Sister Regina (Mary Urban) Hansen, O.S.B.

December 13, 1919 - August 8, 2007

Sister Regina Hansen, OSB, Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died August 8, 2007. The vigil will be at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, August 12, at Mount St. Scholastica and the Mass of Resurrection will be offered there at 10:30 a.m., Monday, August 13. 

Sister Regina Hansen%2C OSBA native of Alamosa, Colo., Sister Regina was the oldest child of Maria Griesemer and Ernest H. Hansen. She entered the Mount community in 1941 and made monastic profession in 1943. She earned the BA from Mount St. Scholastica College, the MA in music from the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and the MA and PhD in English from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis. Sister Regina taught at Lillis High School, Kansas City, Mo., and Donnelly College, Kansas City, Kans.

Recognized internationally as an innovator and educational reformer, Sister Regina went to India as a Fulbright scholar, was visiting professor of English at Kaohsiung Teachers College in Taiwan, taught English at Bethlehem University, West Bank and chaired the English department there, and received another Fulbright for teaching in Cairo, Egypt. While she was curriculum coordinator and assistant to the principal at DeLaSalle Alternative High School, she worked with others to devise the individualized teaching/counseling program there. As Director of the National Diffusion Network Project, she traveled to explain the DeLaSalle approach for adoption by other school systems. Listed in the Directory of American Scholars, she was a member of the American Benedictine Academy, Sigma Alpha Iota, the Modern Language Association, and the National Association for Foreign Student Affair. She taught at Mount St. Scholastica College and Benedictine College, Atchison, Kans., and was an emerita member of its Board of Governors. She was a member of the North Central Evaluation Team for Higher Education and a lecturer and evaluation consultant for the Kansas Committee for the Humanities.

An active participant in her religious community’s life, she was a member of the community council, the community senate, feature editor for Benedictines magazine, and writer for many other journals. She wrote the chronicle history of the Federation of St. Scholastica, We Were Blessed.  She was a member of the Kansas City, Kansas Civic Symphony, the Medical Arts Symphony at Kansas University Medical Center, and the Benedictine College/Atchison Community Symphony Orchestra.

Sister Regina was predeceased by her parents and by her brother Paul. She is survived by her sister Anna Marie (Sister Mary Raymond of Jesus, O.P.), of Los Angeles, Calif., sister-in-law Margaret Hansen, her nieces Paula Hansen of Cheyenne, Wy, Carol DeLois West Hale, Wy, and Mary Jane Boal, Evanston, Wy, and their families, and by her religious community. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica. 

Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers. 

S.Regina's memorial card

“You, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not forsake us, O Lord our God.”
Jeremiah 14:9

A gifted woman, Sister Regina used her formidable intellectual energy for research and teaching aimed to advance human welfare. From the undereducated poor who tend to “fall into the cracks” to the higher education that nurtures international understanding, her immense range of interests made her a trailblazer and catalyst for innovative educational programs. Violinist, pianist, administrator, college teacher (U.S., Israel, Egypt), world traveler, Benedictine lover of place, writer – Sister Regina encouraged others to love the arts and to study and serve. Born in Alamosa, Colo., she was the oldest child of Ernest H. and Maria Griesemer Hansen. Sister Regina entered the Mount community June 13, 1941, and made monastic profession Jan. 1, 1943. She earned the MA in music from the Conservatory of Music, Kansas City, Mo., and the MA and PhD in English from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis. She designed an individualized instruction process for DeLaSalle High School in Kansas City, Mo., and administered and explained its instruction/counseling approach for other school systems. As a Fulbright scholar, Sister Regina went to India and to Cairo, Egypt; was visiting professor of English at Kaohsiung Teachers College in Taiwan, taught English at Bethlehem University and chaired the English department there. She taught at Donnelly College, Kansas City, Kans., Mount St. Scholastica College, and Benedictine College, and was an emerita member of its Board of Directors. She embraced “the love of learning and the desire for God.” Let us remember her in grateful prayer.

Reflection for the Vigil Service

by Sister Joachim Holthaus, OSB

I first met Regina Hansen in an Abbey car on our way to perform over the radio
station which broadcast from St. Benedict's College. On our return, again in the Abbey car driven by a college senior, we had a traffic difficulty and, speeding over the viaduct we were pursued by a police car. We were taken to the police station in a blinding snow storm, where we waited for the Abbot to bail us out and to verify that it was not a stolen vehicle. Regina was a senior so she wasn't worried. I was a freshman with a campus curfew. I often thought that this may have been the catalyst that sowed the seed for Regina's thirst for travel.

There is a lovely volume in the Library called Journeys of St. Paul. Regina could very well have written of her journeys, for she traveled to India, to Taiwan, to Egypt, to Israel, and to every country in Europe. I was scheduled once to meet her in a hotel in Athens, Greece but by some "glitch" we missed each other by 12 hours. However, I was fortunate enough to spend time with my classmates, Regina and Paula, and with Laura in Bethlehem.

Although I did not choose the first reading tonight, from Wisdom, 7:7-14, it is
very appropriate for this service honoring Regina. The poetic text refers to Solomon's preferring WISDOM to scepter and throne, to wealth and priceless gems. He compares gold to sand and silver to clay. Regina, too, chose WISDOM. She preferred it to the gold and silver that could have come to a brilliant career of the mind. She preferred it to the wealth of priceless gems of the world.

She was wise enough to look at WISDOM and see it as a treasure that attracts friendship with God. "Where your treasure is, there is the heart also." (Luke, 12:34)

She was wise enough, too, to keep death daily before her eyes. Along with all her travels she knew she was on a journey of life, the destination of which was heaven. Death is not the end; resurrection and life are the true human destinies. [p.45 in Death and the Rest of our Lives by John Garvey.]

Regina grew up in a home surrounded by music. She, her sister (now a cloistered
Dominican,) and her brother all played instruments. Besides the family performances, Mrs. Hansen taught music and so there was a constant flow of students in the house. She was a gifted teacher. I know this because occasionally one of those students would come to the Mount music department as did Patti Windholz, to major in piano.

Regina loved beauty. She loved the beauty of friendship. She retained friends from
London, Egypt, Bethlehem, and she had an understanding heart for the Palestinians. She loved music; she delighted in her membership in the Medical Arts Symphony where she played her violin for several years. Of course, she loved literature and all the arts. In the Nelson Art Gallery is a marvelous painting of John the Baptist by the Baroque artist, Caravaggio. Whenever I go to the Nelson, the first painting I look for is this masterpiece by Caravaggio. It shows John as a humble, yet majestic figure, transformed by light into a visual drama. Regina reflected on this work and admired its sublime majesty.

Mozart wrote to his father: "As death is the true goal of our existence, I have formed such close relations with this best and truest friend, that its image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling. And I thank God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness." This 31 year old musician wrote to his father: "I never lie down at night without reflecting that, young as I am, I may not live to see another day." [Mozart: Traces of Transcendence by Hans Kung,, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerd,man 1991]

Today we are grateful for Regina's life among us for the completion of her life which taught us this most profound message - - "that for one who is faithful" as St Paul wrote, "the last trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." (I Cor. 15: 52-57)

In the homily by Bishop Crowley of England at the funeral of Cardinal Basil Hume, he closed with these words which seem appropriate for Regina: "Now that the journey is over, he is safely home behind the curtain, face to face. Our deep gratitude for the gift he was, provides this one final thought: If such were the gift, what must God be like, the Giver of that gift."