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Sister to enjoy second time around

Sister to enjoy second time around - (06-08-2012)

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Photo: Sister Cecilia Rose Spreckelmeyer (left) pledges her support and obedience to Sister Ramona Varela after her re-election as prioress of the Tucson monastery.

Sister Ramona Varela, OSB has been re-elected as prioress of the community of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson, Ariz.

A Tempe, Ariz., native, Sister Ramona entered the Benedictine Sisters shortly after her high school graduation. She made her first monastic profession on Sept. 12, 1963, and has held several leadership positions throughout her time in the Congregation. 

The prioress of the Tucson monastery is an elected position, and Sister Ramona is grateful for the method that allows Sisters to choose their own leadership at the local level.

"The election was a peaceful process," she reflected. "Women religious understand it is all about service and what it takes to build up the Kingdom of God."

Sister Ramona's history with the Benedictine Sisters includes her election as prioress general of the Congregation from 2002 to 2008, being instrumental in long-range planning for the Sisters' three monasteries in Arizona, Wyoming and Missouri.

She led a variety of projects, such as an expansion of the Benedictine Sisters' online shopping site, development of a low-gluten altar bread and exploration of the use of renewable energy resources. 

She returned to Tucson after her completed term and was immediately elected local prioress. Since 2008, she has overseen extensive renovations to the monastery grounds and the installation of a large solar energy array. In addition, the Sisters in her community were tapped to guide two new Congregational businesses, ScriptSure Ink and Prayerfully Popped.

Sister Ramona looks forward to what the future brings and says, "Our first goal is to deepen and revitalize our practice of monastic values and Eucharistic adoration." 

She added that she anticipates depending more on "wonderful lay volunteers and good friends" to help them realized their goals.

"With her knowledge of the the area and its unique culture, along with an intensive dedication to the Lord, she is an absolute gift to our monastery in the Southwest," Prioress General Sister Pat Nyquist, OSB said of Sister Ramona.