In Memory

Sister Regina Marie Wilson, IHM

April 2, 1932 – February 21, 2019

Regina Wilson, IHM

Sister Regina Marie Wilson, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, February 21, 2019, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on April 2, 1934, in Pittsburgh, PA, and given the name Helen Teresa. She was the daughter of the late George and Helen Mullen Wilson. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1954 and made her temporary profession of vows on August 2, 1957 and her final profession of vows on August 3, 1960.

Sister Regina Marie served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Archbald, PA, from 1957 to 1958; St. Mary Elementary School in Manhasset, NY, from 1958 to 1960 and 1967 to 1968; Immaculate Conception Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1960 to 1961; St. Bernard Elementary School in Hastings, PA, from 1961 to 1965; Sacred Heart Elementary School in Mount Holly, NJ, from 1965 to 1967; St. Peter of Alcantara Elementary School in Port Washington, NY, from 1977 to 1978; Nativity of Our Lord Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1980 to 1981; and St. Mary of the Mount Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1981 to 1982.

Sister served as principal at the following schools: St. Joseph School in Williamsport, PA, from 1968 to 1970; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, from 1970 to 1975; St. Rita Elementary School in Dundalk, MD, from 1975 to 1977; St. Raymond Elementary School in East Rockaway, NY, from 1978 to 1980; and Mother of Sorrows Elementary School in Murrysville, PA, from 1987 to 1989.

She also served as director of religious education at St. Mary’s Parish in Cecil, PA, from 1982 to 1984; director of evaluation and accreditation at the Diocesan Schools Office in Bridgeport, CT, from 1984 to 1987; assistant superintendent at the Archdiocesan Schools Office in Newark, NJ, from 1989 to 1995; associate vocation director at the Diocesan Vocation Office in Brooklyn, NY, from 1995 to 2005; student teacher supervisor at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA, from 2005 to 2006; pastoral care volunteer at Vincentian Homes in Pittsburgh, PA, from 2006 to 2010; and volunteer receptionist at North Hills Community Outreach in Millvale, PA, from 2010 to 2013.

From 2013 until the time of her death, Sister Regina Marie served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in English from Marywood College, a Master of Science degree in administration from Lehigh University, and a Master of Science degree in religious education from Duquesne University.

She is preceded in death by a brother, George T. Wilson, Jr.

She is survived by two brothers, William M. of East Providence, RI, and Robert E. of Maineville, OH; a sister, Mary E. of Pittsburgh, PA; and nieces and nephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Tuesday, February 26 at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Monday, February 25, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh, PA, at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.



Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2019 issue
Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Regina Marie Wilson, Funeral February 26, 2019

Those who dwell in the
heart of love,
who act justly, with integrity,
will join the dance of life, will sing
the songs of joy!

These words from our wake service for Regina yesterday capture the true source of her integrity and deep spirituality and also define how she lived each day of her life. Her unpretentious, joy-filled, and welcoming spirit came from her deep inner trust and faith in a God she loved deeply and who, she came to understand, loved her in the same way. Regina lifted us Godward through her goodness while at the same time revealing her own inner strength and beauty. We knew her as a person of vibrant faith and keen intelligence that sparked her life-long love of learning. She was acutely interested in what was happening in the world, and was quite willing, at times, to share her opinions! But even if she disagreed with you, Regina was not a person who judged or held grudges—she had a genuine respect for each person. We witnessed often her kindness and concern for others, her generosity and deep compassion, her gentle, dry wit and open generosity.

Regina was a bearer of God’s love and light throughout her sixty-two years in ministry. I mentioned yesterday that she was kind of a renaissance woman in that she was able to move into many different professions with the same high quality of success. She taught and/or was principal for almost thirty years in elementary schools and was also a director of religious education for two years. Her reputation for innovation and organization was widely recognized and she was transitioned into diocesan-level ministries. She served as diocesan director of evaluation and accreditation in Bridgeport, CT, as assistant superintendent of schools in Newark, NJ, and as associate vocation director for the diocese of Brooklyn, NY. Her resourcefulness and commitment earned her accolades from those she served in each of these positions. Returning to her beloved Pittsburgh, she served as supervisor for student teachers at Carlow University for a year. She then turned to pastoral outreach as a pastoral care volunteer at Vincentian Homes in Pittsburgh and later did volunteer work at North Hills Community Outreach, which provided services to low-income individuals and families. From 2013 until the present she served as a prayer minister here at OLP.

To know Regina then was to know a life dedicated in service to God and others. Yesterday, as we shared some wonderful stories about her many kindnesses, her generosity, her creativity, and her simple goodness, I was struck once again by the profound impact of a single life lived in service to others. It’s a lesson we all need to ponder often. Regina understood deeply that love of God and love of others is what truly matters in our lives, not great achievements, awards, or possessions. She taught us about love every day by her actions: encouraging a student teacher whose lesson plan failed miserably, remembering every niece’s and nephew’s birthday and holidays with a small gift and a note, sending a card to thank a parent for a support received, and countless other seemingly small, ordinary kindnesses that showed each person that they were loved far better than mere words.

We rejoice in the gift of Regina’s life with us. Her trust in God and her great gratitude for all that God and life gave her, even during the struggles of her disease these past years, defined her life. Her strength was also rooted in the love of her family and friends, especially Jane, her friend for 45 years. Joan Chittister described that kind of mutual support when she wrote: “We are companioned through life. Underneath it all, holding us up… are the people who love us. However much we find ourselves in the throes of life, they stand by until we land again on solid ground, find ourselves again….
Because of them we stay on the path. They provide the unchanging foundations of love… (Joan Chittister, OSB, Called to Question). These are the blessings of a friendship centered not on self, but on the other.

Regina will be missed by all of us, but we rejoice that she is now at home with her God and enjoying eternal life with her parents, Helen and George, and her brother, George. We pray for all of us who are already missing Regina and her irreplaceable spirit: her brothers, Bill and Bob and their families, her sister, Mary, Jane and the members of her family, her IHM sisters, her Band members, and all who walked life’s journey with Regina and were blessed by her life among us.

When Regina and Jane would gather for prayer, they always prayed this prayer together:

“Let me know your love, Lord.
Let me know your presence.
Let me know your peace.”

Regina taught us the deep meaning of these words by how she lived. Today she is experiencing the fullness of God’s presence and peace in the embrace of eternal Love.

Jane will now place the scriptures on Regina’s casket, for indeed she heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full… the Word now beckons Regina home.

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