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When the Phelan family talks about their deep Catholic faith they like to focus on their late brother, Jesuit Father Dan Phelan, their sister Mary Jo, and their loving parents Hugh and Mary who instilled a strong faith in their nine children.

“Our parents gave daily witness to a strong faith built on prayer, trust in God’s holy will and providence,” says daughter Theresa Phelan. “They were very active in all aspects of the Church.”

The Phelan parents were Irish immigrants arriving in Regina, SK in 1951. The family was first introduced to the Jesuits at Campion College High School where the Phelan sons were students.

Hugh and Mary Phelan along with their many Irish immigrant friends tackled the debt of a newly built gymnasium by running bingos every Saturday night and various other fundraisers for years until the debt was paid. Jesuit Father James Farrell, who was principal at the time, became a lifelong friend. Their support followed him when he became director of Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, ON in 1981.

One of their sons, Dan, joined the Jesuits in 1964, who, along with his priestly duties, became a gifted spiritual director at Loyola House in Guelph and the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering. Later he was a much beloved priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish where he became seriously ill and died in 2008. Many people have said that Fr. Phelan was one of the best spiritual directors.

“Through Dan we studied the life of St. Ignatius, his early companions and many others like Gerard Manley Hopkins,” says Phelan. “The Jesuits’ example of social justice for all was inspirational…working with our Indigenous peoples, the poor, and those suffering in many situations.”

Mary Jo Phelan Beveridge lived and worked in the Jesuit farm community in Guelph for five years. She experienced first-hand the tremendous compassionate and caring value of everyone given into their hands by God. Many of the priests and brothers she worked with continue to be life-long family friends.

Due to the many friendships formed with Jesuits, the family has not only actively supported the Jesuits in Canada but those abroad, including the Jesuits working in India, through Canadian Jesuits International.

Even though their parents and brother Dan are passed, the family continues to generously support the Jesuits in their memory.

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