Former educator Sr. Phelan dies


CLINTON — Sister Mary Ann Phelan, OSF, who served in various roles in education and her religious community, died June 20 at Mercy Medical Center.
Sr. Phelan was born Sept. 16, 1939, in Des Moines, the daughter of Martin and Mary (Rooney) Phelan. She attended Mingo Consolidated Schools, graduating in 1957. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis at Mount St. Clare Convent on Sept. 8, 1958, and received the name Sister Mary Cephas at her reception on June 15, 1959, later resuming her baptismal name. She pronounced perpetual vows on Aug. 12, 1964
Sr. Phelan received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from De Paul University. Her early ministry included teaching primary grades at St. Ann School in Toluca, Ill.; St. Patrick School in Clinton; and St. Kieran School in El Cajon, Calif. In 1969 she began 35 years of ministry at Mount St. Clare College/The Franciscan University of the Prairies in Clinton. She served in various positions including dean of women, registrar, and director of development and institutional advancement. Sr. Phelan served on the General Council of the Sisters of St. Francis from 1976-80. After leaving university service in 2004, she ministered as planned giving officer in development for the Sisters of St. Francis, becoming development director in 2012. She remained in that role until her final illness.
Sr. Phelan served on a variety of boards, committees and civic organizations in Clinton including the Chamber of Commerce and Clinton Rotary, becoming the first woman Rotarian in Clinton in 1987. She was also a charter member of Clinton Trees Forever and participated in that organization’s mission of planting trees to beautify the environment and contribute to the conservation of land and energy. She was selected as a civic/community woman of achievement by the Clinton YWCA in 2003.
In 2014, Sr. Phelan was chosen by her congregation to be honored at the Franciscan Federation Annual Conference as a person known for Cultivating ‘Kindom’ Power by creating a sense of hospitality and inclusivity. She was known for her tireless effort to cultivate an atmosphere of welcome and acceptance at The Canticle, the home of the Clinton Franciscans. As head of the social committee there, Sr. Phelan recognized every social event as an opportunity to share Franciscan hospitality.
Her funeral was held June 26 at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton. Burial was at St. Irenaeus Calvary Cemetery.

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on