Fr. Francis Xavier Ryan, SJ
March 13, 1953 – March 11, 2020
Father Francis X. Ryan, SJ, died March 11, 2020, in St. Louis, following a brief illness. He was 66 years old, a Jesuit for 46 years and a priest for 35 years. Visit www.JesuitsCentralSouthern.org.
Services: Visitation at St. Francis Xavier College Church 4:00-7:00 p.m. on March 18, 2020. Due to Coronavirus restrictions, Mass of Christian Burial will be private. It will be livestreamed at 7:15 p.m. at http://bit.ly/FrRyan.
March 16, 2020 - Update: The visitation will be at St. Francis Xavier College Church March 18, from 4:00-7:00 pm. However, due to Coronavirus restrictions, the Mass of Christian Burial will be private. It will be livestreamed at 7:15 pm on the College Church's YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/FrRyan.
March 13, 2020 - Father Francis X. Ryan, SJ, died March 11, 2020, in St. Louis, following a brief illness. He was two days shy of 67 years old, a Jesuit for 46 years and a priest for 35 years.
Remembered by his fellow Jesuits for his faithfulness and small acts of kindness, his life will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Francis Xavier College Church on at 7:15 p.m. on March 18, 2020. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis on Thursday, March 19.
He was born in Pensacola, Fla., on March 13, 1953, to a naval flight instructor, Henry W. Ryan and his wife, Dorothy Mae Torrey Ryan. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Christopher. He is survived by a brother, Henry W. Ryan of Omaha, Neb., and a sister, Kathleen Moore, of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
When his father retired from the Navy, he moved the family to Wichita, Kansas, where Francis attended Chaplain Kapaun High School, a Jesuit school at the time. Following two years at Regis College (now University) in Denver, he entered the Society of Jesus on Aug. 26, 1973, at Kostka House in Kansas City, Mo. He pronounced First Vows two years later. He was ordained to the priesthood June 23, 1984 and pronounced Final Vows March 12, 2008.
Father Ryan taught at De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis for three years, 1978–81 and again, 1986-89. From 1997 until 2011, he was a professor of English (and department chair 2007-10) at John Carroll University in Ohio. He spent one year as a visiting scholar at the Institute of Jesuit Sources in St. Louis, and then made a change in ministry. From 2012 until 2016 he was a staff chaplain at Saint Louis University Hospital. He directed retreats at White House Jesuit Retreat in St. Louis for one year.
In 2017, he was assigned to the Jesuit Hall Community as a health care delegate in the elder care division.
He is remembered as a caring person who taught others by being a jubilant Christian, open to the wonders of God's Word and gifts. One friend recalled that Fr. Ryan could “lead people to see the joy [of the Risen Lord] that frees people to get through the hard times. Francis could do the simple things that reflected God's love and care for the people he served.”
Father Ryan earned degrees in philosophy and English at Saint Louis University. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity at Milltown Park in Dublin. He completed a Master of Divinity at Heythrop College in London in 1985. He also earned a master’s degree in English from Saint Louis University, and a Ph.D. from Oxford in 1999.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through Fr. Ryan’s life of service to God and God's people.
Memorial gifts may be made to the: USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus,4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108
- He was born in Pensacola, Fla., on March 13, 1953, to a naval flight instructor, Henry W. Ryan and his wife, Dorothy Mae Torrey Ryan. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Christopher. He is survived by a brother, Henry W. Ryan of Omaha, Neb., and a sister, Kathleen Moore, of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Jesuits of the Central and Southern Province
4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri 63108
- Visitation Wednesday, March 18, 2020
- Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday, March 18, 2020
- Graveside Service Thursday, March 19, 2020
Fr. Francis Xavier Ryan, SJ
March 24, 2020
He was a wonderful teacher and a great man. He was one of my favorite teachers and my entire family enjoyed his company, his wit and of course his insights.
He will be missed but appreciated for a very long time.
Thank you Father Ryan - Michael Hughes
March 17, 2020
I was lucky enough to enjoy two retreats with Fr. Ryan at Whitehouse Retreat, the most recent being this past November. We could tell he had lost weight, and didn't look well, but oh, his conversations with us through the 3 full days and evenings were, as usual, absolutely insightful, funny, and caring. I am sorry others will not be able to enjoy his wonderful and thought-provoking beliefs on being a Christian, a Catholic, and above all, a human being. God will bless you, Francis Xavier Ryan, and we were blessed to share a small piece of your life. Blessed be.
Fr. Andrew Summerson
March 14, 2020
"If you want to be a good priest, shut up for six days, listen to everybody, and then talk about it on the seventh."-Francis X. Ryan.
In my time at John Carroll, Francis' words remain some of my most vivid memories. He was a complex man and brought all that he was--and what he wasn't--to bear on his teaching, ministry, and friendship. I shall miss him sorely.
Blessed repose and eternal memory.
March 14, 2020
Francis and I were colleagues in the English Department at John Carroll. We all loved Francis for his warmth and kindness, his studied iconoclasm, and his astute observations, of our common frailties, served up with dry wit . Francis amused us by greeting undergraduates with a can of Lysol, and reading out his record of malapropisms and absurdities (some uttered by his fellow Jesuits.) Beneath all of this humor was a devotion to service, a great empathy for the misunderstood, and a love of God. His faith was joyful, his company good. "Now cracks a noble heart...may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."
March 14, 2020
Francis (as he preferred I call him) was a mentor and above all a friend. I’m sorry he and I lost touch lo these many years, but I can honestly say that the news of his loss to all of us saddens me even greater than simply losing contact. Francis, may you always be eternal light, Francis, may your soul live on in others. Thank you for what you did for me, and AMDG.