Sisters of Charity Federation Archives

Regan, Sister Claire E., SC, Oral History


Claire Regan.jpg


Sisters of Charity of New York
Interview with Sr. Claire E. Regan, SC
Thursday, 7/30/19 1:32PM • 42:27
Angelica Bullock 00:00
Today is July 30th, 2019. My name is Angelica Bullock and I'm interviewing Sr. Claire Regan. We are in
Sr. Claire's office right now in LeGras [Sisters of Charity Center Administration Building]. Will you state
your full name and your religious name?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 00:22
Claire E. Regan. I use the 'E' because there's another Claire Regan in Community so I started using
the 'E'. Claire E. Regan and that is also my given name.
Angelica Bullock 00:37
What is your current age now?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 00:39
Angelica Bullock 00:44
When did you enter the congregation and how old are you?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 00:49
I entered at age twenty-nine and it was 1982.
Angelica Bullock 00:56
And how many years have you been in the Congregation?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 01:00
It will be thirty-seven years in September.
Angelica Bullock 01:05
So first we're going to talk a little bit about your family life. Where were you born and where did you
grow up?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 01:12
I was born in the South Bronx and baptized in St. Luke's Church. And then my family moved when I
was an infant to the projects in East Harlem on 99th Street, the Carver houses and we were
parishioners of St. Francis DeSales Parish. I went to St. Francis DeSales school for elementary school.


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Angelica Bullock 01:44
And where did you go for high school? Was it an elementary kindergarten through eighth grade?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 01:52
High school, I went to the Bronx High School of Science in the Bronx.
Angelica Bullock 02:00
Can you tell me a little bit about your parents, their name, their place of origin, their occupation?
Sr. Claire Regan 02:09
My father was Peter Regan. And he was born in County, Cork, Ireland, in 1904. He died in 1980 at age
76. I was 27. My mother was Catherine Boyle Regan, like Elizabeth Boyle, which always kind of tickled
me. So, my mother was Catherine Boyle Regan. And she was born in Bayonne, New Jersey of Irish
parents, who emigrated here and settled in New Jersey.
Angelica Bullock 02:53
Do you know how they met?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 02:55
Yes, my father was a boarder in the house. My mother's Aunt had a boarding house, and my father was
a boarder there. And my mother would help prepare meals on Sundays for the men. And she met my
Angelica Bullock 03:14
Do you have any siblings?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 03:16
Yes, I had four siblings. Two of my brothers have pre-deceased me. Daniel, Peter, Daniel deceased at
age sixty-two, Peter deceased at age fifty-one. I have a sister Kathy. She's currently age sixty-nine and
a twin brother James.
Angelica Bullock 03:42
And are any of your siblings in religious life?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 03:45
No. No one in the family ever was. No.
Angelica Bullock 03:52
And where did you go to college?


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Sr. Claire E. Regan 03:56
I started at NYU [New York University] as pre-med. I dropped out after my second year. I think organic
chemistry was my downfall. I did not do well on the early testing and I just dropped out from NYU. Plus
it was the days of pot and hippies and free love and all that kind of environment in the Village. I wasn't
all that comfortable with it at the time. So, I dropped out and really felt I needed to make a living to earn
my lifestyle, earn my way. I recently moved into an apartment with my sister and paying rent and the
bills while I was getting money part time was not enough. So, I wanted to work full time and make a
living, and then financially help my family in some way.
Angelica Bullock 04:54
So, what were you doing for work?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 04:57
I worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield. I answered telephones for the Dental Claims Department, all kinds
of subscriber questions and queries. "Where's my claim?" "Where's my check?" "You paid me the
wrong amount." "What are my benefits?" We would hear from dentist subscribers.The group
representatives took any and all phone calls for the Dental Department. We also handled the written
correspondence to the members when they had questions or issues about a claim payment, whether it
was correct or incorrect, what were the benefits that were applied. That kind of thing.
Angelica Bullock 05:40
Did you like doing it?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 05:42
We got volumes of calls that I did for about five years and I said, "I can't answer another phone call!"
Then I wanted to go into the claims examiner claims adjuster side of things because the pressure from
the general public, the subscribers, was getting intense. We had more and more contracts coming in,
and fewer people to handle the phone volume. And I said, "I'll work on the claims." Because the
problems we were getting on the phone, I said if work on the claims side and fix the claims, we won't
get half the calls. So, I figured I'll take a promotion and work as a claims adjuster, which I did, but that
was boring as heck. After about a year-and-a-half of that, I took a promotion to be a statistical clerk in
management services. And I did statistical work management services.
And in about a year-and-a-half into that I saw an opportunity to look at graduate education and that the
company would sponsor me for a graduate degree which I didn't think I had the chance of a snowball.
But my colleagues in the Dental Department said, “If you're going to go on to school, apply for the
scholarship and see what happens, but don't just, you know, go on and act like you'll never have the
chance.” And I won on the scholarship. So, I was paid my salary and full tuition was paid by the
company for two years and I went to Chicago to Northwestern University, the Kellogg School of
Management in Evanston, Illinois. And I lived for two years just north of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois.
And my degree was in health and human health and hospital services, health and hospital systems
management, that's HHS health and hospital systems management. Hospital systems were just
beginning at that time. It was a brand new venue and also HMOs [Health Management Organizations]
were coming into more of a public awareness. I can't say acceptance, they were still a little


