charge:  Sitting with some of the sisters in the evenings with a glass of wine, enjoying each other’s company

Favorite way to be lazy: Working on a cross-stitch sampler my mother sent me. I have no plans for it when it's done, I just like the rhythm of cross-stitching.  

Biggest accomplishment this summer: Driving to LaGuardia airport three times in one weekend – and living to tell the tale! Actually, I started a new job this July. It’s not a terribly taxing job, but it’s the first time I've started something this new in quite a while, so it feels like an accomplishment.  

Favorite trip: I visited my parents for a weekend to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. No big party, just a family dinner and a relaxing weekend to mark this milestone! 



Sister Mary Soher

San Rafael, Calif.

Adrian Dominican

Director of Campus Ministry at Dominican University of California


Best book of the summer: Racial Justice and the Catholic Church by Bryan Massingale

Best movie: “The United Kingdom”

Soundtrack of the summer: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Favorite way to re-charge: I walked the Golden Gate Bridge across and back! Great people watching, awesome engineering feat and a great experience of wind and water.

Favorite way to be lazy: sleeping in past 8 am

Biggest accomplishment this summer: updating the campus ministry web pages at Dominican University of California

Favorite trip: a road trip with two other Adrian Dominican Sisters from San Rafael, Calif., through Los Angeles to Henderson, N.V.

About Christina Capecchi

Christina Capecchi is an award-winning journalist from Inver Grove Heights, Minn. She is the author of the nationally syndicated column “Twenty Something,” which appears in more than 50 Catholic newspapers across the country. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, America, The Chicago Tribune, The Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press. She also provides contracted editing and writing services. She holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s from Mount Mercy University.