Catholic Educators

Picture of Mary P. Ryan

As a laywoman and pioneer in liturgical and catechetical reform movements Mary Perkins Ryan traversed a path seldom traveled by her peers. Long before the leadership of the Catholic church proclaimed the privileged place of adult religious education in the parish and diocese, Mary had already called into question the narrow educational view positing the Catholic school as the center of all educational endeavors. Her proposed model was a more inclusive one that incorporated and promoted the ongoing religious education of adults. Mary will be remembered for her abundant writings and her editorial skills which she exercised earnestly as the founding executive editor of the Living Light, a, catechetical journal published in the spirit of Vatican II and as editor of Professional approaches for Christian educators (PACE), the first catechetical journal to address both the profession and practical aspects of religious education. In addition to her professional life, Mary was mother, wife, mentor, and good friend to many.

Biography

Mary Perkins Ryan, editor, writer, religious educator, was born in Boston, April 10, 1912, the daughter of Charles Perkins and Elizabeth Ward Perkins. Charles was an architect; Elizabeth's interests and abilities were in art and music. In addition, she had a keen concern for liturgical matters. She and her daughter Mary, after her, were invited to address the assembly of the National Liturgical Conference. Of particular note is Mrs. Perkins' application of her work in art and music to the liturgy. The Perennial Art of the Liturgy (1945) was the title of her address to the National Liturgical Conference. Elizabeth also preceded her daughter as a member of the Board of Directors for the Conference. She became a well-known presence at the annual conferences. The records indicate a particular intervention on her part during a discussion period, which offers insight into the characteristic forthrightness and enthusiasm of Elizabeth for liturgical practice:

Perhaps you will agree that it is fitting, in this wonderfully democratic assembly, for a laywoman to venture first to speak before all these honorable people. What do we lay people do when we speak of the liturgy and our priests say, "Oh, let the poor people say their beads?" (Hillenbrand, 1942, p. 27).

On the same occasion she quoted the director of the Benedictine Oblates of which she was a member. Elizabeth had sought his advice regarding her involvement in parish liturgical matters. "Lay women must be cautious how they approach the pastor on those matters. It is far better to let it all alone. You will only get into trouble." (Hillenbrand, 1942, p. 28) This same forthrightness and enthusiasm later appropriated by her daughter has served the world of liturgy and catechesis well.

Mary was raised with three other siblings. Anna, Eleanor, and Francis, in a thoroughly Catholic home. According to Mary's son, Anna the older sister by ten years was a strong influence in Mary's life (Michael Ryan, personal communication, August 16, 2005). In an autobiographical piece Mary speaks of the clarity and incisiveness of her sister, as compared to herself. She wrote "Some people seem to know what God wants them to do almost as soon as they know anything. One of my sisters is this kind of person; when she was ten, she knew she wanted to be a country doctor, and now she is one, beloved by God and man" (Romig, 1942, p. 215).

Mary's elementary and secondary education took place in Boston and Connecticut. Early in life her academic accomplishments were unusual. She graduated from high school at the age of fourteen (Michael Ryan, personal communication, August 16, 2005) and thence continued her education with the unique opportunity of study in Europe. Her college years were spent in New York City at Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. The Religious of the Sacred Heart who owned and staffed the college were very clear on their mission with young women: to train them to take an active role in church and society (Elizabeth Farley RSCJ, personal communication, 1999). Mary would not fail them.

In 1933 Mary left Manhattanville with a B.A. degree and was employed as a secretary at Sheed and Ward which had recently opened an office in New York. This first employment which Mary identifies as a mistake, pointed out clearly to her that secretarial work was not her forte. Mary's son Michael affirms her appraisal. "It is my understanding", he said, "that Wilfred Sheed described her as the worst secretary he ever had" (Michael Ryan, personal communication, August 16, 2005). At the end of this unsuccessful employment Mary returned to Cambridge, having left evidence, however, of her editorial skills. These skills opened the door in subsequent years for placement in the editorial department of the publishing company.

While at home Mary intended to spend time in writing short stories but instead spent four months in a sanitarium and several more months resting at home in recovery from tuberculosis. It was after this unexpected hiatus in her writing that Mary encountered Fr. Leonard Feeney whom she had previously met at Sheed and Ward. He encouraged her to write and when asked "About what?" He defined a need among Catholics for better understanding some of the routine Catholic practices and the reasons for them. Out of this conversation grew Mary's first book, At your ease in the catholic church (1938).

Mary eventually returned to Sheed and Ward and was given different responsibilities more fitting to her natural charism, editing and writing. It was while on assignment with the publishing company in 1940 at St. Mary Abbey in Newark, New Jersey that she met Father Michael Ducey. In the course of conversation the priest asked Mary if she had ever prayed the breviary, at that time usually prayed only by priests and religious. Family influence was obvious as her mother once offered during a discussion at a National Liturgical Conference, "I think that our young people, and especially, our very small children, are not given enough credit for brains and all sorts of good qualities. I began when the youngest of my seven [sic] children was five, by reading [to them] every day portions of the Breviary, especially the dramatic lives of the Saints …" (Hellreigel, 1947, p. 132). Mary's positive response prompted a public position in the first Liturgical Week Conference in Chicago in 1940. Her role was to lead the discussion following a presentation by Dr. Jerome Kerwin (1941), "Lay participation in the divine office". Here also was her initial step into the liturgical realm. The proceedings of almost every subsequent National Liturgical Conference thereafter note Mary's attendance either as a presenter or a respondent in the recorded discussions. She appears among such giants in the liturgical field of the time as Hillenbrand, Diekmann , Mathis and Fred McManus.

John Julian Ryan, a 1921 Harvard graduate and teacher at Holy Cross in Worchester, Massachusetts, was introduced to Mary by mutual friends. They were married in 1942 and made their home in Cambridge. While assuming her new role of spouse and eventually mother, Mary never lost her interest in liturgy. In fact, she seems to have communicated this same interest to her husband. Both she and John attended the National Liturgical Conference for a number of years. He was actively involved in the recorded discussions as in noted in the proceedings from 1946-1950. In 1953 John and Mary were both Members of the Board of Directors of the Liturgical Conference. Mary continued in this position until 1963.

Five sons were born to Mary and John: John Jr., Peter, Tom, Michael and David. The responsibilities of motherhood and childcare did not deter Mary from her interest in church matters. She addressed the National Liturgical Conference on the subject of Liturgy and the family arts (1947); in the decade of the 40's she wrote Mind the baby (1949) and edited The sacramental way (1948). A theme that was to penetrate most of her writing was her search for the integrity of the Christian life and the sacramentality of everyday experience. She had hoped to be a bridge between the church and its meaning for the ordinary person. In 1948 John and Mary addressed the Liturgical Conference together and later co-authored two books. In addition Mary was a major contributor to Catholic Women's World, Commonweal, Worship and Catholic Home Journal.

In 1953 John Julian Ryan accepted a position at St. Mary College in Notre Dame, Indiana; the family relocated to Granger, Indiana. During their time there interesting liturgical developments drew Mary more deeply into the liturgical world of the Catholic Church. In 1947 Fr, Michael Mathis CSC had founded the Liturgical Institute at Notre Dame University, a time when the word of liturgical renewal ignited controversy and resistance. Liturgists from throughout the world would visit the campus and share their expertise with the Notre Dame community. Mary's involvement as a staff member with the Institute heightened her interest in the liturgical movement and she began searching for the causes of controversy and resistance. Through this searching Mary concluded that the lack of understanding and poor catechesis were in large part responsible for the resistance. "Religious education was the missing factor in the whole picture of renewal," she once noted to Mary Charles Bryce (1975, p. 276). How to resolve the situation proved a daunting task and one, which Mary undertook for a lifetime. The fortunate timing of her interest and the presence of Johannes Hofinger, Europe's celebrated leader of the catechetical movement, on the Notre Dame campus afforded Mary informal priceless learning opportunities and insights into the catechetical movement. There was a mutual exchange of gifts and skills. Hofinger was working on his classic piece, The Art of Teaching Christian Doctrine (1957) and Mary offered him the assistance of her editorial skills. She in turn, availed herself of access to one of the great leaders in catechesis. Mary began to articulate the close connection which she saw between liturgy and catechesis, as was evidenced in issues of the liturgical journal, Orate Fratres (later Worship). It was during this period also that she completed Beginning at home (1955).

In September of 1956 Mary had an unusual privilege of attending a Liturgical Congress at Assisi, Italy. Attendance was by invitation only. At this gathering of 1400 priests and some 50 laypersons Mary was the only married woman present (Jung, 1956, p. 190).


Contributions to Christian Education

Mary continued her work with liturgy and catechesis and eventually came to the conclusion that on-going adult religious education was a primary need in the church. Pursuit of this theme was expressed in the most controversial writing that Mary offered the Catholic audience, Are parochial schools the answer? (1964). While some persons clearly were not in agreement with her insights, others simply misunderstood her premise. Her intent was to argue for a return to the tradition of adult catechesis as the primary focus of catechesis. This issue addressed in numerous Catholic periodicals and editorials noted the sensitive nerve of catholicity that parochial schools were. None other than the formidable and well known Andrew Greeley took a position opposed to Mary's, challenged her conclusions, and accused her of trying to shut down the Catholic school system (Greeley, 1964). Gabriel Moran (1994) notes that "she took an unmerciful beating in the diocesan press and at various conferences … . 'That woman' or 'the housewife who wants to destroy Catholic schools' was the typical forms of reference." Later she was to admit I have been given the opportunity to discover something of the extent and complexity of the problems involved in human and Christian education today. Many of which I was happily ignorant of or only dimly aware of when I wrote Are parochial schools the answer? (Ryan, M.P. 1972, p. xii.)

