Sister Regina Mary Wallace
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow, a light has shone.” (Isaiah 9:2)
“These few, yet powerful lines from Isaiah reflect Sister Regina Mary Wallace’s missionary spirit and her understanding that her call was an echo of Mother Theodore’s missionary spirit. Her life-long response to the call was one that impelled her to bring light and joy to the people to whom she ministered and the sisters with whom she shared her life,” began Sister Paula Damiano in her commentary for Sister Regina Mary, who died April 27. Sister Paula was assisted in her commentary by Sister Margaret Quinlan.
Rita Ring Wallace was born July 21, 1934, in Addison, N.Y., to James and Regina (Ring) Wallace. She had two brothers, James “Jim,” (RIP) and Henry, now known as Brother James “Jim,” FSC. She was educated at St. Vincent DePaul Grade School, Corning, N.Y., and Most Holy Rosary, Syracuse, N.Y., and graduated secondary school from Most Holy Rosary. Sister Regina Mary entered the Congregation July 22, 1953, and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1956, and Aug. 15, 1961, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maryland.
Sister Regina Mary began teaching at St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1956. Her other Indiana classroom was at St. Patrick, Indianapolis. She also taught on the East Coast at Cheverus, Malden, Mass.; and Holy Redeemer, College Park, Md.; and St. Clement, Lansdowne, Md. In 1978, Sister Regina Mary began her long tenure in Taiwan, teaching at Providence College in Taichung, eventually known as Providence University, in Shalu.
“Sister Regina Mary loved Providence University; she cherished her students and challenged them to be excellent English speakers. Her 33 years of service there gained her the love and respect of thousands of Taiwanese students; admiration from her colleagues and appreciation from the bishops of the Diocese of Taichung. Following her retirement from teaching, Sister Regina Mary was asked by the newly appointed Bishop Martin Su to be his English secretary. He provided her with a driver who would transport her to and from the Diocesan Center. She was even given a bedroom there to rest and refresh herself during the day. Bishop Su asked Sister Regina Mary to accompany him to a conference in South Korea last year, a trip she thoroughly enjoyed,” shared Sister Paula.
“In her 58 years of consecrated life, Sister Regina was deeply loved for her gentleness, humility, consideration of others, sharp intellect and perhaps most importantly, her very strong faith in God,” continued Sister Paula.
“Sister Regina Mary herself summed her life up in this way: I’m most grateful for my parents, James and Regina, for their unfailing devotion to and care for our family and their respect and love for the Catholic Church; to my brothers, who lived abroad and loved the people long before I did: Jim in Japan, and Brother Jim, FSC, in Ethiopia; to the IHM Sisters for their tireless labors for my education, and for my religious vocation as a Sister of Providence. I appreciate having a great deal of variety in my life: living on hills and in valleys with endless diversity of landscapes, the changes of the seasons, the friendships and customs of the local people among whom I have lived or whom I have visited, not to speak of the incredible changes which were brought about by Vatican Council II and by the explosion of information in the fields of science and technology,” said Sister Paula.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Regina Mary was celebrated in Taiwan on May 5 in the convent chapel at Providence University. A memorial liturgy was offered in St. Joseph Chapel in Owens Hall on the same day, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. Sister Regina Mary is buried in the Da-Zhi Catholic Cemetery in the Archdiocese of Taipei.
“The literal translation of Da-Zhi means Great Wisdom. How appropriate that this woman of great wisdom will be buried in the cemetery with such a name,” concluded Sister Paula.
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