Sister Mary Regina Renahan
1921 – 2013
Born: 21st June 1921
Entered Religious Life: 21st June 1954
Died: 2nd August 2013
Sister Mary Regina’s sister, Sister Catherine Patricia, was with her when she died very peacefully on August 2nd. Just an hour earlier Bishop John Buckley had visited her and blessed her.
Mary Renahan was born on 21st June 1921 in Kanturk, Co.Cork. The family moved to Cork City and Mary completed her final year at school in Eccles St. Convent School in Dublin. She qualified as a Dress Designer at the Sybil Connolly School of Design. But while she enjoyed her work, she “did not find it satisfying” and felt that Nursing would be a more fulfilling career. Contact with a Sister of Charity, resulted in acceptance for training at St. Vincent’s Hospital, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. It was wonderful.
However, after her Preliminary Examination, Mary experienced a further call – and so she entered the Religious Sisters of Charity on 21st June 1954. She had “found what she wanted” and was very happy. Though the Noviciate was hard it did not take from her peace and Sister Mary Regina was professed in January 1957.
After Profession she spent a brief period in Stanhope Street Convent and then returned to St. Vincent’s Hospital to complete her Nursing Training. She did Midwifery Training, at Barking in London, and worked for a short time in St. Vincent’s Hospital and Cappagh Hospital before she was missioned to Zambia where she spent 10 years.
Sisters who lived with her in Zambia say “living with her was a joy”. Her kindness to the younger sisters was greatly appreciated and she supported and encouraged them with her “Wisdom”. She enjoyed any “treats” that were available like visits to the Game Parks and especially a memorable holiday in Umzumbo, Natal.
On her return to Ireland, Sister Regina was missioned to St. Patrick’s Hospital Cork where she spent 22 years, in different Wards. Sr. Regina loved St. Patrick’s and was keenly interested in its development. She was appointed Assistant to Sr. Carmel Riordan and together with Dr. Finbarr Corkery they opened Marymount Hospice.
Following, a Sabbatical, she returned to St. Vincent’s Private Hospital, Elm Park, as Pastoral Care Sister to the terminally ill. She remained there until her retirement from active duty.
Sr. Regina spent her last years in St. Camillus’ Ward, St. Patrick’s Hospital, Cork, lovingly cared for by Doctors, Nurses and Ward Staff. St Patrick’s transferred to the new site at Curraheen in 2011 and she was the last patient to depart the site at Wellington Road, also the last Sister of Charity to leave St. Patrick’s. Immediately she settled into the new surroundings and really appreciated the “luxury” of all the modern facilities. Sr. Regina was a great example of accepting change and “letting-go”.
She was a woman of deep faith. For her “everything is in the Crucifix, the more you look the more you see”. She had a special devotion to Our Lady, especially to Our Lady of Good Counsel, and to the Rosary. The Rosary Beads were never out of her hands. Sister Regina had a great love for the Congregation and was always interested in everything concerning it. A favourite saying was “anything strange”.
She never complained during her illness it was all part of her initial offering and “God’s Will”. “I am so well cared for and everybody is so good” were her constant remarks.
Her funeral was attended by many sisters, relatives, friends, staff, former staff, and relatives of those she had nursed and befriended.