John Julian Ryan's move from St. Mary's in South Bend could seemingly be a deprivation for Mary's searching mind but his acceptance of a position at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire in 1957 brought her to the east coast and another milieu for the work that she so cherished: editing and writing liturgical and catechetical materials. An educator, certainly she was that, but not in the usual mode of an educator. Mary Charles Bryce (1975, p. 280) said it well, "her podium has not been a classroom lectern but the desk of an editor and writer." Mary was invited to return to the Notre Dame campus in 1984 as the recipient of the Mathis award, an award presented annually to a person or organization that has made a significant contribution to the renewal of liturgy in the United States.

The homestead at 12 West Union Street in Goffstown, New Hampshire became a meeting place for interesting conversation and the exchange of ideas. Shiela Moriarity (1994) notes in a personal memory of Mary that there was always room at the Ryan house for another visitor. Mary lived the multiple roles of mother, spouse, homemaker, editor, writer and friend.

Despite the family responsibilities, Mary read widely. The references and quotes in her writings indicate a familiarity with contemporary theologians of the time: Bouyer, Schillebeeckx, Vagaginni, Van Bathalasar, Mortimart, to name a few. Moriarity (1994, p. 3) in describing Mary's schedule, reports her own observations:

Mary's study was close to the washer and dryer in the house and in between the loads generated by the six men of the house, Mary did her writing and editing. Once the mail of the day arrived, Mary's time was given to the reading, editing and writing tasks that the daily delivery brought to her desk.

By her own admission, her interest in theology "led to a lifetime of self-directed study" (Ryan, 1972, p. 148). Her dining room table could be covered at any given time with Commonweal, America, Chicago Studies and the latest volume of Karl Rahner's Theological Investigations. (Harris, 1994).

In the sixties a loosely structured group of authors, publishers, academicians and successful practitioners gathered at Grailville, Ohio to discuss ideas and insights related to the catechetical world. Mary was a charter member of what came to be called The Catechetical Forum, and remained part of this group from 1964-1972. Another person who was part of the Forum was Father Russell Neighbor. The professional paths of Mary and Father Neighbor were to intersect in numerous ways during the coming years. Geographically they were in proximity to each other as both claimed the home diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; ideologically they shared similar convictions and a passion for spreading the Word of God.

Although already committed to the catechetical mission of the church in his home diocese, Father Neighbor's expertise and enthusiasm were manifest and recognized publicly during a summer course on the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) at Catholic University in 1961. In 1962 he was invited to be associate director and, in 1967 director, of the National Center of the CCD. In this position he became the founding editor of Living Light, the National Confraternity's catechetical journal, and quickly passed the responsibility on to Mary who then continued as editor for nine years.

It would appear as though these two catechetical leaders, Mary Perkins Ryan and Father Russell Neighbor, were mutually influential. In three areas in particular, the writings of one echo the words of the other. Both felt strongly about the need for adult catechesis and the formation of the whole person, intellect and will, in catechetical ventures. Both posited the importance of the home and parents in cultivating the Christian faith. As Mary did in her controversial book, Are parochial schools the answer, Neighbor promoted the allocation of parish funds across the whole gamut of the parish population in an era when a large percentage of parish income was vested in the parochial school. Neighbor admitted "Frankly one of the great problems of the CCD in the development and organization of it, is the fact that there has been a tremendous preoccupation with the parochial school system" (Catechetics Today, p. 81). Quoting Pius X's Acerbo Nimis, Neighbor (1963, p. 117) further writes:

He ordered the establishment of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in every parish in the world, not only to teach children religious but to teach all the adults in the parish as well. The Confraternity is the mandated society in the parish whose mission is the religious education of every person in the parish.

In the same article Neighbor (p. 119) explains, "We often hear that our faith is one of the intellect as well as the will. How very true!" He further insists (p. 121), "Speculative, abstract theology is primarily designed to inform the mind. It is deductive in its approach and presentation. It is not likely to motivate the hearer to be an apostolic and devoted layman."

An interview with Father Neighbor (1967) in reporting the discussion at the Grailville Forum further highlights his position:

it is more than just the catechism or catechesis they are getting in the classroom that determines a child's formation. What they are getting at home is for more important than what they get in the classroom. As a result, we feel very strongly the need for adult education. At our meeting the group concluded that we must become adult centered in our religious instruction. The child is second. That is the way he came in life.

