Mother Mary Pius (Helen Marie) Regnier was born April 28, 1914 in Aurora, Illinois. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence on January 23, 1932. After serving as a high school teacher and principal, she was elected to the General Council in 1960. Elected as the twelfth Superior General in 1966, she held office for ten years during the turbulent time of renewal following Vatican Council II.
Mother Mary Pius began the process for the revisions of the Constitutions to bring them into accord with the recommendations of the Church for the renewal of religious life. She presided over the Special General Chapter of 1969. She was actively involved in the Contingency Planning which took place when it became evident that the Congregation was in financial difficulty. During her administration several of the congregation-owned high schools were sold: Marywood (Evanston), Our Lady of Providence (Clarksville) and Ladywood/St. Agnes (Indianapolis). With the formation of Provinces the duties of the General Administration changed and the Congregation Executive Council (CEC) was formed to include the Provincial Superiors as well as the members of the General Council. Administrative areas became defined as Government, Christian Development, and Apostolic Works. These had parallel structures on the Generalate and Provincialate levels.
The Sister Formation Program advanced. Most of the Sisters had attained degrees or were studying for advanced degrees, so the necessity of returning for summer classes at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods declined. The summer instructions cease after 1968. Correspondence and communications with outside organizations increased as the congregation became more active in social works. From 1970-1972 Mother Mary Pius served as vice-president of Region VII of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Duties as Superior General also made it necessary for her to travel to Rome, Ruillé, Taiwan and Peru.
After leaving office in 1976, Sister Mary Pius, who had ceased using the title of “Mother,” served on the Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of Joliet. In 1993 she retired to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Sister Mary Pius died November 27, 2005.