- 20 October 1916 (Creation)
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Born: 30 September 1878, South Melbourne, Australia
Entered: 25 April 1895, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 28 July 1912
Final vows: 02 February 1915
Died: 11 December 1949, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australia Province (ASL)
Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931
by 1907 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1913 at Innsbruck Austria (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1914 in Florence, Italy (ROM) making Tertianship
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Wilfred Ryan was educated at St Patrick's College, and Xavier College, Kew, before entering the Society at Loyola College, Greenwich 25 April 1895. After his juniorate there, he taught at St Aloysius' College, Bourke Street, 1901-06, before philosophy studies at Stonyhurst, 1906-09. Theology followed immediately at Milltown Park, Dublin, and at Innsbruck, 1909-13.Tertianship in Florence followed.
During his studies he continued to pursue his special interest in geology, studying in Germany, Spain, and Italy For his discoveries, especially a fossil hitherto undiscovered in Europe near the Dargle, he was admitted, upon the recommendation of professors of Cambridge, to a fellowship of the Geological Society.
Ryan returned to Australia and Riverview in 1914, where he taught, directed the choir and orchestra, and was, at various times, assistant director of the observatory, and lecturer in
philosophy at St John's College, University of Sydney.
From 1919-30 Ryan was a tutor in philosophy, geology and sociology, as well as minister and dean at Newman College, University of Melbourne. He was awarded an MA and a Dip Ed from the university. Ryan became a haven of hope for the many young men returning from their disillusioning experiences of the First World War. He had a great capacity for friendship, and the students enjoyed his bright and cheery personality He could understand their difficulties, and was approachable as an equal. Never for a moment did Ryan ever give the impression that he gloried in his learning or holiness, His modesty was obvious. He, with Jeremiah Murphy and Dominic Kelly, set the tone for Newman College of the future.
Then he became involved in parish ministry, 1930-48, at Norwood, and was superior and parish priest, 1940-48. He also lectured in philosophy at the University of Adelaide.
Ryan's final missioning was to Xavier College in 1948, where he was spiritual father until his death. He enjoyed these years, as he was much at home among the young. He was a very gentle, courteous, land, and learned priest, everyone's friend, and died suddenly when on a Sunday parish supply.
Note from Edward Pigot Entry
His extremely high standards of scientific accuracy and integrity made it difficult for him to find an assistant he could work with, or who could work with him. George Downey, Robert McCarthy, and Wilfred Ryan, all failed to satisfy. However, when he met the young scholastic Daniel O'Connell he found a man after his own heart. When he found death approaching he was afraid, not of death, but because O’Connell was still only a theologian and not ready to take over the observatory. Happily, the Irish province was willing to release his other great friend, William O'Leary to fill the gap.
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Letter from Fr Wilfred Ryan SJ, St. Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney to Fr John Ryan SJ concerning Fr James Strickland SJ.
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