In Memory

Sister Mary Cephas Ryan, IHM

May 3, 1924 – September 17, 2009

Mary C Ryan, IHM

Sister Mary C. (Cephas) Ryan, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, September 17, 2009 at the Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale, PA.

She was born on May 3, 1924 in Scranton, PA, and given the name Mary Elizabeth. She was the daughter of the late Patrick and Elizabeth McHugh Ryan. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1948, made temporary profession of her vows on May 8, 1951, and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1954. Sister received a certificate in hospital administration from Xavier University and did her residency in hospital administration at Misericordia Hospital in New York, NY from 1967 to 1968.

Sister Mary Cephas served as a teacher at St. Ann High School in Scranton, PA, from 1951 to 1963; and served as principal of St. Joseph High School in Williamsport, PA, from 1963 to 1967.

From 1968 to 1985, Sister Mary C. served as the chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Carbondale, PA. During her tenure at the hospital, she was effective in expanding health services to the greater Carbondale area through the creation of the Professional Medical Office building and recruitment of physicians. Sister was also well known for her collaborative efforts in the advancement of health care both locally and state-wide. She was responsible for the oversight of the building of a new patient tower that was completed in 1985, as well as renovations to the original St. Joseph’s Hospital. In addition, from 1978 to 1986, Sister served as a councilor on the leadership team of the IHM Congregation.

From 1986 to 1996, Sister served as a special services assistant at the Queens Borough Public Library in Far Rockaway, NY. Following this, she was a pastoral minister at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Palm Coast, FL, from 1996 to 2004; and a volunteer at Rocky Creek Retirement Village in Tampa, FL, from 2004 to 2006.

From 2006 until the time of her death, Sister Mary C. was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business education, and a Master of Science degree in business education, both from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by four brothers, Patrick F., Robert P., Joseph T. and John G.

She is survived by a sister-in-law, Mary Frances Ryan of Scranton, PA; and nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Tuesday, September 22, at 10:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow, Pa. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Monday, September 21, between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:30 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Remembering Sister Mary C.

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2010 issue

One of the most wonderful words in any language is “joy.” We speak it when referring to the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas. “Joy to the world the Lord is here.” We speak of joyous occasions; the birth of a child; the marriage of a son or daughter; or the joy of a family when someone is restored to health.

The word applies to the life and spirituality of Sister Mary C. Ryan, IHM. She was ever joyous in her vocation as a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She reached out with joy in the Lord to everyone she met. Couple that with the twinkle in her eye and her ever ready Irish wit and you experience the essence of the woman.

She loved community living. Her nurturing nature found joy in preparing dinner for the sisters. She was a great and creative cook. Each evening meal was a time of sharing. Dinner could be two hours of laughter and sometimes a tear or two as each sister related the joys and woes of her ministry.

Inevitably, when she went out and about in Scranton Sister Mary met a former student. As a teacher and as a principal she “cared” for each pupil. She attended several ordinations of former students. Other students also credited her with changing their lives for the better.

As administrator of the St. Joseph Hospital (now Marian Community Hospital) in Carbondale for twenty-five years, she brought her joy and compassion to the ill and dying. She worked diligently to maintain and increase the quality of care given by the medical and nursing staff. Hospital doors were always open to the poor in need of medical attention. Mention her name to anyone in the Scranton/Carbondale area and you will get a wistful smile and, “Ah! What a wonderful woman, a saint!”

Her last ministry was in Palm Coast, Florida. Many people refer to Florida as God’s waiting room. Sister sat in the waiting room, comforted and prepared guests for their final journey. Then she reached out to the family and friends in an effort to show them how to grieve and how to accept loss.

There is so much to remember about Sister Mary C. Ryan. I leave it to each person who knew her to fill in his or her own experience of her. For me, I remember her as my dear friend and as the adopted grandmother to my daughters. For the privilege of knowing her I am deeply grateful. May she rest in peace and enjoy eternity. My guess is she has brightened heaven with a wee bit of joyous wit.

by Peg Offenberg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *