When Felix Bianes and Ignacia Balbuena started their lives together, it never crossed their minds that the second of their five children would become an Augustinian Recollect Sister and the youngest of all would follow suit.
Sr. Regina Bianes, AR was born on September 7, 1955 in Gen. McArthur, Eastern Samar. Her first exposure to Religious women was with the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) sisters in their own town who owned and managed the local high school. The way of life of the consecrated women ignited the spirit of self-giving in Sr. Regina so much so that instead of proceeding to college in Manila in May 1972, God found a way to introduce her to the AR congregation through Fr. Eustaquio Rosaldo who brought her to St. Rita College. Thus, began the life of AR formation in Sr. Regina who made her first Profession of Vows on March 25, 1977 and her Perpetual Profession on March 26, 1983.
Her first assignment brought her to southern Philippines in durian-rich Lamba, Banga, South Cotabato, as the treasurer and econome of the AR community for two years. In the succeeding years, she was principal in St. Rita College Paranaque, Colegio de Sta. Rosa-Trece, St. Rita College Manila and as assistant principal in Colegio de Sta. Rosa-Makati and Directress in Colegio de Sta. Rosa-Intramuros. Perhaps the most exciting and grueling assignment she had was being a kindergarten teacher at St. John’s School in Milpitas, CA USA, where according to her, kindergarteners when told to “fall in line” would obediently queue up and literally drop themselves dead on the ground!
At the turn of this century, where everybody went agog with the predictions of Y2K, Sr. Regina was mooring over her doctor’s diagnosis of Lupus. What followed next was the series of never ending doctor’s appointments and treatments.
But what made us really remember Sr. Reggie with great aplomb was her diligence and conscientiousness in resolving Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues involving our schools. In her desire to straighten out each school’s obligation with the Securities and Exchange Commission, she was never one to chicken out with erring administrators emphasizing that thousands of pesos are wasted to penalties the requirements of which can actually be easily complied with. And true enough, during her watch, the GIS and other documents pertinent to SEC were understood and diligently worked out by all schools, the orphanage, dormitories, retreat houses and even the ARSC.
It was in November 2015 that Sr. Reggie finally decided to tender her resignation as a SEC attendee which was officially accepted by the General Council led by Rev. Mo. Maxima Pelaez, AR citing health reasons. In July 5, this year, Sr. Regina made her final trip to the hospital until that fateful Wednesday, August 8, 2018, when she succumbed to pneumonia at 3:11 in the afternoon with Sr. Rosa and two other biological siblings around her.
Farewell Sr. Reggie. Sr. Rosa will thrive as you taught her persistence and resiliency when you discouraged her to be an AR when she first started formation.
You will be terribly missed. Your funny antics, the pet names you have for some of us, your loud, oratorical voice, emphatic and full of drama will always echo in our hearts. As your group mates said, “We are very, very sad. But she belongs to God. Heaven is our home. For sure God, the blessed Mother, Saint Joseph and all the saints are rejoicing to welcome her!”
Lastly, in behalf of the congregation, I am grateful to our priest presider, Fr. Lito Amande and concelebrating priests Fr. Alexus Mansueto, OAR, Fr. Gaudencio de Mesa, Jr. OAR, KC Cosmilla, OAR, Fr. Henry Santiago, OAR, Fr. Cris Palomar, OAR, Fr. Rene Paglinawan, OAR, Fr. Glyn Ortega, OAR, as well as those who said wake masses and special prayers and blessing. The congregation is very grateful to the family of Sr. Reggie. To Sr. Rosa, to Edna and Emerita and to Felix Jr. for their presence and moral support, to all their relatives and friends. To the AR family, thank you for being one with us today. Your presence and prayers mean so much to us. May God bless us all.