Dominican Sister Mary Regis Nuva retires

Roxanne King

Dominican Sister Mary Regis Nuva died Sept. 22. An obituary will be posted later today. The story below is about Sister Regis’ retirement last week from nursing.          

After more than 60 years of providing nursing care to the poor, sick elderly of the Denver metropolitan area, Dominican Sister Mary Regis Nuva, 86, a registered nurse, is retiring from nursing. Those who were fortunate to work alongside her or to be a patient under her loving care witnessed the true meaning of Jesus’ new commandment outlined in John 13:34—“to love one another as I have loved you.”

“To be a nurse is a gift,” said Sister Regis who “wouldn’t change a thing” about having the opportunity to serve the community’s most marginalized. The 92-year-old charity agency, now called Dominican Home Health Agency, has always provided free, quality nursing care and health-related services to the poor, sick elderly in their homes. Dominican Sister Mary Regis Nuva in 1968.

“We were guests in their homes and treated each patient with respect, honor and dignity. That was the essence of it. It’s really so simple, actually,” said Sister Regis, a past recipient of the Hiawatha Davis Jr. Humanitarian Award.

In 1923, four Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor, all nurses, arrived in Denver. These dedicated missionaries would leave their Gaylord Street convent each morning equipped with their nursing bag full of supplies, and walk or take public “street cars” into the poorest quarters of Denver to provide in-depth nursing care as well as empathy and encouragement. In 1989, the sisters turned management and governance over to a local board of directors. This important work continues today with a paid, professional, lay nursing staff.

“Our Denver community is so fortunate to have benefited from the fruits of the sisters’ good works for so many years,” said Mary Morroni, board chair, “and Dominican Home Health Agency is the continuation of their legacy, providing Catholic health care to ‘the least of these.’”

The Dominican Home Health Agency has established the “Sister Regis Nursing Care Fund” for patient care. Donations can be made online at www.dominicansisters.org or checks payable to “Dominican Home Health Agency” can be sent directly to the agency at 2501 Gaylord St., Denver, CO 80205. For more information, call 303-322-1413 or visit the website above.

COMING UP: Forming mind and heart in faith

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“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

People tell me pretty regularly that we should not over-intellectualizing the faith — making the Church simply about ideas, doctrines, and rules. I agree that this can be a problem, but we also have to guard seriously against an opposite problem — emotionalizing and privatizing faith. We are blessed with a reasonable faith that can be studied in harmony with the truth of the natural world. Faith and reason strengthen one another, together leading our minds to conform to the mind of the God who is our Creator and Redeemer. In the midst of a secularism which pits science against the faith, it is important that we form our minds in the truth. Being rooted in the truth of our faith does not lead to abstract ideas, but to an encounter with the living God which sets our hearts on fire with His love.

The Dominicans have a long history of teaching the faith, founded originally to preach to those who had fallen into the dualistic heresy of Albigensian and producing the Common Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas. The papal theologian, who advised the pope, by tradition comes from St. Dominic’s Order. One of the most renown Dominicans teaching in the United States, Father Thomas Joseph White, has recently been called to Rome to teach at the Angelicum, the Pontifical University of the Dominicans. Father White, though a profound scholar, has produced a clear and accessible overview of the Catholic faith.

Father White’s book, The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism (Catholic University of America Press, 2017) offers a serious overview of the Catholic faith. It is not a scholarly work, but one that does challenge us to enter more deeply into the theological tradition of the Church, flowing from the Bible and Catechism, the Fathers, and especially the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. Part of the genius of the book is how it uses the theological tradition to address contemporary concerns such as evolution, sexual ethics, and relativism. The book contains seven major sections—Reason and Revelation, God and Trinity, Creation and the Human Person, Incarnation and Atonement, the Church, Social Doctrine, and the Last Things—as well as a robust epilogue on prayer.

Father White challenges us to “to be an intellectual. . . to seek to see into the depths of reality” (1). As intellectual beings, we have been created in the image of God and are called to enter into his truth and life. Therefore, White reminds us that “every person has to accept risk in truth’s call to us. Even religious indifference is a kind of risk, perhaps the greatest of all, for if nothing is ventured, nothing is gained. The mind is reason’s instrument, but the heart its seat” (5). Therefore, the ultimate questions lead the mind into prayerful contemplation of the truth. Theology cannot remain an intellectual enterprise alone, but must lead us to encounter God in prayer: “Prayer is grounded in our natural desire for the truth. When we pray we are trying to find God, to praise him, and to see all things realistically in light of him. In a sense, then, prayer stems from a search for perspective” (288).

Our faith forms us as a whole person and shapes our feelings and desires according to what is highest. Father White rightly points out that “heart and intelligence go together” (49). When it comes to God, intellectual theory is not enough, as he calls us to know him in a “concrete, personal, affective relationship” (48). This does not mean that we can dispense with theology. Quite to the contrary, “we want to get right who God is, and what the mystery of Christ is, so that we can be in living contact with divine love” (42). God speaks to us so that we may come to know him by exercising our minds to know the truth given us through the Church (36).

Knowing God is the work a lifetime and our eternal vocation. We can strengthen our faith by studying theological truths and deepening our capacity to contemplate divine things. Father White’s book will help us all to be theologians, entering into the practice of theology as faith seeking understanding. As we come to know God more, it should lead us to fall in love with him more deeply, strengthening our relationship with him and preparing us to see him face to face.