Irene was 23 when she entered the Sisters of Compassion at Island Bay on 8 December 1933, and received the Habit with her Religious name Sister Mary Regis on 15 September, 1934. Sister Regis was Professed on 15 September, 1936.
In December 1939, Sister Regis was transferred to Auckland to work with the babies. Sister was there until 1952 when she was chosen to be a member of our first Community for the Loreto Home of Compassion in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Sister spent eleven years in Australia, mostly in Wagga Wagga with a temporary appointment to Broken Hill for six months.
Sister Regis returned to New Zealand in 1964 where she lived at our Home at Silverstream until 1968. It was from there that she returned once more to Australia, this time to Broken Hill where she stayed until 1984. So a good twenty-seven years of her life was in Australia where she was greatly loved, not only by her own Sisters, but by all who came in contact with her.
Sister Regis loved her family; Stanley, Ruby, Hazel, and of course Rona. She loved to give them little gifts and her eyes would light up when she showed us the little treasures she had for them.
Sister Regis loved cats, and she always seemed to be surrounded by them. We remember the oversized ginger cat she had in Auckland. The cat loved Sister Regis but I do not think it was over-friendly with anyone else.
The image we have of Sister Regis when we close our eyes is the image of a happy person with a big smile and twinkly eyes. We can picture her half running, half walking so as not to be late for whatever it was she had to do next. Sister Regis was passionate about her vocation, a model Religious who for seventy-three years lived well her Religious Profession. She was faithful to prayer and we know she was because she used to tell us never to neglect it. Regis saw God in everyone she met and cared for and she did the ordinary daily things beautifully for the love of God. Like Suzanne Aubert she showed a strong aversion for any sort of publicity, and also like Suzanne she saw herself as ‘nothing else than an atom of instrumentality in the work of the Sisters of Compassion God Himself had raised, and continues by His own ways which are sometimes not ours’.
As far as we are aware, Sister Regis never wrote a report, an article for a magazine, appeared on television, or was ever interviewed by a reporter. We have never seen a letter she wrote from which we can quote from and preserve in our archives. Nevertheless her name will live on and the life she lived will be remembered not only in our hearts and minds but it will be recorded in our history.
On returning to Auckland in 1984, Regis was able to meet her family once a week and enjoy their company over a cup of tea at the Farmer’s Department Store. She returned to Island Bay in 1955 and finally to Silverstream when the Compassion Hospital and Resthome closed in 2002. At Silverstream she was lovingly cared for by the Nurses with Sister Justin and the other Sisters always attentive to her needs. During the last years of her life, Sister Regis enjoyed the visits of her nephew Ross who visited her frequently.
Sister Regis was never known to complain about what she had to do and she never complained about others. When things became a little tricky she just smiled and that was that. For nearly 99 years, she was forever gracious and just got on with life, accepting everything as coming from the hands of God. Now, Regis, you can enjoy your eternal reward with the Lord of the Dance.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
16.09.1910 08.12.1933 15.09.1934 16.04.2009 Silverstream Karori Cemetery