Tuesday, March 17, 2009
NDA's Women Making a Difference banquet this year featured something different, but long overdue--the recognition in the form of an award, of a woman who has made a very distinct difference in the lives of many students of Notre Dame over the years. The award has been dubbed the Sister Mary Reina Arlinghaus Merit Award and Sister herself has been its first recipient. Sister Mary Reina Arlinghaus, not an alum of the Academy, served on the faculty from 1947 to 1997 as Art teacher. Aspects of daily maintenance of the school plant were also on her agenda for those years. Her service to the school and her influence certainly did not end as those 50 years drew to a close, however. Mentoring of a new art teacher and assisting with the Art Club kept Sister Mary Reina with the arts in the school for several more years. Sister's voice is still heard on the intercom each morning around 7:40 inviting students to join her in the chapel to begin the school day with a decade of the Rosary.
Sister was born and raised in Cincinnati, the oldest of four children. In the picture from her childhood, she is with her sister Mil. While a girl, Mary Ethel Arlinghaus dreamed of being a nurse. As a teacher, Sister Mary Reina Arlinghaus has brought healing to countless students and faculty over the years. This is accomplished through her gifts of encouragement, of concern for others, and of healing wounds of hurt. Her instruction in art has opened within many students the realization of their own abilities in creating beauty. And the sharing goes on. Today Sister is still teaching art in weekly classes at Prince of Peace Grade School, at St. Joseph Heights with a group of S.N.D.s, and at the academy with a gathering of friends. Making a difference is old hat to Sister Mary Reina, one we hope she wears for many more years.