Client Profile: Sister Regis Nuva
She stands less than five feet tall, but Sister Regis Nuva, an 85-year-old Project Angel Heart client, has a HUGE presence. Though she is homebound and living with congestive heart failure, she is likely one of the brightest and most gracious people you will ever meet, with a smile that could light up any room.
Sister Regis says that she couldn’t have asked for a better life, from growing up with a loving father and four sisters to her 62 years as a nun. “I’ve loved every minute of my life,” she said. “My mother died when I was little, so it was just my father that took care of all the kids. People in our neighborhood told him, ‘You can’t raise five girls on your own; you need to put them in an orphanage.’ His response was, ‘These are my children and I will raise them myself.’ And he did and he did it wonderfully.”
Once she reached her twenties, Sister Regis decided to dedicate her life to others as a nun, nursing the sick and the poor back to health. When talking to her it becomes apparent that she has trouble accepting help for herself after living a life of service to others. “I never thought I would need to be a beneficiary of this type of program,” she said. “Someday I’m going to be independent again and allow someone else to have these wonderful meals.”
Even through her illness, a recent knee replacement, and the fact that she’s the last remaining member of her family, Sister Regis maintains her incredibly positive outlook on life. “It’s very sad; my father is gone, all my sisters are gone, but I feel that they’re all in heaven watching over me.” Of the help she receives from Project Angel Heart, she explains, “You do beautiful work and everything is just so lovely. Standing for long periods of time is hard for me, so I used to just eat peanut butter and jelly every night. But now I know that I have very nourishing meals waiting for me, meals that have been marvelously helpful and keep me strong. I just don’t know how to thank you.”
Sister Mary Regis Nuva, OP, RN, passed away peacefully at Presbytarian/St. Luke’s Medical Center on Sept. 22, 2014. She celebrated her 86th birthday on Sept. 19, 2014.