Sisters of Charity Federation Archives

Quirke, Sister Ellen, SC Oral History


Sr. Ellen Quirk-1.jpg


Sisters of Charity of New York
Interview with Sr. Ellen Quirke, SC
Tuessday, October 15, 2019, 1:32PM • 42:27
Angelica Bullock 00:00
Today is October 15th, 2019. The interviewer is Angelica Bullock. The interviewee is Sister Ellen
Quirke. We are at the Kittay (nursing home, Bronx, N.Y.) apartments. And it is about 3:15 in the
afternoon. Sr. Ellen, can you please state your full name.
Sr. Ellen Quirke 00:24
Sr. Ellen Quirke.
Angelica Bullock 00:26
And your religious name?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 00:29
Sr. Ellen Marie Quirke.
Angelica Bullock 00:33
What is your age currently?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 00:36
I'm ninety-two years old.
Angelica Bullock 00:40
And what date did you enter the congregation?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 00:42
September 8, 1945.
Angelica Bullock 00:46
What was your age at that time?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 00:49
Seventeen. Excuse me no, I was eighteen.
Angelica Bullock 00:53
About how many years have you been in the congregation?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 00:57
Seventy some-odd years.


Transcribed by

Angelica Bullock 01:01
Now I would just like to know a little bit to talk about some general information concerning your family
life. So where were you born?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 01:11
I was born in Manhattan, in New York City, to Mr. and Mrs. Quirke, Helen O'Connell and John Quirke,
and I had three brothers, Jack, Neil and Bud. And I was the only girl. I was the third oldest of the four of
Angelica Bullock 01:38
And where were your parents born? Where were their place of origin?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 01:43
They were both from Ireland County, Abbeyfield, County Limerick.
Angelica Bullock 01:47
Do you have family members and religious life? Do you have any other family members...?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 01:53
One brother who was a Jesuit, Neil was a Jesuit. He died in 1968 and another brother. had been a
Christian brother and he left the order and married. That was my brother James, my younger brother.
My oldest brother Jack died when he was 23.
Angelica Bullock 02:25
Besides your two brothers, did you have any other family members in religious life, maybe in Ireland?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 02:31
Here in this country, I had another cousin who was another Jesuit. Same time as my brother Neil, Bob
Angelica Bullock 02:43
What were the schools that you attended? What grammar school and high school?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 02:48
Incarnation Grammar School and Holy Cross Academy.
Angelica Bullock 02:54
Were those schools run by the Sisters of Charity?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 02:58
Both of them were yes. They both were.
Angelica Bullock 03:01
And why did you attend those two schools?

Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 03:07
My mother wanted me to go.
Angelica Bullock 03:11
Why did you join the Sisters of Charity of the New York?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 03:16
I was very interested in Damien the Leper. Reading his biography, and I just wanted to be able to help
people. He was a priest who worked in Molokai down in the Hawaiian Islands. Worked with the lepers
down there.
Angelica Bullock 03:36
How did you hear about him? Did you hear about him in school?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 03:39
Yeah, yes. In school. During religion classes.
Angelica Bullock 03:47
Was he a priest?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 03:48
Angelica Bullock 03:52
Did you think you are going to work with people with leprosy or did you just...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 03:56
No, I thought more like missionary things.
Angelica Bullock 04:02
You said you joined when you were 18 years old?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 04:05
Angelica Bullock 04:08
How did your family feel about you joining?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 04:11
Fine, there was no problem with them? For the most part, the Irish are really proud to have religious in
the family.


