Sister Anne P. Ryan, 95, educator

Anne P. Ryan
Anne P. Ryan
Posted: November 13, 2013

Sister Anne Phyllis Ryan, 95, an educator and missionary who was a sister of the Holy Child Jesus for 74 years, died Thursday, Nov. 7, of respiratory failure at Holy Child Center in Rosemont, a nursing facility to which she had retired in 2004.

Born in Rosemont and raised in Havertown, she graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic Girls' High School in 1936 and entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, where she professed her first vows in 1939 and her final vows in 1944.

She admired the sisters for their fairness in how they treated students and their excellent teaching, she said in an online biography.

She was also known by the religious name Mother Mary Julian, which she chose before nuns were permitted to reclaim their given names as a result of the Second Vatican Council.

In 1948, Sister Anne Phyllis earned her undergraduate degree in Latin from Rosemont College. She later attended Villanova University, earning master's degrees in theology and substance-abuse counseling.

From 1939 through 1952, Sister Anne Phyllis taught in Philadelphia at St. Edward's School and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School, and then at St. Mary's School in Melrose, Mass.In 1952, she was thrilled to become a missionary to Nigeria, where she served as principal of Holy Child Primary School, Ifuho, then principal of Holy Child Teacher Training College and finally as principal of Holy Child Secondary School, both of those in Ogoja.

She brought music with her and directed a prizewinning glee club.

"Sister Anne Phyllis' buoyant spirit found an outlet in composing songs and skits for feast days all through her religious life. During her teaching career ... she often put her lessons to songs, which made it easier for her students to learn all the needed materials," her online bio said.

After 15 years in Nigeria, Sister Anne Phyllis was heartbroken when the Biafra war made it dangerous to stay. She returned to the Philadelphia area. From 1967 through 1975, she taught at Holy Child Senior School, Rosemont; John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School, Philadelphia; and West Philadelphia Catholic Girls' High School.

For the next 15 years, Sister Anne Phyllis taught religion and served as a guidance counselor at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor.

In 1990, she turned her attention to the retired sisters at Holy Child Center.

She is survived by a niece.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the New Sharon Chapel, 1341 Montgomery Ave., Rosemont. A viewing starts at 10 a.m. Burial is in Calvary Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, 1341 Montgomery Ave., Rosemont, Pa. 19010.



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