By Meg Glendon, U.S. Director of Communications
Sister Claudia McTaggart, a native Californian, has a warm smile and a calm manner that immediately puts people at ease. This serves her well in her current ministry, which is educating others on the dangers of human trafficking. Claudia is also very involved in Notre Dame High School in San Jose as a member of the Board of Directors. “I am grateful for the experiences I have had in Notre Dame. One ministry seemed to open up to the other. I taught in elementary schools in California and Washington. At the time, I was convinced that being tall was an asset to a new teacher moving into the world of seventh and eighth grade. Those were days of large classes, large convents of sisters and general support from parents. We worked together to give students a solid foundation for life and I found the experience rewarding.”
As society changed and life for families became more complicated, Claudia studied Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University. She worked for several years as a marriage and family therapist in a non-profit family services agency in San Jose. “The agency was committed to helping families negotiate an increasingly difficult landscape. I felt blessed to work with colleagues so committed to improving the lives of our clients.”
Service to the community followed as Claudia was elected to the California Province Leadership Team. “The ministry involved working with individual sisters and with the members of the Province Team on general unit matters. I was grateful to have the opportunity to give back to Notre Dame through that ministry.”
When Claudia’s term ended, she was asked to help in the Admissions Office at Cristo Rey High School in Sacramento. “I learned so much about the needs and struggles of immigrants and their families at Cristo Rey”, said Claudia. “It was a life-changing experience.”
As the SNDdeN’s focused on trafficking, Claudia participated in Sister Margaret Hoffman’s extensive education about human trafficking. “The depth and quality of Margaret’s education really impacted me. I then had a conversation with Janet Ferree, an Associate involved in the ministry to eliminate human trafficking in San Jose.”
Claudia is now part of the Catholic Network to End Human Trafficking in the Diocese of San Jose. “We coordinate the educational outreach to parishes, schools, service agencies and community groups. This includes the signs of trafficking as well as the steps that can be taken to prevent or deal with situations involving human trafficking. It is a difficult issue involving both sex trafficking and forced labor. There is so much more to do, but the public is becoming more aware of the issue and more supportive of combating it, which will go a long way to ending this terrible form of human slavery.”
As she discussed the places she has been during her years as an SNDdeN, Sr. Claudia reflected upon the way God works through unanticipated connections to one another. She gave several examples, including one involving ministry in Africa.
“I happened to tell a Notre Dame/ San Jose faculty member about Sr. Carolyn’s ministry in South Sudan. It so happened that this faculty member also had been in Africa. We had an interesting conversation, which led to our sending Carolyn a Notre Dame, San Jose, tee shirt, which Carolyn gladly received as she posed for a photo to send back to the students. It was wonderful to see that connection unfold.”
Your donation today will support help Sr. Claudia as she works to combat human trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area.