Teaching Baby-Boomers: Not for the Faint of Heart!

"You called. I answered and entered the ministry of teaching…I survived only on your mercy and strength along with the wisdom of those around me."
~Sister Regina Marie Bernet

Image of young Sr Regina as a teacher
Photo provided by Peggy Derhake, Former Sacred Heart Academy Student

Did you miss part one of Sister Regina Marie's story? Catch-up on the story of how she went from a loving home in Springfield to winding up in prison! Read more here.

After 18 months in formation, Marilyn made her profession of vows, took the name Regina Marie, and launched off to points north, beginning her teaching ministry among the littlest students at Our Lady of Grace School on Chicago’s north side. For twelve years she taught in crowded Baby Boom-generation classrooms full of students—from kindergarten to fifth grade—at schools in Chicago and its suburbs as well as in rural Irwin, Ill., and in Decatur. Her first principalship was at St. Margaret Mary Parish, Algonquin and then St. Walter on Chicago’s southside.

For those first 20 years of religious life, from 1955 until 1975, Sister Regina Marie gave her all for her students while she continued to study herself. During summer “vacations” she completed a bachelor’s in art at St. Xavier College, Chicago; a teaching, supervision and administration certificate for k-12 education, and a master’s of education in teaching administration and supervision from the University of Illinois! It was not an unusual program for Springfield Dominican Sisters at the time. Today, though, recalling the relentless cycle of teaching, studying, and returning to the classroom with little or no time for rest still fills faint hearts with admiration and wonder!

Interested in hearing directly from some of Sister Regina Marie's former students from Sacred Heart Academy? Click through the stories below to read just how she became a Living Hope for past students and still gives them hope today. 

Living Hope Testimonial: Using Our Talents for Good

By Website Administrator | December 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

I took art all four years of high school with Sister Regina Marie and achieved the Golden Palette Award. She was my favorite teacher at Sacred Heart Academy. She was always happy and welcoming. She encouraged her students and would find something positive about their artwork even when they thought it wasn’t great. I learned […]

Living Hope Testimonial: A Box of Senior Photos

By Website Administrator | December 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

If you are lucky, you have a teacher or mentor that holds a special place in your heart.  Mine is Sister Regina Marie. If you’re interested in helping the Dominican Sisters continue to hold those in need in their prayers, consider making a donation here to help support Sister Regina Marie and the Dominican ministries […]

Living Hope Testimonial: Graced with Guidance

By Website Administrator | December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Having taken art during all four of my years at Sacred Heart Academy, I was graced with the guidance and tutelage of Sister Regina Marie Bernet. Some of the projects that I remember doing include: a straight-on magazine image of a face. We cut the magazine picture straight down the middle so it was a […]

Living Hope Testimonial: “A Radiant Presence” at SHA

By Website Administrator | December 8, 2020 | 0 Comments

If I was to pick the most influential person in my life, it would without any hesitation be Sister Regina Marie. I was beyond blessed to have her as a teacher during my four years at Sacred Heart Academy. One of her most admirable traits is that no matter what day it was, what was […]

You might imagine that during these two decades of her life, Sister Regina Marie could see ahead on the path God had chosen for her: teaching and administration all the active days of her life. But she would be surprised, again and again, at the ways God continued to call her forth to a new and expanding life of ministry and adventure. Don’t miss the rest of the story!

Come back here next week, or, if you’d like stories about the unfolding life of Sister Regina Marie to come directly to you, sign up here for personalized updates.

Share the gift of Living Hope with Sister Regina Marie and her fellow sisters.

To share a gift of gratitude for Sister Regina Marie’s years of selfless service in Illinois’ parochial school classrooms, click here.

1 thought on “Teaching Baby-Boomers: Not for the Faint of Heart!”

  1. Pamela (Smith) Cox

    I had Sister Regina Marie in 4th grade at Holy Family Catholic School in Decatur, IL..
    She was very young and very soft spoken, kind and fair. One of my favorite teachers.
    Pam (Smith) Cox, Decatur, IL

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