|The Right Reverend
|Bishop of Chicago|
|Church||Roman Catholic Church|
|In office||September 3, 1854 – June 25, 1858|
|Predecessor||James Oliver Van de Velde, S.J.|
|Ordination||November 19, 1858|
|Consecration||July 25, 1854|
July 27, 1809|
Lavalleyroe, County Mayo, Ireland
|Died||November 13, 1866
|Alma mater||Maynooth College|
Anthony O'Regan was born in Lavalleyroe, County Mayo, and studied at Maynooth College. Following his ordination to the priesthood on November 29, 1834, he was appointed by Archbishop John MacHale to be professor of Scripture, Hebrew and dogmatic theology at St. Jarlath's College, where he later served as President from 1844 to 1849. He accepted an invitation from Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick in 1849 to head the newly established theological seminary at Cardondelet, on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States.
On December 9, 1853, O'Regan was appointed the third Bishop of Chicago, Illinois, by Pope Pius IX. He initially refused the appointment, feeling that his quiet scholarly background made him unsuitable for such an office, but accepted after the Holy See sent him a mandate in June 1854. He received his episcopal consecration on July 25, 1854 from Archbishop Kenrick, with Bishops James Oliver Van de Velde, S.J., and John Henni serving as co-consecrators, at the Cathedral of St. Louis. After a severe spell of nervous debility, he finally reached Chicago and was solemnly installed as Bishop on the following September 3. He soon began construction on a new episcopal residence, completed in 1856 but later destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
During his tenure, O'Regan established the Jesuits and the Redemptorists, and purchased property for several churches and Calvary Cemetery. A systematic administrator and strong disciplinarian, however, he excited much dissatisfaction among his clergy. He was also accused of discriminating against his French-speaking congregations. Distressed by the frequent opposition his administration met, he submitted his resignation in 1857; the Holy See accepted on June 25, 1858, and named him Titular Bishop of Dora.
O'Regan retired to London, England, where he befriended the likes of Nicholas Wiseman and Henry Edward Manning, and later died from liver disease at age 57. His funeral Mass was celebrated by Archbishop MacHale at Tuam Cathedral, and his remains were buried in Cloonfad.
- "Archdiocese of Chicago". Catholic Encyclopedia.
- "Bishop Anthony O'Regan". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
- Clarke, Richard Henry. Lives of the deceased bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States.
- Garraghan, Gilbert Joseph. The Catholic Church in Chicago, 1673–1871.
- "Founding Fathers". Hidden Truths: Catholic Cemetery.