Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Funeral Home

5800 W 12TH ST, Little Rock, AR


Sister Jean Marie Ryan

8 mai , 192619 janvier , 2020

Sister Jean of the Holy Spirit, OCD

On Sunday, January 19th, 2020 at 10:30 pm Sister Jean of the Holy Spirit peacefully went home to our Lord after almost 70 years as a Carmelite nun. Sister Jean loved life and she loved people so it was a grace that in her final hours of life she was surrounded by her beloved Carmelite sisters and her loving caregivers.

Jean Marie Ryan was born on May 8th, 1926 to Adelina (Gerardi) Ryan and William Franklin Ryan, the fourth of five children. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky in a family that was rich in it’s love of poetry and music and for each other. She attended grade school at St. James Parochial school where she was taught by the Ursuline Sisters. She was greatly influenced during her early years by a young priest at her parish. His love for God, for people, and for creation radiated and this greatly moved her and she began to attend daily Mass and deepen her spiritual life.

In eighth grade she began to consider the idea of entering a convent but she also thought of being a missionary, a nurse or even an actress. She read Thomas Merton and found that his writing deeply resonated with her. She discovered the power of prayer and began to look at orders devoted primarily to prayer and found the Carmelite order. Jean attended Sacred Heart Academy and throughout her high school years she wrestled with the idea of a vocation to Carmel. Jean was a free spirit and thought that she would be giving up her freedom by entering Carmel. She later would realize that by giving up her freedom she would become truly free.

After high school Jean went to work at the Cherokee Coal company where she was a stenographer. She also took some college courses at night. But the call of Carmel was too strong and she entered the Carmel in Loretto, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1948. However she had to leave on November 24, 1949 due to an infection that she developed in her knee. The sisters did not think that she had the health for the life. After she left the Monastery, Jean was a volunteer teacher at an orphanage for black children run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. This was a very formative experience for Jean, one that she never forgot. She also began dating again and was in a serious relationship with a young man when she received a call from her former novice mistress in Loretto asking her if she would come on a foundation to Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jean accepted and entered Carmel on September 13, 1950. She received the habit on December 21, 1950, making her 1st Profession a year later on the 22nd of December 1951. Sister Jean made her Solemn Profession on December 22, 1954.

Sister Jean held many offices during her time in Carmel. She served a term as Prioress, was sub-prioress, novice mistress and a council sister. She worked many years as bookkeeper, portress, and in the correspondence office. She was meticulous in her work. She worked in the habit and linen room and the altar breads office. As she said she did everything but cook! Sister Jean had perfect pitch and her musical ability was a gift to the community. She was a wonderful choir director. Sister Jean also wrote poetry and op-eds to the local paper. She was wonderful with people and made friends with whomever she met. She was gentle yet tough and valued her relationships with her sisters and her many friends.

She will be missed by her beloved Carmelite Sisters, Friars and Seculars, her devoted caregivers and loving friends. The Carmelite sisters are deeply grateful for the wonderful care provided by Arkansas Hospice and Home helpers. Visitation is from 3 pm-7 pm on Tuesday, January 21st at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel with Vigil and Rosary at 7pm. The Funeral Mass will be on Wednesday, January 22nd at 10:30 am at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel, 7201 West 32nd Street, Little Rock, AR. Burial will follow.


  • Rosary mardi, 21 janvier , 2020
  • Funeral Mass mercredi, 22 janvier , 2020


Sister Jean Marie Ryan

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Brother Chaminade

février 22, 2020

The young priest who influenced Sr. Jean was our Abbot Augustine Moore (d. 6/5/2002). He was Fr. Frederick Moore when he was priest in Louisville. When I was caring for Abbot Augustine in our monastery infirmary, Sr. Jean wrote to him faithfully, offering words of encouragement. (In photo, Sr. Jean on Abbot Augustine's left.) --[From Br. Chaminade of Our Lady of Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, GA]