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experimental in terms of public acceptance, but HMO was becoming a model for the delivery of health
care, primary health care especially. So that was the era in which I was getting my graduate degree.
Angelica Bullock 08:23
And how old were you approximately when you are getting your graduate degree?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 08:28
Twenty-four to twenty-six.
Angelica Bullock 08:32
Because you said that at that time you were twenty-four to twenty-six?

Sr. Claire E. Regan 08:36
I was twenty-five to twenty-seven.
Angelica Bullock 08:38
Twenty-five to twenty-seven. And you joined the Sisters of Charity at 29.
Sr. Claire E. Regan 08:49
When I finished, when I came back from my graduate degree, it was 1980. My father died a few months
after I came back to New York, and it was after that, that I experienced a sense of a call to vocation. I
hadn't much thought about being a nun at all. It was never anything that appealed to me. And certainly,
I was on a fast track for the management level, officer level at the corporation. So, this was kind of an
unexpected inconvenience, my vocation, my call. But it was done in October, it was maybe about that
Thanksgiving that I started to get this idea, did you ever think of being a nun? It was a crazy idea that
must be foreign? And I was always faithful going to Church and I helped at my parish. I gave
scholarships to young people who were working in the day camp for the summer, I would pay for one or
two of those counselors to get the salary paid for them. I was very generous in the collections.
I was active, and it happened that this Sister of Charity came to the parish just at that time when my
father died. And she and I were working, and she put me to work on things I've never done before,
liturgy planning, some faith sharing. It was something called the renew program. I was like, “I never did
that before.” She said, "You can do it, come on, you can do it." "But I've never done this before." "You
can do it.” That was Sr. Carol D'Angelo, and she came as a social worker to the parish and was doing
outreach to the families in the home. And so, with God's call and inspiration, the question wouldn't go
away. Then Sr. Carol, I would meet with her. They started to have some discernment meetings for
vocation here at the Mount [Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx, NY]. Once a month, little gatherings of women
who might be asking the question, and so I went to those meetings and then I pursued the matter
through Sr. Carol's help and contact with the Community and so on. And I say I entered through Mount
Carmel. That was the local convent on the 116th street. So, I tell people I entered through Mount


