Regan, Agnes Gertrude

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Lay leader; b. San Francisco, Calif., March 26, 1869;d. Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 1943. Her parents were James Regan, secretary to the first archbishop of San Francisco, and Mary Morrison Regan. After attending St. Rose Academy and the San Francisco Normal School, Agnes taught in the city school system, and was a member of the board of education. In 1920, she went to Washington, D.C., and served until 1941 as first executive secretary of the National Council of Catholic Women. From 1921 to 1943, she was also assistant director of the National Catholic School of Social Service, a major project of the council.

Regan established a practical program for realizing the idea, basic in the founding of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, that the laity should be informed, unified, and encouraged to work actively for Church and country. She saw the freedom of modern women as increasing their obligation to society, and urged Catholic women to organize at the parish, diocesan, and national levels so that they could contribute to social betterment. Under her leadership the council was a sponsoring organization of the National Interracial Conference held in Washington in 1920 to consider race problems.

Out of her active concern for sound family life, she became a staunch supporter of federal housing legislation. She worked for closer relationships with the people of Latin America, and brought young women from these countries to study at the School of Social Service.

Bibliography: l. r. lawler, Full Circle: The Story of the National Catholic School of Social Service (Washington 1951).

[d. a. mohler]