Chicago lost a saint on Sept. 18, when Philip A. Doran was promoted.
There are lawyer saints. Philip fits right in with the best of them.
He began his legal career representing people who suffered serious injuries, and he brought their cases to court. He was beloved by juries, perhaps because his goodness just sparked their own.
In addition to their beautiful home in North Beverly, his wife, Mary, and Phil could have afforded a cottage on Galway Bay or a wee island in Italy. But, he followed a different path.
He left the law firm in the Loop, but he kept a certain principle in his heart: no overhead.
He remained a great lawyer, but his clients were all poor and lived in segregated neighborhoods such as Back of the Yards.
Philip put his skills for negotiation into the circles where he sat with young black men and the Rev. David Kelly. In the circle, all were equal, and all respected each other and everything. These young men learned about respect and dignity, some for the first time in their lives.
Precious Blood is an oasis in the Back of the Yards. There, Philip helped a group of mothers who had lost their sons to violence and other women whose sons were charged with murder.
Philip was a right-hand man to Fr. Kelly and accompanied him to Cook County Jail, to hospitals and wakes.
During Philip’s life, his wife and children meant the world to him and were there for him when he could no longer help those at Precious Blood. At the wake at Christ the King Church, his wife and family were there, smiling through the tears and helping others who came to the visitation.
Philip’s last years were not easy. For a person who was so active in his lifetime, a wheelchair must have been tough. But, he never complained. The smile was always there.
At the wake, I happened to walk into church with someone who went to St. Ignatius High School with Philip and became lifelong friends. Collins Fitzpatrick was among the Doran Family pictures displayed in the church.
Collins cannot understand why the-now St. Ignatius College Prep never gave Philip an award. I don’t understand that omission either.
It turns out that he got a higher award: the one Phil’s children gave him.
It is expressed on the back of his wake card, with Philip wearing a tuxedo on the front.
“God took the strength of a mountain. The majesty of a tree. The warmth of a summer sun. The calm of a quiet sea. The generous soul of nature. The comforting arm of night. The wisdom of the ages. The power of the eagle’s flight. Then God combined these qualities. There was nothing more to add. His masterpiece was now complete. He lovingly called it Dad.”
Judge Sheila Murphy (ret.)