And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." Mark 16:15
Breege Regan-Kelly took Jesus’ final command, before he ascended to His Father, to heart. Her response to this command was to open a Catholic bookstore in her home community (after her retirement as a nurse), to make the Word of God and books explaining the Catholic faith readily available to all.
Born in County Leitrim, in the west of Ireland, she was the youngest of six children. Breege came to the United States in her twenties. She taught elementary school for a time but then became a nurse for the remainder of her working career. Breege taught Irish dancing and Gaelic (the Irish language) in her local community of Royal Oak. During this time she was instrumental (along with others) in establishing perpetual, 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration in 1988 at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan. For many years she served there as a Divisional Leader and as an Hourly Captain. Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration continues there to this day.
Breege began her retirement by setting up her Catholic book store in a friend’s shop that sold Irish materials. Later she took over the whole operation. Always her motivation was to help people learn about their faith, to read and pray with Scripture, and to help parents teach their children what it meant to be Catholic. Breege dedicated her store to Mary, our Blessed Mother, and depended on her help to minister to the faithful and to foster vocations.
To encourage people to read Scripture, Breege provided a welcome space for bible study by equipping a back room with a TV and DVDs from Jeff Cavins' Scripture Study series. Breege was ahead of her time in “unleashing the Gospel”. She recognized the need to listen to God’s Word, to keep learning about our faith in order to grow closer to God as we progress through life’s journey.
As Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14
Breege put great effort into providing books and materials for children, to help them and their parents in their studies. Breege created a warm and loving place for children, supplying materials for all different ages. She was especially helpful to parents who were homeschooling their children, finding Catholic materials for them to use with their children and also helping them find books to grow their own faith.
Breege also established connections with local parishes, helping provide them with materials for their parish members. She publicized Catholic events and speakers – the visitors to her store could learn what was going on in the extended community. In addition to books, she supplied an extensive selection of important symbols of our Catholic faith, from crucifixes, rosaries and medals, to special items for the celebrations of First Communion, Confirmation and the other sacraments.
Under her gentle, smiling leadership (since being established in 2005), Celtic Cove has become a welcoming place for individuals and families to meet and share their experiences of their faith. Breege would say that it was her witness of this sharing of faith – customers sharing their faith with her and with each other - that kept her going all these years. She always expressed deep gratitude for the support she received from volunteers, the local community and parishes.