November 8, 2018

The Heart of Regina Health Center: Sister Rosemarie Robinson, OP, set the stage more than 25 years ago

Regina Health Center (RHC) has been celebrating its 25th anniversary throughout 2018. The most recent issue of The Heart of Regina Health Center newsletter documented some of those celebrations and has been providing a history of RHC. Sister Rosemarie Robinson, OP, was one of many who helped lay the foundation for RHC more than a quarter century ago. She is now a resident at RHC. The following “resident spotlight” article appears in the fall newsletter.

Read the complete newsletter for additional news, upcoming events, stories of how Regina Health Center carries out its mission, and more. Regina Health Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

Sister Rosemarie Robinson, OP, Set the Stage for Regina Health Center

Sister Rosemarie Robinson (formerly Margery Ann Robinson), a member of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, has had a rich and rewarding life—and was one of many who helped lay the foundation for Regina Health Center (RHC) more than a quarter century ago. She knew at an early age that she wanted to enter religious life. She was schooled by the Dominican priests and sisters at St. Dominic Parish in Youngstown, Ohio. And, she wanted to follow in her sister’s footsteps, Sister Bernadine Robinson. She became a postulant her senior year of high school. On April 13, 1947, she received her habit and religious name, Sister Rosemarie.

Sr. Rosemarie was set to attend St. John College for fulltime study when an elder sister who taught at St. Bernard school in Akron became ill. Sr. Rosemarie was asked to take her place for one semester, which became seven years. She later attended St. John College and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

Sr. Rosemarie went on to teach for many years and became the principal of St. Augustine School in Barberton. In 1969, she was elected to the Dominican Sisters of Peace General Council and in 1973 she became president of the congregation, serving in that position for eight years. Bishop Anthony Pilla appointed her in 1983 to serve as delegate for the religious of the Cleveland Diocese, where she served until the fall of 1991.

During that time, it became increasingly evident to her that a crisis was looming around the health care needs of the aging religious. Sr. Rosemarie said that she and Sr. Mildred Baker, IHM, visited with just about every religious congregation in Northeast Ohio to determine the needs of their members. She discovered that it was becoming very difficult for congregations to continue to care for their elder members. Younger members were in fulltime ministry and additional staff was needed to care for infirmed members.

Following her initial assessment of need of whether existing infirmaries could be used, she reached out to the Ohio Department of Health and other government agencies to see if there was a way to care for older members without being a licensed nursing home. Alternative options were discussed with the Conference of Religious Leadership (CORL) of the diocese. They discussed a collaborative remedy where communities could be in one location and could have the companionship of other members as well as the spiritual nourishment so vitally important to them.

Sr. Rosemarie knew that the congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine was considering repurposing a portion of its motherhouse at Mt. Augustine in Richfield, Ohio, and that they had a health care background in the diocese. She reached out to the congregation and planning ensued. Twenty-two congregations said “yes” to the resulting establishment of RHC. Twenty-five years later, Sr. Rosemarie Robinson has gone full circle and is now a resident at RHC.

Sr. Bernadine said of her sister, “Regina Health Center came together because of the willingness of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and the hard work of Sr. Rosemarie to solve a serious problem for our religious friends.”

Sr. Rosemarie added, “I am thankful to be at Regina Health Center.”

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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