PAWTUCKET — St. Raphael Academy has dedicated the Sister Regina Brennan Guidance Center in honor of one of the longest working and most beloved members of the St. Ray’s faculty.
The dedication ceremony began shortly after 1:15 in the afternoon on September 15. Sister Regina, who was unaware of the events in advance, arrived at the White Building on the St. Ray’s campus to be greeted by a group of her coworkers, friends and former students.
“How do we thank someone who has offered 44 years of service?” said St. Ray’s Principal Daniel Richard. “On behalf of the school, thank you.”
Sister Regina, who was flushed with emotion, spoke throughout the event of how she feels at home at St. Ray’s. “I say all the time, I came here 44 years ago, and I walked from west to east, and I knew this was where I was going to be,” she said.
The dedication ceremony was followed by a reception, during which Sister Regina spent time talking and sharing stories with those in attendance. Even during the reception, emotions were high.
“How do I put it into words?” she said when asked her view on the day’s events. “Every time I’ve walked in the doors of St. Raphael’s Academy, you’re surrounded by love, care and support. That has been all my days and all my years, truthfully.”
“It has been a blessing to be here all these years,” Sister Regina continued.
“With me being somebody who’s been working here for 33 years, and before that I was a student here back in the ‘80s, I got to work with Sister as a student and then, obviously, as a colleague for many years, and I’ve just seen the many lives she’s touched over the years, personally and professionally,” said Mike Sassi. Sassi, who graduated St. Raphael’s in 1986, currently works as a math teacher and head football coach at St. Ray’s.
“I can’t think of any person more deserving of an award like this than her,” Sassi continued.
Even those who did not work directly with Sister or have her as a guidance counselor still claimed to have been influenced by her in some way. Scott Curran, a graduate of St. Ray’s (class of 2008), who has worked as a social studies teacher at the school since 2015, spoke of how Sister has done much to help him in his teaching career. “I didn’t have Sister as a guidance counselor when I was here, but I knew who she was. And ever since I’ve been working here, she’s always checking up on me, seeing how things are going. I think this is well deserved for her.”
One of the attendants, Nick Sebastian, attested the influence of Sister Regina even among those outside of the St. Ray’s community. Sebastian’s mother, who graduated from St. Raphael’s in 1984, was close to Sister both during and after her time in high school. When her mother underwent a traumatic medical episode later on in life, Sister Regina provided her with moral support, and continued to give her guidance and support in her marriage and family life. “She’s been an awesome role model in my life, and someone who I remained really close to,” Sebastian said.
Over the course of her discussions with her colleagues, friends and former students, Sister Regina spoke of how her career as a guidance counselor was more than simply a job, but a calling that brought about immense joy for her. “There was never a day when I didn’t want to come into work,” she said.