Full of Grace – A nun who will not soon be forgotten

Full of Grace – A nun who will not soon be forgotten

sistermaryryan-webFor more than 40 years, Dominican Sister Mary Ryan served students, senior citizens, the sick, and the needy in the Diocese of Camden, garnering awards and recognition along the way for her dedication to South Jersey’s residents.

Born in Philadelphia, she was raised in Woodbury and attended St. Patrick School and Gloucester Catholic High School.

At the Gloucester City school, Sister Mary excelled in basketball, field, hockey and softball. She graduated in 1957 and for the rest of her life was an avid supporter of her alma mater.

After Gloucester Catholic, she worked for Saunders Publishing Company, Camden Trust, as well as at a local law firm.

She entered the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh, N.Y. in 1958, and made her first profession in 1960, and her final profession in 1963.

Sister Mary taught in schools in New York, Connecticut and Virginia for the next 16 years, as well as in the Camden Diocese, at St. Rose of Lima School in Haddon Heights, where she served from 1961-67.

Next, she began her pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Camden, working at St. Joan of Arc, Camden (1973-75), and Incarnation, Mantua (1975-77).

Following her time at Incarnation, Sister Mary came to St. Mary Parish in Gloucester City in 1977, and began visiting the sick, the homebound, senior citizens and needy residents. 

In Gloucester City, she was devoted to efforts such as the Msgr. Edward B. Lucitt Needy Children Program, and the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive.  She joined the board of Senior Citizens United Community Services (SJUCS), which was instrumental in providing Gloucester City residents use of the Sens Han Bus, which transported individuals to supermarkets and area shopping malls, in 1980. 

For her dedication to her work with area citizens, Sister Mary in 1997 received the Lion’s Club Award for Distinguished Citizen of the Year. 

In 2002, she was honored by the Gloucester Catholic Alumni Association with the Dr. Frank and Catherine Kelly Award, which is given annually to a graduate of the high school who through good work brings honor and recognition to Gloucester Catholic High School.

On Dec. 18, 2009, at the age of 70, Sister Mary Ryan died, leaving a legacy in Gloucester City, and in the Diocese of Camden, that won’t soon be forgotten.

Researched by James A. McBride and Peter G. Sánchez

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