Rev. John J. Ryan, CSV, died June 18, 1967 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. Fr. Ryan was in the 40th year of religious life and in the 24th year of his priesthood. At the time of his passing, he was 61.
Fr. Ryan was born in 1906 in Bloomington, IL and received his early education there. He joined the Clerics of St. Viator in 1926, making his novitiate at St. Viator Normal Institute in Chamberlain, SD and professing his first vows on August 15, 1927. He completed his college studies at St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, graduating in 1932.
Fr. Ryan was among the first missionaries to serve in Manchuria, from 1933-1939. Upon his return to this country, he began theological studies at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver and was ordained a priest on December 19, 1943.
After ordination, he performed pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Chicago and in the dioceses of Joliet and Springfield. He likewise taught at St. Philip and St. Gregory high schools in Chicago, and later served as director of St. Thomas Vocational School in Savannah, GA.
Fr. Ryan’s health, which had never been good and which probably had been weakened during his years in the Orient, notably deteriorated. He alternated between illness and short assignments at the Kankakee State Hospital in Kankakee, Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Manteno State Hospital in Manteno and St. Joseph Hospital in Mitchell, SD.
In 1961, he became chaplain to the students and Sisters at Mother of Sorrows Institute in Blue Island, IL. His illnesses became almost chronic during this time. At the insistence of his doctors, he retired from active, full time ministry in July of 1965 and took up residence at Our Lady of Arlington Novitiate in Arlington Heights, helping in hospitals and parishes from time to time.
In the fall of 1966, Fr. Ryan was assigned to Las Vegas, on the doctor’s recommendation that a warmer climate might help him. Out in the desert climate of Nevada, he gave limited assistance at St. Viator Church and Guardian Angel Shrine.
One year later, Fr. Ryan was sent to the Mayo Clinic for testing, where it was determined he would be transferred to a hospital in Evanton, IL for further treatment. However, he died before the transfer could be made. Colleagues said he passed away as had lived, peacefully and resigned.
The funeral took place June 21 at St. Viator Church in Chicago. Rev. James Larkin, CSV, served as principal celebrant of the Mass, with nine other Viatorians concelebrating. The homily was given by Fr. Eugene Sullivan, CSV, pastor of St. Viator Church and assistant provincial and acting provincial in the absence of the provincial at the General Chapter. Burial took place at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, IL.
Taken from a Press Release from the Viatorian Community and the 1968 Annuaire, published by the General Direction