Volunteer Spotlight: Sister Leticia Regala, SDS
In the early 1990s, Leticia Regala found herself a widow after 32 years of marriage and an empty nester with six adult children no longer living at home. When her husband Dr. Emilio Regala Jr. passed away, she was living in Wisconsin and prayed about her future.
She felt called to put her 36 years of nursing skills to use and serve in Florida after Hurricane Andrew wiped out Homestead Air Force Base in 1992. She applied for a volunteer position and spent a year as a health coordinator on the base assisting migrant workers there who had lost everything.
Sister Letty, as she is now affectionately called, did not become a nun until later in life when the Dominican sisters invited her to a retreat to see if she might be a good fit as a member of their religious order. As a lifelong practicing Catholic and registered nurse (RN), she found that she enjoyed parish nursing, which integrates the practice of nursing with the beliefs of a religious community.
As a member of the Sisters of the Divine Savior, she has utilized her nursing skills on immersion experiences abroad both in places like Brazil and Tanzania.
She recalls about one of her experiences, “In Brazil, we served in hospitals, orphanages, pastoral work, schools, nursing homes and counseling. There were the same challenges of the very rich and very poor as I observed growing up in the Philippines.”
In 2008, she was called to serve in a small convent in Arizona. She was introduced to Mission of Mercy’s Shepherd of the Valley clinic in Phoenix by a friend who served as an interpreter shortly after moving here and has been volunteering as an RN at the clinic every Wednesday for more than a decade.
“As a Salvatorian sister and a retired nurse, to me serving at Mission of Mercy is a practical and effective way to share God’s love and our savior’s healing,” says Sister Letty.
Her native language is Filipino, but she also speaks English. Her 15 grandchildren call her “Lola,” the Filipino word for grandmother. She says her patients at Mission of Mercy teach her patience and humility, and they are always so grateful for the care that they receive.
Mission of Mercy is not the only nonprofit that benefits from Sister Letty’s nursing skills and volunteerism. She also spends time at Hospice of the Valley and the Arizona State Veteran Home.