Maryknoll, NY — Sister Alice Regina McGinn, MM, educator and pastoral worker in Bolivia, Peru and the United States, died May 27, 2015, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY. She was 93 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 74 years.
Born on January 5, 1922, in Providence, RI, to James B. and Mary Frances Cummings McGinn, Sister Alice entered Maryknoll on July 2, 1940, following graduation from St. Mary’s Academy in Providence. Even before graduation she had planned to enter Maryknoll. Her brother, Father John McGinn, was already a Maryknoll priest and Alice wanted to join the Sisters community to fulfill a hope “to go to the missions where I, too, felt called to go.”
Upon completing the novitiate, Sister Alice made her First Profession of Vows on March 7, 1943, and immediately after, was assigned to Los Altos, CA, where she worked with the Maryknoll Fathers in the kitchen at the minor seminary in Mountain View. It was there, three years later, that she made her Final Profession, and that same year, 1946, she received her first foreign assignment to Bolivia. “My first desire for mission had been for China, where my brother was,” Sister Alice commented. “South America was a place I had not thought about.”
Sister Alice studied Spanish in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and, a year later, went to the small town of Cobija, Pando, which is on the northernmost frontier with Brazil. There she helped in the parish primary school, learning while doing what seemed to come naturally to her: teaching. In 1954, she went to another frontier town also across from Brazil, Guayaramerin, serving as the principal of the parish primary school there.
Following a period of renewal in the United States in 1956, Sister Alice returned to Bolivia, becoming director of the catechetical program as well as a teacher in the parish primary school in Cochabamba. She returned to the States in 1964, where she continued studies for her bachelor’s degree in education at Maryknoll Teachers College, completing them in 1967.
Sister Alice then returned to South America, this time serving in the highlands of Peru. In Puno and, later, in Capachica, she used her teaching skills with catechists, as well as her secretarial skills in the organization of much needed cooperatives. These cooperatives were a Christian response to the economic plight of the communities in that area. In Capachica, too, a creative response to small religious community living was experienced, as religious from different communities shared life, faith and ministry under the same roof.
Sister Alice left Peru at the end of 1970, then sharing her South American experiences of 20 years with relatives and friends in the USA, as well as giving mission talks in parishes and schools in New England as part of the Maryknoll Sisters Mission Education Team.
Always eager for self improvement and learning new skills, Sister Alice studied the fundamentals in bilingualism at Boston State Teachers College, then studied Latin American literature at Salve Regina College, Newport, RI, where she receive the Sigma Delta Pi Award. She also attended Sawyer School of Business, Providence, RI, where she earned a career secretary diploma in 1974.
For the next two years, Sister Alice worked with the Maryknoll Fathers Development Team as secretary in their New York City office. In 1978, she attended Southeastern Massachusetts University where she earned credits in bilingualism-analysis of teaching foreign languages.
From 1979 until 1984 she taught in the Providence, RI, school system, then was involved in catechetics, as a Eucharistic minister and lector at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Providence from 1984 to 1994. She then volunteered in various pastoral work in local parishes in Providence until 2008, when she retired. She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2013, where she lived until her death.
Sister Alice was the youngest and last of her siblings. She was predeceased by her brothers, Rev John A. McGinn, MM; Vincent P. McGinn; James D. McGinn; Edwin C. McGinn; Robert F. McGinn, and Joseph A. McGinn; and her sister, Mary C. McGinn O’Connor. She will be deeply missed by her nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews, who continue to reside in Rhode Island.
A vespers service will be held for Sister Alice on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at 11 a.m. in the same location. Interment will be in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.