Sister M. Catharine Ryan, CSJ
Sister M. Catharine Ryan, CSJ (Sister John Francis), 92, died Thursday, December 1, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 72 years.
Sister Catharine was born on March 4, 1924 in Plattsburgh, NY, daughter of the late John and Anna Fitzsimmons Ryan. After graduating from St. John’s High School in Plattsburgh, she enrolled in The College of Saint Rose, Albany. On March 19, 1944, Sister Catharine entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, NY, and professed final vows on August 15, 1949. She received a bachelor’s degree in social studies and a master’s degree in American history, both from The College of St. Rose, and a Ph.D. in government and international relations from the University of Notre Dame. Sister Catharine started her teaching career in high schools of the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. In 1956, she began a 28-year career at The college of Saint Rose where she served as professor of history and political science, director of the Degree Program for Experienced Adults and executive director of the National Federation of Carondelet Colleges. Sister Catharine later served as area superintendent of schools for the Southern Region of the Syracuse Diocese; pastoral manager of St. Ambrose Parish, Latham; associate director of housing and social policy for the Sisters of St. Joseph; and director of Catholic School Administrators of NYS.
Sister Catharine had a deep love for her academic subject, history and political science, and the wide world which went with it. She was rarely content to teach out of a textbook, instead sending both high school and college students to do research, conduct interviews, ask questions about the topic and formulate their own conclusions. At The College of Saint Rose, she urged students to compare the workings of the campus student government with the United States government, requiring them to note checks and balances, as well as strengths and weaknesses. As a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Catharine was a faithful attendee at assemblies and chapters and was always happy to serve on committees. In the classroom, the boardroom and the parish, Sister Catharine was an inspiration to countless individuals, and she leaves us a legacy of dedication and commitment.
Sister Catharine is survived by many friends and the Sisters of St. Joseph and CSJ Associates. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brother, John W. Ryan.
Sister Catharine’s Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, December 6, 2016, in the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Contributions in Sister Catharine’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.