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Obituary | Fr. Francis X. Ryan, SJ

A funeral Mass for Jesuit Father Francis X. Ryan was celebrated March 18 at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church. Father Ryan, who until recently was the health care administrator for senior Jesuits at Jesuit Hall in St. Louis, died March 11 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.

Born in Pensacola, Fla., his family moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he 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 in 1973 in Kansas City, Mo. He pronounced first vows two years later, was ordained to the priesthood in 1984 and pronounced final vows in 2008.

Father Ryan taught at De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis from 1978-81 and 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. From 2012-16 he was a staff chaplain at Saint Louis University Hospital. He directed retreats at White House Jesuit Retreat in St. Louis for a year.

In 2017, he was assigned to the Jesuit Hall Community as a health care delegate in the elder care division.

Father Ryan earned degrees in philosophy and English at Saint Louis University. He earned a bachelor of divinity degree at Milltown Park in Dublin. He completed a master of divinity degree at Heythrop College in London in 1985. He also earned a master’s degree in English from Saint Louis University and a doctorate from Oxford in 1999.

Survivors include a brother, Henry W. Ryan of Omaha, Neb., and a sister, Kathleen Moore of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

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