Fr. Francis X. Ryan, SJ
Updated 3/16: Fr. Francis X. Ryan's Funeral to be Livestreamed

March 16, 2020 - Update: The visitation will be at St. Francis Xavier College Church March 18, from 4:00-7:00 pm. However, due to Coronavirus restrictions, the Mass of Christian Burial will be private. It will be livestreamed at 7:15 pm on the College Church's YouTube channel:

March 13, 2020 - Father Francis X. Ryan, SJ, died March 11, 2020, in St. Louis, following a brief illness. He was two days shy of 67 years old, a Jesuit for 46 years and a priest for 35 years.

Remembered by his fellow Jesuits for his faithfulness and small acts of kindness, his life will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Francis Xavier College Church on at 7:15 p.m. on March 18, 2020. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis on Thursday, March 19.

He was born in Pensacola, Fla., on March 13, 1953, to a naval flight instructor, Henry W. Ryan and his wife, Dorothy Mae Torrey Ryan. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Christopher. He is survived by a brother, Henry W. Ryan of Omaha, Neb., and a sister, Kathleen Moore, of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

When his father retired from the Navy, he moved the family to Wichita, Kansas, where Francis attended Chaplain Kapaun High School, a Jesuit school at the time. Following two years at Regis College (now University) in Denver, he entered the Society of Jesus on Aug. 26, 1973, at Kostka House in Kansas City, Mo. He pronounced First Vows two years later. He was ordained to the priesthood June 23, 1984 and pronounced Final Vows March 12, 2008.

Father Ryan taught at De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis for three years, 1978–81 and again, 1986-89. From 1997 until 2011, he was a professor of English (and department chair 2007-10) at John Carroll University in Ohio. He spent one year as a visiting scholar at the Institute of Jesuit Sources in St. Louis, and then made a change in ministry. From 2012 until 2016 he was a staff chaplain at Saint Louis University Hospital. He directed retreats at White House Jesuit Retreat in St. Louis for one year. 

In 2017, he was assigned to the Jesuit Hall Community as a health care delegate in the elder care division. 

He is remembered as a caring person who taught others by being a jubilant Christian, open to the wonders of God's Word and gifts. One friend recalled that Fr. Ryan could “lead people to see the joy [of the Risen Lord] that frees people to get through the hard times. Francis could do the simple things that reflected God's love and care for the people he served.”

Father Ryan earned degrees in philosophy and English at Saint Louis University. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity at Milltown Park in Dublin. He completed a Master of Divinity at Heythrop College in London in 1985. He also earned a master’s degree in English from Saint Louis University, and a Ph.D. from Oxford in 1999.

We remember with gratitude all that God has done through Fr. Ryan’s life of service to God and God's people. 

Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website

Recent News

April 3, 2020 - Father Roland J. Lesseps, SJ, died March 27, 2020, in Grand Coteau, La. He was 86 years old, a Jesuit for 68 years and a priest for 54 years.

April 2, 2020 - So much has changed in our world in the past month. One thing remains the same: our gratitude and concern for our friends and benefactors. Father Provincial Ronald A. Mercier sends a brief message.

Updated March 29, 2020 - Resources from across the Jesuit and Ignatian community to accompany you during this time of uncertainty - including a list of online Masses.

March 27, 2020 - Human needs continue during social distancing. The Social Ministry office of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City, Mo., has volunteers and professionals working to meet the physical, mental and spiritual needs of the parish community.

Updated March 26, 2020 – Out of concern for the well-being of Jesuits and province staff, Fr. Provincial Ronald A. Mercier, SJ, has decided to close the offices of the USA Central and Southern Province, effective March 18.

March 16, 2020 — A brief meditation to calm anxious nerves amid a global pandemic.

March 25, 2020 - Father David L. Koesterer, SJ, died March 11, 2020 in St. Louis. He was 90 years old, a Jesuit for 68 years and a priest for 55 years.

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