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Angelica Bullock 11:19
So, what did your family think about you joining the Sisters? Especially, what did your mother and your
siblings think?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 11:30
Yeah, my father was dead at the time. My mother was not happy. She said I was hanging out with that
Sr. Carol too much. And I knew it was going to be a difficult conversation. But God inspired me and I
had the answer. I said, “You know, Mom, if there's anybody to blame, it's you and dad.” She didn't have
an answer for that. So God spared me, that really quieted her down but, she wanted to have
grandchildren and I was going to be the one. So anyway, after my first year, when I was entering
novitiate, my mother came to me and said, I see that you're happy and so on. But she wasn't at the
Angelica Bullock 12:14
What did your siblings think?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 12:17
I was crazy. "And what are you doing? What? Do what? Become..." I mean, my friends, my siblings.
My sister tells me that she went to my mother and said, "Can you believe this thing that she's doing?"
And my mother said, "You know, she was always different. Even as a little kid." I would always go to
the little religious article store we had in the neighborhood and buy those holy cards for birthday gifts
and little statues and rosaries, Bibles, kind of little religious articles for anybody's birthday or my
parent’s anniversary, something for the house. So, my mother said to my sister, in these offhanded
conversations, when I guess they were trying to figure me out, said, “You know, she always was a little
different." So that's kind of where I guess they came to terms with it. I was a little different, I was
Angelica Bullock 13:11
And how did you feel entering at the age of twenty-nine?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 13:16
I was giving up a lot. I didn't own a car or a home, but I was giving up my credit cards, my bank
accounts, my career path. That was the biggest thing. I was giving up my career path, my apartment,
my living independently for nine years. I mean, this was a big experiment. It was a big experiment. It
was a big mystery and I had to let go of a lot but a lot of it also was that sense of the career path and
where I was headed, and then this other was over here, a redirection.
Angelica Bullock 13:58
What was your first mission working with the Sisters?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 14:02
As a candidate, I served at St. Vincent's Hospital as an administrative resident. And that's like a
medical residency but in administration. It's called administrative resident. So I rotated through various
departments in the hospital. I got to know the Sisters at the hospital. I got to know the administrative
issues and the staffing and the problems of the largest, large Catholic institution.


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Angelica Bullock 14:31
A question that I've been asking other Sisters, is the ability to see God in their mission. A question I
have for you is when you were working in there, did you see God in the work that you were doing? Was
that something you were concerned with? I guess it's not really...

Sr. Claire E. Regan 14:51
Oh, no, I've struggled. I struggled with the politics of healthcare, the reimbursement, the politics, the
systemic issues of health care. The word Catholic I remember saying at one time, "Okay, call it
Vincent's Hospital. Don't call it St. Vincent's Hospital," because what was happening in the board room
or in the administrative venues was not the same dialogue or engagement, mostly male dominated
power, conflicted, reimbursement-driven. It was not the same world as the Sisters were inhabiting on
the outside, serving the patients and trying to serve patients, patients' families. The patient advocates
ombudsman, work in the lab or in the different surfaces of the hospital giving direct service. There was
a real conflict at that time in my heart, about the Catholic mission and what was Catholic about this. It
didn't feel very different from any other hospital at that time. It didn't feel that way to me coming in.
Angelica Bullock 16:07
Is that something that you still feel or has it evolved?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 16:13
There aren't Catholic hospitals in New York much anymore. Most of them have been driven out, the
reimbursement mechanisms. There are a few of course, St. Joseph's, St. Vincent's, Harrison, and
upstate, they're run differently upstate. It's not the same level of unreimbursed free care. It's not the
same volume. So I left, then I entered and became a novice. And I did a year of volunteer work at the
the Veterans Hospital on Kingsbridge Road. And I loved it. One day a week I was at the information
desk, greeting the visitors, told them where they could find whatever they were looking for or give them
visitor's passes. Just pass the time of day with the different men coming in. It was mostly men, coming
for outpatient services. It was a great environment, it's like a big boys’ club. It was very different, the
Veterans Hospital, very different.
And then I entered novitiate and took vows. My first two years I worked at St. Joseph's Hospital in
South Yonkers as the administrator and I liked that very much. I liked the idea of a community hospital.
There was a Sister of Charity running it, Sr. Mary Linehan. It had a wonderful sense of mission, identity
in the neighborhood, really had a community hospital mission and sense of itself that I loved and the
staff was tremendous. The doctors, the employees, everybody had been there for a long time. It was
like a big family. It was nice, I liked that. But I wanted to get back to East Harlem and I did. I went back
to work for a home health agency in East Harlem as a client advocate.
Angelica Bullock 18:25
And that was for the Littles Sisters of...