Transcribed by

Angelica Bullock 04:21
Can you talk a little bit about the process of becoming a sister? Do you remember anything that stands
out? Maybe first day of joining or...?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 04:31
No, not particularly? No.
Angelica Bullock 04:35
Do you remember your sponsor?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 04:38
Yes. She was my eighth grade teacher.
Angelica Bullock 04:47
Do you remember her name?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 04:49
Yes, Sr. Marguerite.
Angelica Bullock 04:51
Would you like to talk a little bit about your life as a novice and a postulant?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 04:57
It wasn't really remarkable at all. I kind of went along with the rules and regulations were. What I found
hard was the silence and the walking in lines. I found that very difficult.
Angelica Bullock 05:16
When did you have to be silent? Were there just certain times during the day?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 05:20
Oh, yes, yes.
Angelica Bullock 05:25
What would happen if you weren't silent? So, if you wanted to talk to someone...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 05:30
Well, you'd be embarrassed in front of the other people because you know it was a rule, to keep silence
and you wanted to keep the rules if you're going to stay in the convent.
Angelica Bullock 05:40
Can you think of anyone at that time who broke the rules?


Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 05:44
Angelica Bullock 05:45
Everyone mostly...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 05:46
No, pretty much everybody kind of went along with it pretty much. Nobody stands out because having
broken the rule. They wouldn't have stayed, I don't think
Angelica Bullock 06:03
How many people have joined with you? Like how many people were in your ...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 06:06
I think there might have been around twenty-four, twenty-two, twenty-four. I'm the last one left of that
crowd. All the others have died.
Angelica Bullock 06:24
Did you know any of the girls before your joined? Were they in your high school or in your
Sr. Ellen Quirke 06:32
Oh, yes. One of my friends lived next door to me. She was born next door to me. And she entered too. I
had some of my high school friends enter but they entered later on not at the same time.
Angelica Bullock 06:51
Okay. And did that comfort you knowing that you knew people already going in with you?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 06:59
I don't remember it comforting me at the time, but I guess it must have. Yes. How did you feel joining?
Were you nervous? Were you excited? I can't say I was excited because I forget there was some
popular song that was going on at that time was right when WWII was over, just over. And I was going
the night before out with my friends and we were going on a sentimental journey; it wasn't so
sentimental. But I was nervous the night before.
Angelica Bullock 07:36
When you enter at eighteen, times have changed so much, eighteen now is considered very young. But
when you were eighteen are you considered an adult, did you feel like you were an adult?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 07:51
Well, boys could go into the service; they could be drafted. That was the WWII. So, we weren't
considered young, we weren't considered old, but we weren't youngsters.


Transcribed by

Angelica Bullock 08:08
Did you have any friends or know people who were eighteen that were at the time getting married or..
Sr. Ellen Quirke 08:16
No, I didn't know anybody, no.
Angelica Bullock 08:18
So, if you weren't going to be a Sister, what did other people do at the age of eighteen, that were
eighteen-year-old girls?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 08:29
They mostly went to work at General Motors or the New York Telephone company, or in the bank,
Manufacturers Hanover bank. They got jobs. And the boys were away in service then.
Angelica Bullock 08:49
Were any of your brothers at the time drafted?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 08:54
Angelica Bullock 08:55
Do you remember anything about more times than when you were ...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 08:59
Oh, I remember an awful lot about it. The blackouts and the fear that we were going to be bombed and
that the Japanese boats were in the ocean, we were down at the beach. Always afraid of being
bombed. We'd have the blackouts. And then seeing the stars on the window with the mothers who lost
their sons afterwards. We were living in apartment houses. They'd have their stars on the window and
another one had been killed.
Angelica Bullock 09:33
What exactly are black-outs? Just like today, no power?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 09:39
You had to shut off the electricity. You weren't allowed to put the electricity on because they were afraid
the airplanes would come and bomb the building. So, the streetlights went out and they had wardens
going around the street to make sure the lights were out. And you had rationing of certain foods you
couldn't get unless you had a ration stamp for them.
Angelica Bullock 10:01
Since you're so young, does that just seem like a normal life?


Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 10:06
No, no, no, no. You knew it wasn't normal.
Angelica Bullock 10:13
Is there anything else you remember during that time?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 10:17
About the war time? Always hearing, fearing to hear about another boy in the neighborhood who was
killed or a father who was killed and you couldn't get all the shoes you wanted. You could only get two
pair of shoes a year.
Angelica Bullock 10:34
Sr. Ellen Quirke 10:34
You had to have ration stamps to get them. You didn't have nylon. Nylon was used for parachutes. So,
you couldn't get nylon stockings or nylon slips.
Angelica Bullock 10:51
And what was your life as a novice and postulant like? I'm going back to that, sorry.
Sr. Ellen Quirke 10:57
Well, it was getting to know what the routine was going to be and we were going to school, we were
studying at the same time, going to college and getting classes.
Angelica Bullock 11:08
Do you remember who the Mother Superior was at the time?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 11:11
Yes, Sr. Alphonse Mary [McGinley, 1945-1950] who was a very generous woman, very human.
Angelica Bullock 11:22
What made her generous and human?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 11:25
That was her nature to be that way. She wasn't rigid. Some of those superiors could be very rigid.
Angelica Bullock 11:37
What was your relationship with the Mother Superior? Did you see her every day? Or was it more of
like she was there, but you didn't really have contact with her.
Sr. Ellen Quirke 11:50
She was there. We knew she was there. We were conscious of her presence, and sometimes she'd
have a class, and we'd be learning things, she'd be teaching us.

Transcribed by

Angelica Bullock 12:03
Do you remember the name of the Mother General at the time?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 12:08
There were a couple of when I entered it was Mother Berchmans [Mother Mary Berchmans Reed,
1948-1954] was the second. I didn't know her at all. I knew Berchmans, but I didn't know Josephine
[Mother Mary Josephine Taaffe, 1941-1948].
Angelica Bullock 12:23
During that time, how did you interact with the other girls who were joining? Did you get to talk to them?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 12:30
Oh surely, yes.
Angelica Bullock 12:34
Did you all live together?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 12:36
Yes, we all lived together. Slept in dorms. And we worked together. And we went to school together.
Angelica Bullock 12:50
Other Sisters have mentioned that it took them very long to complete their degrees because they were
Sr. Ellen Quirke 12:57
Oh, we were teaching at the same time, and going to school on Saturdays.
Angelica Bullock 13:01
Sr. Ellen Quirke 13:03
That changed in the '60s. We all had teaching certificates to teach, and we had to have a certain
amount of College before you could teach.
Angelica Bullock 13:16
About what age do you think you started teaching then?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 13:22
I was twenty.
Angelica Bullock 13:26
Do you remember your first mission?


Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 13:28
Oh, yes. It was at St. Margaret's in Riverdale, third grade for eight years. So, I got to know the all the
children of that time.

Angelica Bullock 13:45
Did you always teach the third grade?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 13:46
Yes, in St. Margaret's I did. Yes. But I moved around after that.
Angelica Bullock 13:54
I'm guessing I haven't heard any sister say so far that they've stayed at that one teaching assignment
for that many years. Did you like doing that?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 14:05
I did, I loved the third grade. That's a great age group of children.
Angelica Bullock 14:11
And did you teach girls and boys there?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 14:14
Yes. I had sixty in a class.
Angelica Bullock 14:17
How many?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 14:18
Sixty. And they were taught. Some places had one hundred.
Angelica Bullock 14:26
Did they all fit in a regular size class?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 14:29
Yes. But the desk was stationary. They weren't moveable desks and chairs.
Angelica Bullock 14:40
Did you ever feel overwhelmed teaching sixty children?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 14:44
No. No, I liked teaching and I think that's why I liked it. And I liked the kids very much.
Angelica Bullock 14:56
Are there any of those students that you still, remember?

Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 15:01
Yes. Some of them come to see me.
Angelica Bullock 15:06
So, when you first started teaching that first year that you were put in the classroom for third grade, did
you expect that's how the situation was going to be? Did you expect that you were going to have 60
students in your class?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 15:23
I didn't think about it, I didn' think about it. Because the classes were big when we went to school
ourselves. The classes were always big.
Angelica Bullock 15:35
During that time, I just think of 60 kids I just think of rowdy...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 15:41
No, oh no. They wouldn't dare; they wouldn' dare.
Angelica Bullock 15:47
At St. Margaret's all the teachers there were Sisters of Charity?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 15:52
No, not all of them. We had lay teachers.
Angelica Bullock 15:58
Do you remember any of your other missions?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 16:01
Oh yes, of course. Do you want to know them all?
Angelica Bullock 16:04
Sr. Ellen Quirke 16:05
The next year after St. Margaret's, I went down to Holy Name on 97th Street, fourth grade boys. Boys'
department at Holy Name, brothers had the boys' department. I was there for a year. That's when we
became very aware that the Puerto Ricans were coming into New York City and into the schools. It was
the influx of a lot of Puerto Ricans. We had a lot of Puerto Rican children in the school. And the Sisters,
I didn't go, but the Sisters went to Puerto Rico in the summertime to learn Spanish. That was around
Angelica Bullock 16:50
And were most of the students then who were coming from Puerto Rico, were they mostly just speaking

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Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 16:56
Yes. A lot of them were. I didn't have them all. They were mostly in the first grade at the time. They
started in the first grade. And I was there for a year and then I went down to Xavier. I had the fourth
grade in Xavier.
Angelica Bullock 17:17
And was that co-ed or just boys?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 17:19
Now in Xavier it was boys and girls. Smaller class. I believe around thirty-five. And then I went one year
there and then I went to St. Agnes' to the seventh grade.
Angelica Bullock 17:22
Oh, okay. Seventh grade?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 17:39
Loved it, loved it. I learned so much in being with the children younger and then when they get older
and then older; you got older with them. And you knew how to deal with the older ones. Weren't
sarcastic. Of course, they understood it and they knew it then. And I was only there a year and I went to
St. Denis in Yonkers, the eighth grade. And I loved the eighth grade. We had a great time together.
Angelica Bullock 18:16
And how long were you at St. Denis?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 18:17
One year.
Angelica Bullock 18:18
One year?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 18:20
And then I went to Mount Carmel in East Harlem, an Italian neighborhood, with a lot of Puerto Ricans
on the fringe of the neighborhood who didn't get along with the Italians at all. And the Italians didn't get
along with the Puerto Ricans, I should say. However, that was a good experience, being Principal of the
school. Learning different cultures and respecting them.
Angelica Bullock 19:14
How was your transition from teacher to principal?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 19:18
It was fine. I was ready for it.

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Transcribed by

Angelica Bullock 19:30
Mount Carmel, was that run by the Sisters of Charity?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 19:33
Yes, yes. All the schools were that I mentioned.
Angelica Bullock 19:39
Were the teachers there mostly Sisters or lay or a mixture?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 19:44
No, we had lay teachers, we had quite a few lay teachers. The one that was there sent me that
package from David's [mail order dessert company]. She came to teach the fourth grade there.
Angelica Bullock 20:03
How long were you at Mount Carmel?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 20:05
Three years.
Angelica Bullock 20:13
I'm looking at this timeline ...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 20:16
We are up to 1960.
Angelica Bullock 20:18
Sr. Ellen Quirke 20:20
'61 to '64. That's when I was at Mt. Carmel.
Angelica Bullock 20:29
Then where did you go after Mt. Carmel?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 20:31
'64 to '69, Mount Saint Vincent. We had juniorate.
Angelica Bullock 20:43
Can you describe what that is?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 20:46
It's a formation program, after the novitiate.

