Sister Regina Suzanne McAuley, CSJ
It isn’t mere coincidence that we celebrate the life of Regina Suzanne McAuley on International Women’s Day. We will hear the words of St. Paul in our first reading: “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” We can add to that – determination, resiliency, joy and zest as we celebrate the life of Regina, a Sister of St. Joseph for sixty-nine years. Called to burning, uncompromising, consuming zeal, Regina was passionately grounded in the reality of God’s love
Regina was born in Queens to Regina and J Harold and attended St. Clement Pope elementary school and Our Lady of Wisdom Academy. She then attended Queens College.. Consumed by her zeal for God and the dear neighbor, Regina entered the congregation in 1951.
In her early ministries, Regina taught elementary grades in Brooklyn and Queens. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies at St. John’s University and a Master’s in History from Manhattan College. She then taught History at Sacred Heart Academy and Holy Family High School. Regina earned a second Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford.
Through these years Regina’s family gave her constant, loving support that her sister Betty faithfully continued through Regina’s last days. Friends were very important to Regina and these years were full of stories of adventure and fun times with Brigid, Grace Avila and her girlhood friend Stella.
Her consuming zeal for God and for the dear neighbor pushed her out into the world and in the words of Bette Moslander, Regina had to “learn how to integrate prayer and political action, prayer and social responsibility, prayer and peace, prayer and justice, prayer and all of life.” And that is what she did as a parish minister in St. Thomas Moore, Hauppauge and Our Lady of Lourdes in West Islip where she met her dear friends, the Henry Family.
Regina became involved in Habitat for Humanity, serving on the Board, and brought Kathy Britt into this ministry when she returned from West Virginia. Regina was known to deal with every situation that came her way and she did that with the support of community, especially our sisters at 1715 Brentwood Road where Regina lived for thirty years. Her efforts on behalf of the dear neighbor were recognized with the Woman of Distinction award in 2004, from State Senator Caesar Trunzo.
Regina was determined and committed to pursuing what was right and just and she was tireless in reaching out to the dear neighbor as companion, advocate and oh yes as a clown.
For Regina, clowning was a ministry described as the action of sharing God’s love through laughter, telling people that the God who created the universe, the world and everything in it, loves each person – in Regina’s words: “I get people to play, usually against their will, and then turn that around and have it become a prayer experience.”
Regina lived life as Frank Sinatra’s famous song resounds: “I did it my way.” We are grateful for her way and her life with us with its zest, zeal and great heartedness. Today we can rejoice and be glad for we are certain that your reward is great for all eternity.
Sister Regina Suzanne McAuley, CSJ died on March 1, 2020 in the 69th year of her religious life.