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Sr. Claire E. Regan 18:27
Little Sisters of the Assumption. And I was in the food pantry. I didn't run the food pantry in terms of
ordering the food; Sr.Chris [not a Sister of Charity] did that. But there were two of us. Managed the food
pantry, all the advocacy, most of it welfare advocacy, some evictions, applications for public benefits, all
kinds of public benefits. Applications, food stamps, Medicaid, Welfare and part of the city-wide coalition
of emergency food providers. We were documenting the matters of hunger in East Harlem, and what
was causing people to have to come with food emergencies. What were the health impacts of some of
those food emergencies, and impacts on children and families in the neighborhood of East Harlem. It
was an exciting place to be and we were doing it collaboratively with other churches in the
neighborhood who were beginning also to open food pantries.
Angelica Bullock 19:34
And did you see the people who were using your services often or was it more...?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 19:40
Everyday. Oh, yeah. They were coming every day for food.
Angelica Bullock 19:45
And how did that impact your life or your theology or anything?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 19:54
There's a quote in Scripture, 'the faithful steward who disperses food from the master's supply.'
something like that. But I remember praying on that many a time and being grateful that God had put
me in such a significant position to be the faithful steward dispersing the goods from the master supply
to those in need. It was a very difficult era in East Harlem. It was 1987 to 1992. The crack epidemic,
AIDS was happening, AIDS epidemic, crack cocaine, there were drug wars. I mean, people coming in
the agency were either newly arrived undocumented people who have no jobs or have new babies and
were trying to get health care for the babies and the mothers. And then you had addicts coming in to try
to get some food to sell on the corner. So, we had to kind of be wise stewards of the little we had, so
that we would disperse it in the proper way we had to. We had to assess each person differently and
individually, but there were people trying to get over who were addicted to substances and things. Then
what we tried to do, because we didn't want to pre-judge, we would take the labels off the can and
market peas, carrots, potato, you know, but take the labels off the cans so they couldn't be resold. Or
that somebody wouldn't be selling it on the corner. Because the clients would come in and say, “Sister,
you gave to that guy the other day and he just was selling it on the corner,” so we were hearing it from
the people that we were trying to serve that we were being taken advantage of. So, there was this kind
of tension in serving in the front lines of the poor community in a drug era and era of crack cocaine and
AIDS. That was part of the pain of being someone giving away food as well. It was a terrible heartache,
because you didn't want to deprive someone of food if they needed it. So, what we did was mark them,
take the labels off the cans or put a hole in the spaghetti box or do something so they would have food
but they wouldn't be able to sell it.


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Angelica Bullock 22:32
Did you get pushback either internally from other Sisters and the Community or externally, family
members, friends, about the work you were doing specifically during that time? Did Sisters discuss
Sr. Claire Regan 22:53
We did. I lived at Mount Carmel at that time then and we did. We were very aware it was a wonderful
community. There were ten of us in diverse ministries. So, they were education, employment
empowerment with Grace Institute, parish work in inner city communities, parishes, nursing, there were
different careers and occupations and a few of the Sisters worked at the agency with me teaching GED
and whatever. So, we were very committed to the neighborhood and to the people. So, there was no
pushback. There was all kind of collaboration and support and mutual prayer and conversation at
dinner and just good support. It was a wonderful community.
Angelica Bullock 23:53
Can you talk a little bit about your time as the director of Elizabeth Seton Housing?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 23:59
Well, that taught me not to join a committee. Let's see. So, there was this committee, there was this
plan. Sr. Florence Speth had built Fox House [homeless shelter for women and children in Harlem,
Manhattan, NY] and wanted to do another building. So, a few of us gathered around her because she
wanted to do another rehab. And the building became available and was funded by the state, which we
were to call Seton House, at 1991 Lexington Avenue on the corner of 121st street. And as I said it was
funded $1.4 million by New York State Homeless Housing Program. And it was permanent housing for
formerly homeless families. According to the state rules for funding, the families, and we fought also to
have individuals, homeless individuals, we fought for that, had to be homeless for at least eight months.
That was tough. I said, "Eight months, they're going to unlearn any good habits they might have had,
eight months." I could not get that rule to bend at all. So, with a lot of remediation of the families when
they were coming back into the community, to really feel they were welcomed, had places to go for
help, had the supportive people around them, it was supportive housing, and we had a food
We had some health fairs at the place. We tried to have tenant meetings to try to build a sense of
community. The food co-op met every month and it was called the Share Program. Attended meetings,
so I did that for four-and-one-half years. At that point it was stable, fully tenanted, everything. It was
fully tenanted within eight months, seven/eight months, fully tenanted. Documented each case, they
had shown that they were in what shelter and they had been in at least eight months. So, you had to
have all that documentation for the state. And you had to register the rents, so then it was pretty routine
at that point. Help the families with their special needs, register the rents, inspect the apartments.
activities of daily life for the mothers that needed some help raising their children. We had a little after
school program, Sr. Trinita Flood did a little after school program with the children doing their
homework when they'd come home. So, they could come to our place after school and be picked up by
their parents at Seton House.