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Transcribed by

Angelica Bullock 20:53
And what was your...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 20:54
The Sisters were going; I was in charge; I was the boss. I was the Superior. And they were studying at
the time too, studying in college. So, it was further introduction to religious life for them and going,
learning about the missions and visiting different places where the Sisters worked. The roaring '60s,
and all the changes were taking place in the Church and in religious life, like losing the habit, changing
the habit, and wearing regular clothes and all of that.
Angelica Bullock 21:45
And how did you feel about all the changes that were happening?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 21:49
Oh, I just loved them. I was ready for them. And I learned a lot from the young people. They taught me
a lot. They didn't know they were teaching me, but they were.
Angelica Bullock 22:03
Do you remember when you changed from the habit? What year or so?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 22:14
1969. My mother was so disappointed when she saw me with gray hair. Because she had had the
same problem. She didn't see the gray hair before because we had the hats on.
Angelica Bullock 22:31
Oh, I see. So then, how old were you about in 1969?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 22:38
You figure it out.
Angelica Bullock 22:39
Sr. Ellen Quirke 22:42
Angelica Bullock 22:49
You had gray hair at forty-three?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 22:52
Oh, yes. I had it earlier than that.
Angelica Bullock 22:55
Did your mom have gray hair too at a young age?
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Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 22:57
Yes, she was young. She used peroxide one day and my father nearly killed her when he came home
for it. It was awful when she used peroxide; they didn't have the dyes they have today.
Angelica Bullock 23:11
There's just one point where there's no people that are wearing a habit. And then they’re wearing a
modified veil and then...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 23:23
That was while I was in the juniorate they started doing that. The postulants, the novices, the young
sisters were doing the modified veil.
Angelica Bullock 23:34
Why the change from the habit to the modified veil was that...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 23:41
It was just doing it gradually. It was just gradual. Some Communities did; one Community that I know
of, she went from the habit to the dress, immediately. They didn't do in-between. We did a lot of the inbetween. We started with the shoes and the stockings, and then the length of the skirt, the habit, the
hat changed to the veil. It took long; they should have done it all at once and then it would have been
over with.
Angelica Bullock 24:16
And who decided these changes and habit…
Sr. Ellen Quirke 24:21
From the habit? Well, that was a little part of the movement that was going on in the church about all
the changes. And when they started talking about all different kinds of changes that were going on.
They talked about religious life, that it wasn't necessary to be wearing these kinds of clothes that made
yourself so different from everybody else.
Angelica Bullock 24:44
And besides habits, do you remember the other changes that were happening during that time in the
Sr. Ellen Quirke 24:58
Really, a lot was changed. A habit was only a symbol of all the changes that were going on. I mean, it
could even start with an attitude toward God and learning more about theology and the meaning of this,
and that caused the changes.
Angelica Bullock 25:20
This was also a time when a lot of people weren't leaving, maybe that was a little bit later.

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Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 25:29
No, they were leaving at that time.
Angelica Bullock 25:31
Okay, they were leaving. How did you feel about that?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 25:37
It was very difficult, because your friends, some of your friends were leaving. And it was a testing time
for your own vocation.
Angelica Bullock 25:50
Were there any points during that time when you began or at any point really, when you began to
question if you wanted to be in Sister or did that never happen?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 26:06
I'm sure it went on. You would be a stone if you didn't think of anything and wonder sometime what was
going on. Yes.
Angelica Bullock 26:22
Were there ever feelings of contention with people leaving or did you feel happy for them?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 26:28
Oh, it was very difficult when they left. It's very difficult to see people leaving. And it was shocking when
it first started. It was very shocking because that never happened. One person would leave in five
years. So, do you want to go on with the rest of my life?
Angelica Bullock 26:58
Yes. Sorry, I had you staying in '69 for a long time. Okay. And where did you go...
Sr. Ellen Quirke 27:06
Well that was an important part of my life, very important.
Angelica Bullock 27:11
And where were you after Mount Saint Vincent?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 27:15
In '69 I went to the Foundling and worked for Foundling [The New York Foundling]. I went into social
work after Foundling. I went to Fordham to study social work and worked at Jacoby Hospital for a year
in the rehab department.
Angelica Bullock 27:45
What made you switch from going to ...

