Michael A. Ryan, O.S.A.

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1871 – 1924 (January 25)

Michael Aloysius Ryan, son of James Ryan and Mary Kinsella, was born in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, on April 29, 1871. He entered Villanova College in 1888 and was received into the novitiate at Villanova on September 3, 1891. He made his profession of simple vows on September 4, 1892, and his solemn profession on September 19, 1895. Following his philosophical and theological studies he was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, by Archbishop Ryan on May 30, 1896, and he offered his first Mass the next day.
Father Ryan devoted twenty-two years of fruitful apostolate to the Augustinian Mission Band, whose rector he eventually became. A striking figure with his powerful physique, snow-white hair from his novitiate days, and his clear, incisive, and pleasing voice, Father Ryan was known for the cheeriness of his smile and his cordial manner with priests and people alike. Tireless in preaching mission in the dioceses of Buffalo, Hartford, Boston, Rochester, Philadelphia, New York, Brooklyn, and Chicago, he would on occasion give a two-week mission in the Black Church of Saint Benedict the Moor in Manhattan, and immediately follow up by ministering to the first Catholic Mission at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining.At the close of his labors in the mission field, Father Ryan was appointed rector of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Staten Island in 1918. In 1921, he was transferred to Saint Joseph Parish, Greenwich, NY. There, he installed a magnificent bell in the church tower. Suddenly thereafter, he caught pneumonia and four days later passed away, not yet 53 years of age, on January 25, 1924. Just two weeks earlier he had attend the funeral at Villanova of his friend and classmate, Father Frederick Commins, O.S.A. who had been taken at the same age by the same sickness.

Father Daniel Herron, O.S.A. celebrated the Requiem Mas for Father Ryan at Villanova. Among the clergy present was Bishop McCloskey. Father Matthew Corcoran, O.S.A. preached the homily and Father Nicholas Vasey, O.S.A., Prior Provincial, officiated at the grave. Father Ryan is buried in the monastery cemetery at Villanova University.