Ursuline Sister of Louisville Regina Marie Bevelacqua, teacher and Special Olympics coach, dies at 85

Ursuline Sister Regina Marie Bevelacqua, left, and Mary Jo Payne co-founders of St. Mary’s Center are seen in the center’s library in this 2018 file photo. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Ursuline Sister of Louisville Regina Marie Bevelacqua, former executive director of St. Mary’s Center, died April 7 at Nazareth Home. She was 85 and had been an Ursuline sister since 1955.

Sister Bevelacqua, a native of Morgantown, W.Va., ministered as an educator in South Carolina and Kentucky. She also spent five decades serving individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Sister Bevelacqua started teaching special education classes in the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1965. She taught at St. Peter, St. Ann and St. Joseph schools in Louisville. She served as principal of Monsignor Pitt Learning Center, now Pitt Academy, for more than 20 years. She also taught for a year at the Ursuline Child Development Center.

Sister Bevelacqua was a Special Olympics coach for more than five decades and helped to develop the first Special Olympics games in Chicago in 1968.

She was the founder and director of the Harvest Home, which served women with intellectual disabilities in Louisville from 1986 to 1998.

In 1993 Sister Bevelacqua and Mary Jo Payne co-founded St. Mary’s Center, which serves adults with intellectual disabilities. Sister Bevelacqua served as executive director of St. Mary’s until 2020. Bellarmine named Sister Bevelacqua and Payne to the Gallery of Distinguished Graduates in 2019 for their work with disabled individuals. Sister Bevelacqua was awarded a WLKY Bell Award in 2018.

She is survived by a sister-in-law, Jackie Bevelacqua of Raleigh, N.C.; several nieces and nephews and members of her community.

Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 15 in the Ursuline Motherhouse Library with a vigil at 7 p.m.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. April 16 in the Ursuline Motherhouse Chapel. Burial will follow in St. Michael Cemetery.

Masks are required and COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville Mission Advancement Office, 3115 Lexington Road, Louisville, Ky., 40206.


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