Oldest Sister on LI Dies At 106 Years of Age

Sister Grace Regina

Sister Grace Regina Wingenfeld, O.P., who at 106 was the oldest Religious Sister on Long Island, died Dec. 2.

She served as a Dominican Sister of Amityville for 90 years. She is believed to have been the oldest Sister in America.

On Nov. 9, her 106th birthday, her room was full of family, friends and a television crew. She told the viewers of News 12, “Do the best you can and entrust the rest to God!”

Sister Grace is a native of Brooklyn who grew up in St. Barbara’s parish, Bushwick. She entered the convent in 1927 at 15 years of age.

She taught elementary at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, Dyker Heights, 1929-36, and math at Bishop McDonnell Memorial H.S., Brooklyn, 1936-44, as well as at St. Barbara parish, Bushwick, 1944-54, and Maria Regina Diocesan H.S., Uniondale, L.I. She also taught in Puerto Rico for eight years.

She was the chairman of the psychology department and was the director of counseling and placement at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, L.I. In 1980, she spent a year at Covenant House in Manhattan, ministering to runaway children.

In 1984, after she retired, she volunteered at Corpus Christi parish, Mineola, and later at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Wyandanch, where she taught immigrant women.

In retirement, she led prayer groups at Dominican Village, Amityville, an assisted living community founded by the Sisters.

She earned a master’s degree in math from St. John’s University, Jamaica, as well as a doctorate in counseling and guidance from Fordham.

“She lived an awesome life and touched so many lives,” said Janice Woodiwiss-Schneider, a great niece, who considers her aunt her mentor.

“I will always remember that she said she had no regrets in life! She said at her 100th birthday that she could not think of one thing in her life that she would change if she could. How many people can say that?”

The funeral Mass took place Dec. 6 at the motherhouse. Burial took place in the sisters’ cemetery.