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Angelica Bullock 27:00
Let's talk about that.
Sr. Claire Regan 27:02
The justice work. It started when I was on a poverty [committee] out of one of the assemblies [election
of Congregation Officers], there were committees formed and I was on the poverty committee, and you
had to be named to that committee. So, Sisters came to us and said, "I want you to serve on the
poverty committee." Then they submitted our names and the council formed these particular
committees out of assembly, and I was named to the poverty committee; I think there were seven of us.
And in the matter of our coming together and the issues of the times, we said we need to be more
effective in our work for justice. So, we created justice effectiveness as the position.
Now there had always been a social concerns coordinator before that, so it wasn't per se that different,
but then again, it was because it was taking our advocacy into a prime motion. In other words, not just a
social concerns weekend once a year or a little update in the 'LeGras Bulletin,' [internal weekly
publication featuring Community events and administration news] but really, with phone trees and
relays, educating the Sisters on the matters and then not telling them how to vote. But, when it was
time for a vote in the Congress and informing them much the way network does, informing them there
was a significant vote happening in the Legislature or in the United States Congress, and would
they call during that week, their representative. The message was sent on behalf of the poor, this is
what we want to see happen. Vote against this or vote for it. But it's pretty much you did the education
and then the suggested action.
Angelica Bullock 28:44
And under what president was this happening was this ...?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 28:50
That would have been Clinton [President Bill Clinton, 1993-2001]. A lot of it was under Clinton. Mr.
Bush [President George W. Bush, 2001-2009] and the other first Mr. Bush [President George Bush,
1989-1993]. That was the era that I was in. So, welfare reform was a major piece and the national
health care reform, Hillary Clinton [First Lady of the United States, 1993-2001] taking the lead on
national health care reform. I went to an invitational meeting in Washington that network put together,
what would be the platform for Catholic healthcare to put forward. People from all across the country,
there were Sisters who were doctors and professors of health, medical schools and people working at
mobile health clinics in Appalachia and I was doing my work in East Harlem, there was just so much
going on. So national health care reform was really big, a really big issue at the time and Hillary Clinton
was pulling all the pieces together. So, this was the Catholic effort to get a platform together. They had
doctors against nuclear war, they had all kinds of people at this invitational to Washington, DC and
sponsored by network. And we really fleshed out what we wanted to see in that health care and that
was three or four days. We fleshed argued out, yes, no, maybe so, why, why not? And do you know
when healthcare actually came out in the Obama time, network had a lot to do with getting that passed.
And they were held up in that indoctrination series, they were held up for public scrutiny, because they
played a significant role in Canadian national health care passed.


