Her grandchildren call her Lola, the Filipino word for grandmother. Leticia Regala – now Sister Letty, SDS – was a widow, mother of six, grandmother and nurse. Her family members lived on either coast, in the Midwest and in Hawaii. They were all busy with their professions and their own families. Leticia decided she wanted to find new meaning for her life. Her faith was strong and she knew she had many more years to contribute.
She was called to deepening her faith life and started to make retreats. As a woman of faith and service, she said, “Thy will be done.” At one point she was invited to enter a religious community and she began to consider the idea. She had read about second vocations for men as priests, and learned that women religious congregations had been experiencing the trend as well.
“Married life actually prepared me for religious life and community. As a wife and mother, I was asked to be generous, flexible, and open to growth and change. Within community the same values are needed as we try to affirm and support one another,” Sr. Letty explains. “We all share common Salvatorian values, but each of us ministers in different ways. I enjoy community life and the other sisters respect my maturity and life experiences,” she says.
“My family can see how happy I am,” Sr. Letty says. She retains her strong family ties, but today the Salvatorians are also very much a part of her family life.
Leticia and her late husband Dr. Emilio Regala Jr. raised their family of six children in Hartford, Wis. as members of St. Kilian Parish. The couple had met and fell in love in their native Philippines. Back then Leticia was active in the Cursillo Movement and Legion of Mary. She had earned a master’s degree in nursing and was a Catholic lay volunteer after Hurricane Andrew devastated the Florida coast.
During her vocation formation, Sr. Letty served as a chaplain/pastoral team member in Phoenix, and also had an immersion experience with Salvatorian Sisters in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“While in Brazil, I learned about the culture and ministries of our sisters. We have an international membership and serve in twenty-eight countries. In Brazil, we serve 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,” she says.
Sr. Letty feels her call to religious life was Divine Providence. She was attending Mass with one of her adult children in Milwaukee and saw a card about the Salvatorians posted on a bulletin board. Soon after, she began her religious vocation journey.
“From the beginning, I felt comfortable. There was another Salvatorian Sister who was a grandma too. The sisters are real people. They celebrate life fully. I was drawn by the simplicity of our mission, to make Jesus the Savior better known and loved. I was also touched by our universality, inclusiveness and openness to ministry choices. I have energy and want to be able to keep growing and giving.”