Born in Akron, Ohio on July 2, 1884 he was the son of Daniel McGarry and Ellen Brogan. He was educated early on in Akron. He then applied to the Passionists and made his profession of vows on February 17, 1903 and received the name Silvan. He was ordained on April 28, 1909 in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1917 he was made Rector of Holy Cross Monastery, Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1923 he was appointed Rector of the new Passionist monastery at Des Moines, Iowa. In 1926 he was appointed First Consultor for Holy Cross Province. After the 1929 Provincial Chapter his health began to decline. He remained in Louisville, Kentucky. His health did improve enough for him to go to Duluth, Minnesota but while he was there he suffered a set back. Eventually, he was able to be moved back to Chicago where he died.