Sister Regina Marie Anson
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Transcript of video (dated June, 2005):

Sr. Regina Marie Anson

Good morning, I am Ione Marie Anson, now known as Sr. Regina Marie Anson. I’m 83 years old and I’m at Our Lady of Angels.

I was born in 1921 and at that time, they didn’t know very much about spina bifida. But I was born with spina bifida and now I have 99 lives.

I was known as a tomboy. I never planned on being a Sister. One of the Sister when we were decorating the Academy, St. Francis Academy’s gym for a dance, when I was on a step ladder; said to me "I think you should be a Sister." I almost fell off the ladder.

So without my knowing it, she set up an appointment with Mother Thomasine. I went to see Mother Thomasine and I said, "I don’t know why I’m here." I said, "I don’t want to be a nun. I don’t want to be locked up." She said, "Well, you don’t have to be a nun, but if you ever do you can come back and see me again."

I used to go down to the Prep with the classmate I was and I used to, the lay students we weren’t supposed to mix with the aspirants, but I would go there every night when the bell would ring to the bridge down at the Prep and talk to them. Then one day Sr. Cyrinus came and said you shouldn’t come anymore, you might, we might lose some vocations.

So then, when I went to the convent in 1940, Sr. Cyrinus came to the postulency and I said, "Who was going to lose what vocation?" Because there I was and all the others Sr. Peter and all those were there.

And I was known as a tomboy so everybody said that a tomboy will never stick it out. My first night in the postulency, I passed out. I had a cold and the Sisters sent me to the drinking fountain to take some medicine.

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While I was there, I keeled over and I kept calling for my mother. I didn’t know where I was.

So here I am, 50 some years later, have had many rough times. I was a tomboy, I played every sport there was. My legs were good then and now I hardly walk with them.

I had Sr. Agnes for class for Health and Hygiene at the College of St. Francis. We had to have that credit.

My brother, Father William Anson, was teaching school when Dr. Orr needed some help for Development. I said I know just who you could get. He said who? I said my brother. So I told my brother and sure enough, he took it. He helped them get out of their difficulties, that was left by the previous people. He stayed there until he felt they should get somebody that with more qualified for it because he had no training for it.

It just was his personality and he was well known. He helped us get out of the hole. So we owe that to my brother and Dr. Orr. I used to say to Dr. Orr when he’d call me and don’t ask me anything you don’t want the truth about because I’ll tell you just as it is. So, we used to go back and forth that way.

I taught at St. Pius X. I was principal at St. Bernard’s for 2 years, a small school on the east side of Joliet. Then I was transferred to Lombard, Illinois to St. Pius X which had double the number of students, 12 classrooms. I had 35 faculty members. I loved it there. I worked there.

Then I used to do some supervision for Sr. Ambrose, who was in charge of a program at the College, was one of several Colleges that had a program for teachers who were on provisional certificates. So they didn’t have their formal student teaching experience.

So whenever she had people out my way, I would supervise for her. So then they called me into the College and asked me if I would like to come there. I said, "Oh there’s nothing I would want to do at the College." Fr. Clark said "Oh well, I think we got something you could do. You could help Sr. Ambrose with the program."

So I went back and I thought, I used to go every weekend into Joliet to visit my folks, so I thought I could be there and spend time, more time with my folks. So I took the job.

We scheduled, we signed up 50 teachers that year. We were going to each take 25. Well she went on a vacation in an airplane and died in the airplane. So I was stuck with 50 teachers in every nick and corner of Illinois you could find.

The day that I had the first meeting with the teachers up at the College, I was just getting ready to start. I had Bob Marciani was going to be the speaker. They came and called me to tell me that I should come home right away. My mother was found dead in bed. So they took over the program and then I continued after that. Then I joined the Education program and taught Methods classes. I supervised student teachers, teachers out in the schools learning to be teachers.

For the rest of my years at the College, I was there 20 years, I became dorm director. Mr. Gallagher said to me we were ready to start school and we didn’t have a director of the hall. I said well I’m there anyway. I’ll do it til you get somebody.

Well, to my dying day, I was still director. Not my dying day, til the day I left I was director of the hall. Good years, good kids. Wouldn’t want to be there now with the kids, but we had good kids at that, different, different mentality. They used to plan parties. We used to set up tables in the hall and have parties. They put on plays.

When they started to put computers in the offices, that’s when I decided that I was going to pull out of the College. I didn’t want any part of computers.

So my sister, I had cancer and was 3 ½ months in intensive care. And my sister came, was a nurse, came and stayed with me all the time I was there.

When she was ready to go back to work, they told her not to bother. They gave her job away. So then she moved to Joliet and lived with me in the dorm for a year, then got an apartment.

I said well next year I’ll retire and I’ll join you. So, I got thinking about it, why should I wait a year? I don’t want those computers anyway and so I retired then and went to live with my sister. And had good years with her, then she got sick. She was a polio victim and was walking around on a broken fuse in her foot. And went to the hospital and had surgery. The fusion healed but she died because they couldn’t get oxygen in her body. She was a heavy smoker.

So then for my Jubilee day, well then the community told me I couldn’t stay by myself. So on my Jubilee day, June 15, 2001, I moved out to Our Lady of Angels. I was in good shape then, but I’ve gone down. I’ve deteriorated since. I had some spells where I’d pass out. So the last spell I had, they took my car away, which was my independence. Here I am, in a wheelchair now trying to get my legs back. I fell again and broke my wrist so I lost 8 weeks.

But my years at the College of St. Francis and the people that I worked with, were tremendous.

I knew Ric Lorenc, worked with him a little bit. I can’t say enough for the University and what they’re doing now is just great.

They should really attract more students as we modernize our campus. Sr. Rosemary Small is a very good friend of mine. She’s in a wheelchair and I’m in a wheelchair, but we’re still both plugging along.

I wish the best in all to the College and to the new President. He’s a second St. Francis. He cares and he’s making great progress. I hope that it all works out for them.

So long everybody.