Sister Regina Finnegan, SND, an icon at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur where she served as principal and then president for thirty-four years, died on August 29, 2013, at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati, OH. At 91 years old, her frail body could no longer hold her kind and loving spirit.
Sister Regina was a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for more than seventy years. Born in Queens Village, NY, and educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame at Sts. Joachim and Anne, Sister Regina attended Trinity Preparatory School, llchester, MD, and Trinity College in Washington, DC, where she earned a B.A., in Chemistry and Mathematics in 1953. Sister Regina continued her education at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, where she earned a Masters in Biology.
Education distinguished Sister Regina; it was her calling. She was an elementary teacher at the Gesu School in Philadelphia, PA, St. Joseph in Bound Brook, NJ, and Julie Billiart Country Day School in llchester, MD. She also taught at Little Flower High School, Philadelphia, PA, Maryvale Preparatory School, Brookland, MD, and Villa Julie College in Stevenson, MD.
Sister Regina served as principal at both Notre Dame High School, Greensboro, NC, and Trinity Preparatory School, llchester, MD. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur appointed her Secondary-school Supervisor for the Maryland Province which stretched from New York to Georgia. In 1970, Sister Regina began her tenure at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur and stayed until 2004.
Sister Regina also served on the Board of Trustees at Trinity College beginning in 1980 and was the Board Chair until her term ended in 1993. Sister Regina received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Trinity College in 1992.
There were a multitude of responses to the news of the death of Sister Regina from Academy alumnae and past parents who shared heartfelt tributes to her life as a dedicated educator and a compassionate leader. One alumna of the Academy of Notre Dame, wrote: "In my darkest days I am shored up by the steel she helped put in my spine and the faith she helped instill in my heart." The messages are a cascade of grateful memories of Sister Regina's "shepherding young women into adulthood and making every person who walked through the gates feel welcome." Many shared that Sister Regina knew every student's name and that she taught about the power and strength of elevating others. Sister was also remembered for saying, "A mistake was always an opportunity to make things better."
Sister Regina's love of Notre Dame extended beyond local community to the province and the congregation as a whole. She cherished the charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame, especially its call for "hearts as wide as the world." She was extraordinarily gifted with wit, intelligence, clarity of vision, entrepreneurial skills, no-nonsense decisiveness, tenacity, and a profound sense of mission.
Sister Regina was laid to rest on September 6, 2013 at the Sisters of Notre Dame cemetery in Ilchester, MD. A Memorial Liturgy was held on Saturday, October 5 at the Academy of Notre Dame.
Click here to read Sister Nancy Bonshock's memorial tribute.
Click here to view the many words of rembrance shared about Sister Regina.