Father Ignatius Ryan, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1899-1963)

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He was born Ignatius Ryan on December 28, 1899 in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Edward Ryan and Elizabeth Gavin. He was educated at St. Francis Church.

In 1913 he went to the Passionist Preparatory Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1916 he entered the Pittsburgh novitiate and professed his vows on August 13, 1917. Prior to ordination, his class studied in Brighton, Massachusetts, Scranton, Pennsylvania, and West Hoboken, New Jersey. He was ordained by Bishop Paul Nussbaum, C.P. on June 24, 1924. He was part of the largest class, at that time, in the history of the province. Of the twenty-seven, eight members of his class were sent to China as missionaries.

After Sacred Eloquence he was appointed Director of Students for a short time and then was made Director of the Retreat House in Jamaica, New York before the monastery was built. In 1927 he was named Lector of History and English and taught these subjects until 1933.

In the fall of 1933 Father Ryan entered The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. to work on an M.A. in history under the direction of Father Peter Guilday, Ph.D. of the Department of History. His thesis was titled Confederate Agents in Ireland and it was published by The United States Catholic Historical Society in its Historical Records and Studies (New York 1936 Volume 36). Urged to go on for his doctorate in order to teach at C.U., the decision was made to return to preaching.

From 1925 to 1954 Father Ryan preached missions, gave retreats, did some radio work and Sunday assistance at parishes. Still he loved his books on history and English. Father Ryan was a meticulous Passionist in the way he lived and preached. He prepared with the utmost care. He spent a great deal of his time at home in the monastery. He served as a confessor. He was constantly at his typewriter. Even at Shelter Island during his summer vacation it was common to hear the sound of the typewriter coming from his room.

In the 1950s he underwent surgery for removal of a tubercular kidney. Afterwards he recuperated at Saranac Lake in the New York Adirondack Mountains. Once he returned to active duty he preached lay retreats at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in Pittsburgh from 1955 to 1957. In 1957 he was assigned to the newly created post of pre-Sacred Eloquence Lector to teach the students in Moral Theology the basic principles of sermon writing and public speaking. When Father Edgar Crowe, C.P. died suddenly, a lector with a master’s degree in history was needed and Father Ryan was back again teaching after a thirty years absence at the newly established Passionist Junior College at Holy Family Monastery, West Hartford, Connecticut. He died as a member of that community.