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Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 27:48
Well, I had been dealing with older women and I wasn't qualified for grammar school, elementary
school teaching and I didn't want to go back to teaching elementary school. So, I went into social work,
studied at Fordham, social work.
Angelica Bullock 28:10
And did you like your time at Fordham? Oh, yes, yes.
Sr. Ellen Quirke 28:23
I graduated in '72 and then I went to work at St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers in the mental health clinic.
Angelica Bullock 28:34
How long were you at St. Joseph's?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 28:36
I was there for four years doing counseling and group work. And then in '76 I went to St Vincent's
Hospital, worked with the homebound elderly.
Angelica Bullock 29:03
And this was the St. Vincent's in Manhattan?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 29:06
Yes, Manhattan. Community Medicine. We had this program for the homebound elderly where we went
to visit people in their own apartments, with a doctor and a nurse.
Angelica Bullock 29:22
Can you talk a little bit more about that? I've seen in the archives, the Community Medicine part. That's
with Dr. Brickner?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 29:30
Yes. I worked with him and Sr. Teresita [Duque], she was the nurse. Dr. Brickner wasn't the only
doctor; we had all the resident doctors would go out from the Battery up to 34th street, from the River to
5th Avenue. Got to know the whole neighborhood, elevator apartments and walk-up apartment.
Apartments where they had bathtubs in the kitchen; they were that old.
Angelica Bullock 29:38
How was that experience, being a part of Community Medicine and actually going out into the
community instead of them coming to you?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 30:11
I loved it; I loved it. A lot of walking and meeting a lot of different people, different people, different kinds
of people.

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Transcribed by

Angelica Bullock 30:19
What did a normal day for you look like at St. Vincent's?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 30:24
Oh, you'd have meetings in the morning, find out who you were going to go out to see. Who you were
visiting and who you thought needed to have you go because you needed to provide services for the
older people. Find out about their rent or if somebody was bothering them. The family was involved.
They needed help, assistance. They needed to get money from the bank. They needed the groceries.
Angelica Bullock 30:27
Were most of the homebound elderly that you were visiting. Did they live by themselves?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 30:59
Some of them lived by themselves. Most of them live by themselves. And they didn't want to go to a
nursing home, tried to keep them out of the nursing home so they could stay in their own homes.
Angelica Bullock 31:10
Were nursing homes popular back then?
Sr. Ellen Quirke 31:12
No, they still aren't popular. And here I am. When Dr. Brickner found out I was coming here, uhh!
Angelica Bullock 31:21
Was he surprised that you were coming here? And what was life like for you working at that hospice
Sr. Ellen Quirke 31:22
I didn't want it; when I was in the other place. He has since died. But of course, when I was, it was a big
joke keeping me out of a nursing home. And then the other department I worked in at St. Vincent's,
after I finished in '92, I went to work at the hospice program we had at St. Vincent's. The Supportive
Care Program, we called it for people with AIDS. It was hard. It was difficult because you had so many
young people dying, and then the nurses were taking care of them needed a lot of support. And the
families, I had families, groups for survivors for their relatives and those who had died. After that, I went
to work at the senior center four years, St. Malachi's Church Senior Center.
Angelica Bullock 32:28
And where was this that was on 47th Street,
Sr. Ellen Quirke 32:33
The Actor's Chapel, they called it.
Angelica Bullock 32:36
And what did you do there?

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Transcribed by

Sr. Ellen Quirke 32:37
Social work. The people that came there, they needed things, to be connected to agencies or needed
help with their families or whatever.
Angelica Bullock 32:51
So, it seems like you had two different careers.
Sr. Ellen Quirke 32:55
Yes, three different careers really, because that formation work, that was different.
Angelica Bullock 33:01
Do you think that the three different careers were all at different points of your life? So that's why it
made sense.
Sr. Ellen Quirke 33:08
No, no, no, I didn't think of that. Well, the experience of the first led me to the second and led me to the

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Transcribed by

Dublin Core


Quirke, Sister Ellen, SC Oral History


Sister Ellen Quirke, SC


Sr. Ellen Quirke discusses her journey as a Sister of Charity of New York encompassing two distinct ministries in teaching and social work. Sr. Ellen describes the changing needs of bilingual students in New York City during the 1960s-1970s and her venture into geriatric health care in the pioneering Department of Community Medicine at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village.


Sisters of Charity of New York


Sisters of Charity of New York


Sisters of Charity of New York


15 October 2019


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.


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Quirke, Sister Ellen


The New Jewish Home,
Kittay Senior Apartments
Bronx, New York


Sisters of Charity of New York, “Quirke, Sister Ellen, SC Oral History,” Sisters of Charity Federation Archives, accessed July 14, 2024,


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