sister regina hughes
August 26, 1914 - May 19, 2010
Sister Regina Hughes poured out her life as a gift to others wherever she was and always with a certain contentment that let you know she loved being a Sister of St. Joseph. She was born August 26, 1914, in St. Louis, Mo., to James Aloysius Hughes and Mary Agnes Hickey Hughes. Baptized Regina Rose, she had three brothers and two sisters.
Hers was a happy childhood. The family lived in Blessed Sacrament parish, where she and her siblings went to school. At Rosati Kain High School she met the Sisters of St. Joseph for the first time. Although admittedly not an "A" student, she liked school but especially admired the sisters.
After her graduation, Regina Rose was planning to attend Webster College. But God had other plans, placing Catherine Healy in her path. She and Regina became fast friends their senior year, and near the end of their high school years, Catherine confided to Regina that she was entering the Sisters of St. Joseph and would be going to Carondelet. Regina then decided that she, too, would give religious life a try so the two went to Carondelet together. Catherine would become S. Helen Clare and Regina would receive the name S. Mary Francella. She later reclaimed her baptismal name.
Eleven Rosati-Kain girls entered on that Sept. 8, 1933. Regina said she found convent living very interesting, not as hard as she thought it would be. Even though the R-K girls experienced homesickness, they enjoyed the camaraderie of each other. Shortly before profession day in 1936, she was called into Mother Virginia Becker's office, who asked her if she had any objection or aversion to deaf people. At first Regina thought perhaps Mother Virginia was thinking there was a problem of deafness in their family because her brother at a very young age was already wearing a hearing aid. As it turned out her first assignment was to be St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf.
When she arrived at the Institute she didn't know what to expect and was surprised that there was no sign language. She learned from S. Anna Rose Kraus that they were becoming an oral teaching school. Thus Regina never learned to "sign." S. Ann Bernadine Wackenheim trained her as a teacher of the deaf, a ministry S. Regina loved from the very beginning. She was an excellent teacher and the young children learned well under her tutelage.
After 12 years of working there, however, she asked to teach hearing children to broaden her experience. She was assigned to Holy Angels in Indianapolis, Ind. Three years later, she moved to St. John's School in Green Bay, Wis. She continued teaching on the primary level to hearing children until 1976 when she went back to her beloved St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf. For the next 19 years she taught, served as a child care worker, houseparent and, finally, as assistant to the director of volunteers and development. On her "off " hours, S. Regina helped S. Anna Rose in their small shop or made and sold candy at Christmas and at their annual bazaars.
After the school moved to a new location in Chesterfield, Sister Regina was having trouble finding her way around their new facility. She decided it was time for a change. She moved to Carondelet and was thrilled with her large, "marvelous, beautifully renovated room on the Minnesota side." From there, after she and S. Anna Rose had been together for 68 years, they moved to Nazareth Living Center together, a decision she never regretted. While there she tried to help others as best she could.
Always generous in sharing her gifts, her talents, her time, S. Regina now receives from the Lord the gift He has for her...eternal life! May she rest in peace.
S. Kathleen Karbowski
S. Rita Louise Huebner