Sister Rose Regina Smith ’50, G’90, CSJ, a retired 35-year employee of The College of Saint Rose whose family is tied to its beginnings, passed away on July 20. A 2008 Carondelet Medal recipient and administrative assistant to the president, she was the niece of Sister Rita Agnes Casey, CSJ, one of the founding Sisters of the College, and the daughter of Ursula R. Casey Smith ’24, a member of the first graduating class.
Sister Rose was known for her attention to detail, with a tendency to gently correct colleagues on their posture or grammar. Yet she rarely missed a birthday, birth, or anniversary, sending out thousands of cards, handwritten and bound in a matching ribbon. She was always impeccably dressed, pulling together beautifully coordinated outfits from donated items.
“Sister Rose was a treasured part of our Saint Rose community, whose legacy is knitted into the College’s fabric, not only because of her family history, but because of her spirit and many decades of service to Saint Rose,” said Saint Rose President Carolyn J. Stefanco. “She will be dearly missed by those of us at Saint Rose and the many people she touched far beyond our campus.”
It was upon joining the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet that Maryrose Smith, who grew up just a few blocks west of the Saint Rose campus, received the name Rose Regina, a happy answer to her prayers. “Regina” means “queen,” and as an undergraduate, she had always dreamed of being crowned Rose Queen, an honor that was bestowed upon her many years later.
Although she saw many changes in her decades at the College, Sister Rose spoke about its ties to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in a 2011 Saint Rose Magazine article.
“The whole point is that the spirit and mission and vision of the original sisters are still in place,” she was quoted as saying. “It is embedded.”
Sister Rose Regina Smith ’50, G’90, CSJ, at left, with her mother, Ursula R. Casey Smith ‘24
Sister Rose spent her early career working at Catholic Central High School in Troy, New York, and Rome Catholic High School in Rome, New York, as a teacher and administrator, and she returned to Saint Rose in 1974 as an administrative assistant to the president, later becoming assistant to the president for donor relations. To the surrounding community, she was the face of Saint Rose, serving as representative and ambassador: a dedicated, brilliant, caring alum, who took pride in always looking her best as a representative of the College. When she worked in donor relations, she exercised her considerable skill for encouraging donors to give.
A testament to lifelong learning and self-improvement, she graduated with a degree in commerce from Saint Rose in 1950 and went on to earn an M.A. from The Catholic University of America, then added a Masters in Education in Reading to her resume when she was in her 60s.
Sister Rose continued working at Saint Rose until 2010, finally retiring at the age of 82, but still offering her services as a volunteer.
Sister Rose Regina Smith’s wake will be held in the Sisters of St. Joseph Provincial House Chapel, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, on Monday, July 29, from 4 to 7 p.m., with the prayer service at 7 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Rose will be held in the Provincial House Chapel on Tuesday, July 30, at 10:30 a.m. Read the obituary posted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet here.