Born either in 1834 in Limerick, Ireland or Norfolk, Virginia, Fr. Ryan was described by a contemporary as having “an open, manly character.” He was a vigorously patriotic southerner, dedicated to defending Our Lady’s honour in all he did. After the defeat of the South, he generously wrote a poem on the peace following the re-unification of the Untied States.
SWEET, blessed beads! I would not part With one of you for richest gem
That gleams in kingly diadem; Ye know the history of my heart.
For I have told you every grief In all the days of twenty years,
And I have moistened you with tears, And in your decades found relief.
Ah! time has fled, and friends have failed And joys have died; but in my needs
Ye were my friends, my blessed beads! And ye consoled me when I wailed.
For many and many a time, in grief, My weary fingers wandered round
Thy circled chain, and always found In some Hail Mary sweet relief.
How many a story you might tell Of inner life, to all unknown;
I trusted you and you alone, But ah! ye keep my secrets well.
Ye are the only chain I wear— A sign that I am but the slave,
In life, in death, beyond the grave, Of Jesus and His Mother fair.