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Angelica Bullock 31:03
Can you explain a little bit what exactly network is?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 31:07
Network started in the '70s. It was national health care lobby, Catholic social justice lobby. And it was
run by women religious at the time. So, it was a national social justice, Catholic social justice lobby
officially registered as lobbyists.
Angelica Bullock 31:29
And can you talk about what specifically you and other Sisters were passionate about when it came to
Sr. Claire E. Regan 31:39
Access for the poor at a reasonable cost. Access was big issue, access. There were so many people
with AIDS and drug addicted, and they were not getting any help anywhere, nobody. There was no care
for them unless they could pay for it or have insurance. It was really, really, access for the poor and
Angelica Bullock 32:11
I know I'm missing things. Give me one minute.
Sr. Claire E. Regan 32:14
I'll give you 5 more minutes.
Angelica Bullock 32:16
Do you have anything to add about corporate responsibility?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 32:20
Yeah, that was the era of big, big matters of the environment, corporate responsibility. So, the first time
I ever heard the word Maquiladora. I went to the first meeting that I went to, and they kept talking about
Maquiladora, Maquiladora. And what is that an endangered animal or something? I didn't know what a
Maquiladora was. M-A-Q-U-I-L-A-D-O-R-A. It was a factory across the border. And they were using
poor Mexicans to make products for Americans and then ship them across the border. So. they were
paying no wages and selling high profits in the United States, so it was this whole sense of justice for
the Maquiladoras. Well, I thought it was an endangered species, some fur-bearing animal. You know,
was funny, my very first meeting, I was totally blown out of the water. You go ICCE, Interface Center for
Corporate Responsibility, and these are high-powered folks, up to the signs of the times, well read,
talking justice, bang, bang, bang, and it's energizing, but it's also exhausting. But issues of the
environment, plastics and chemicals in the water, pollution in the Hudson River was a big matter that
we had. Healthcare, the cost of prescription drugs was another area I took a lot of interest in. And then
credit access and credit matters, credit cards, lending practices with banks because we're a major
banking center here. So, to save money with my budget, I didn't want to travel.

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I took on healthcare, which was New Jersey-based corporate headquarters, the banks, which were
New York based on credit, and credit operations and finance, banking practices, and then the
environment. Some of that I took on but I didn't take it on big because those companies were in other
parts of the country. Some of the chemical and oil producing, polluting, and they were all around the
world, Shell, [Royal Dutch Shell, oil refinery company] those kind of folks. So, I focused more on the
pharmaceutical companies, the price of drugs and the banking credit practices and home lending and
derivatives and things like that.
Angelica Bullock 35:06
I know we're running out of time. I think we have three minutes but, could you discuss a little bit how
you and the other Sisters, there was a committee, is that ...?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 35:15
The Interfaith Center is a national group, it's a national organization of religious investors. And that's
how I first got captured by New Orleans. We went down there and had our annual meeting in New
Orleans in 2009. Katrina had hit in 2005. We had our annual conference in 2009. And it took my heart,
you know, we were investing in there, we were doing post-disaster investing, looking at it more
systemically, post-disaster recovery, and how you finance it and look for justice among the insurance
companies and the banks as well as the federal grants mechanisms. So, I went down to New Orleans
and went to the different areas and parts of the city and I just fell in love with the city and then the
Federation came out with the ministry, the House of Charity, the next year. Actually, the letter came out
the next month. So that was June, we had the annual meeting. In July the letter came out inviting
Sisters, if they were interested to think about ministry in New Orleans. And I got there, we opened the
house January of 2010, and I got there June of 2010. I was there for nine years. Rebuilding was the
primary work, volunteer groups doing rebuilding. But I also got involved at peacemaking, working with
Mothers who've lost children to violence, that whole sense of community engagement, religious
organizing around matters of violence in the city, and then giving bereavement support in my parish to
mothers who had lost children in the violence. So that was what I did on the outside.
Angelica Bullock 37:21
It kind of seems like there's a transformation. Maybe, but not maybe in your career path where it seems
like the work you were previously, most recently doing was more emotional, or more...maybe that's not
true. I guess when you're talking about the bereavement counselor. Could you explain maybe...
Sr. Claire E. Regan 37:49
I took that training during the days of the AIDS epidemic I took that training because I wanted to help
mothers or people coming in who had a family member with AIDS. So that training I had for a long time,
but I was applying it in a different circumstance with the violence in New Orleans. I was applying it in a
different, in a more concentrated, focused way to a support group of women who were coming together,
trying to help each other because they had lost a child to violence.
Angelica Bullock 38:27
So, in helping others heal, how or was it a transformative experience for you? I guess helping people
through grief. Was it …

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Sr. Claire E. Regan 38:48
Rewarding? Well, you have to realize the whole city was screaming, the whole city of New Orleans. So,
it was a city in grief; that was part of what called me there. So, I was even in pastoral visiting, there was
something that you were touching or hearing or experiencing in the people you met. That was the
shared story of Katrina. And it was a new chapter in the city trying to come back. And coming back in
ways that people hoped were for the better, which they were in some ways, but they were gentrifying at
the same time.
Angelica Bullock 39:30
What do you see for the future? New Orleans, maybe in a positive light?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 39:39
Oh, yeah, it's positive. And it's wonderful. It's a great place for families for faith, the church in New
Orleans is very different than the church in New York. Very pastoral, very committed, going back in
families, generations. It's just a whole different reality. New Orleans is a great place. It's got everything
going for it. Good food, good music, good people. What more can you need?
Angelica Bullock 40:16
Do you have any ending comments that you'd like to add your interview?
Sr. Claire E. Regan 40:21
The way I see things going, I met with an associate [lay volunteer working with the Sisters of Charity of
New York] last night and our conversation today, the justice agenda is going to take us to new places.
So, for instance, the matter of immigration is going to be drawing us physically, emotionally to the
madness at the border. You know, we're going to have to get more involved and take little risks. And I
think that call to justice for Earth as well, is going to make us put out substance, not just our money, but
our lifestyles, behaviors, commitments, relationships, all is going to be rehashed or renewed or made
different. Because of what you're looking for is the consistency of your lifestyle with your mission, with
the message. And if the message is this time of the Earth, and time of Earth and Earth suffering, as well
as the poor suffering economically, ecologically and injustice, ecological injustice. They bear the
outcome of people seeking profit at the expense of Earth and the poor suffering, so our mission
continues. It will have new armament. Our education, new modes of communication, amplify the
message in ways never before. Clinton's daughter Chelsea [daughter of President Bill Clinton and
Hilary Clinton] said, "One person can make a movement." Look at Mother Seton, thirty-three sisters in
New York when we started. So, you don't need a lot of bodies in this age of communication. You need
the heart and the head that come together around the gospel and Christ and the Kingdom. So, it's a
great time, right? No lack of challenges.

- 12 -

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Regan, Sister Claire E., SC, Oral History


Sister Claire E. Regan, SC
Sisters of Charity (New York, N.Y.)
Monasticism and religious life of women
Health Services Administration
St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center of New York. Department of Community Medicine
Patient representatives
AIDS (Disease)--Patients
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Food banks
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility


Inspired by volunteer involvement in her parish, Sr. Claire E. Regan left her career in corporate management prior to entering the Sisters of Charity in 1982, at the age of 29. During her varied ministry experiences, she lobbied regarding food insecurity, homelessness and the need for improved healthcare for the poor. During the challenges of the AIDS epidemic and drug wars of the 1980s-1990s, she served as an administrator in several metropolitan New York hospitals. As Director of Elizabeth Seton Housing and later in post-Katrina New Orleans, Sr. Claire worked with a national organization of religious investors to address accountability for health insurance companies, banks and federal grant mechanisms. Sr. Claire was a Councilor in Leadership at Mount Saint Vincent from 2019-2023.


Sisters of Charity of New York


Sisters of Charity of New York


Sisters of Charity of New York




Mindy Gordon (Transcriber, Editor)


Permission for reproduction or quotation must be obtained through written application to: Director of Archives, Sisters of Charity of New York, 6301 Riverdale Avenue, Bronx, New York, 10471. This permission is valid only insofar as the Archives of the Sisters of Charity of New York, as owner or custodian, has any rights in the matter and does not remove the responsibility of the author, editor, and publisher to guard against the infringement of any rights; including copyright, that may be held by others.






Oral History


Regan, Claire E., SC Oral History


New York City

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Bullock, Angelica


Regan, Claire E., SC


Louise Le Gras Hall at Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx, New York

Original Format





Sisters of Charity of New York, “Regan, Sister Claire E., SC, Oral History,” Sisters of Charity Federation Archives, accessed June 25, 2024,


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