In reading the General Catechetical Directory (#92) which affirms the need of catechesis for adults, one might ask if this particular piece might have appeared due to the influence of Neighbor who was a member of the commission that produced this first universal Directory, promoted by the Second Vatican Council. As part of the summer faculty at Catholic University, Neighbor extended his influence in promoting the Confraternity further as many persons from throughout the United States attended these catechetical sessions.

Unfortunately the work of this influential man was curtailed by serious health issues; he retired in November, 1971 and died shortly thereafter in July 1972. Ryan continued her work with Living Light and from there later moved to the editorship of another of U.S.C.C.'s ventures, Focus on Adults, a digest of adult religious education. She remained in this position until 1974 when financial problems dictated its demise.

Within the U.S.C.C. Mary also edited the Christian Experience Series. At the age of sixty when most persons were looking toward the retirement years, Mary assumed the role of associate editor of Professional Approaches for Christian Educators (PACE ). Mary Perkins Ryan's name first appeared in 1973 as associate editor and author of two articles Keep that salt shaker handy (1973) and Do you mean what I mean. Two years later Mary was listed as co-editor with Sheila Moriarity O'Fahey and in 1978 was principal editor. From 1988-1993, Mary continued her contributions to PACE under the title of Editor Emeritus Senior Consultant.

The literary accomplishments of Mary Perkins Ryan are multiple; she was both writer and editor. No story of her life would be complete without noting also her stalwart character and her deep love of the church.

Three characteristics marked this woman. First was her absolute devotion to her husband and sons … Second was her interest in the mundane. She loved to hear our stories of home and career. She showed us the same response she gave so unstintingly to her family. Third was her faith. Despite the vicious backlash for those who felt her message wrong and despite the neglect of her religious needs at the end, she never wavered (Capowski, 1995, p. 4). She continued throughout her life to be a daughter of the church, persevering in her mission and loyal to the end. Maria Harris (1996, p.2) rightly identified her as a woman of grace and substance.

The last three years of Mary's life imposed a very heavy burden on her; she was crippled with arthritis and incapacitated by Parkinson's disease. Her time in a nursing home, not far from her own home, yet in unfamiliar surroundings was marked by a deep deprivation that only one whose whole life so centered on communicating about the church and its mission could experience. She could neither write nor speak clearly any longer. Her sight diminished as well. Words that she wrote many years previously describe the inner spirituality of this woman: " … in order to overcome the greater or lesser handicaps which life brings to all of us, we must accept them for what they are, die to what we have lost and accept death in order to go on, to continue and grow as persons" (The Liturgy and Catechetics, p. 29). Mary, in the words of her son Michael J. Ryan (1994) "ended her physical suffering and began her spiritual joy on October 13, 1993".


Bibliography

Works Cited

  • Bryce, M.C. (1975). Mary Perkins Ryan. Living Light, 12(2), 276-281.
  • Capowski, V.J. (1995). In memory of a friend: Mary Perkins Ryan (1912-1993).
  • Catechetics Today (1967, March). An Interview with Msgr. Russell J. Neighbor. Catholic Educator, 79-82.
  • Harris, M. (1994). Telling a woman's life. Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 24, 3-4.
  • Hellreigel, M.B. (1948). Holy mass, the center of the sacraments and the divine office. In National Liturgical Week (pp.125-129). Boston: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Hillenbrand, R. (1942). The meaning of liturgy. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 20-29). Newark: Benedictine Liturgical Conference.
  • Hofinger, J. (1957). The art of teaching Christian doctrine. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame Press.
  • General Catechetical Directory (1972). Rome: Vatican Press.
  • Greeley, A. (1964). Conventional wisdom and the Catholic Schools. New City 2, 7-10.
  • Jung, Eva M. (1957). Liturgical Conference at Assisi. Catholic World, 184, 190-196.
  • Kerwin, J. (1940). Lay participation in the Divine Office. In National Liturgical Week (pp.150-152). Newark: Benedictine Liturgical Conference.
  • Moran, G. (1994). Loyal and steadfast. Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 24, 3-4.
  • Moriarity, S. (1994). Mary Perkins Ryan. Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 24, 3-4.
  • Neighbor, R. (1963). CCD: Matchless aid. Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 63, 580-585.
  • Neighbor, R. (1963). The catechetical apostolate; The great need of the church. In Proceedings of the Society of Catholic College Teachers of Sacred Doctrine (pp. 117-123). Weston MA: Regis College.
  • Neighbor, R. (1966). Priest and Confraternity. Priest, 22, 618-622.
  • Neighbor, R. (July, 1967). Feeding lambs. Columbia, 6-14.
  • Perkins, E. (1946). The perennial art of the liturgy. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 99-105). Petone, IL: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Romig, W. (1942). The book of catholic authors (first series). Grosse Pte., MI: W. Romig Publisher.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1938). At your ease in the catholic church. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1947). Liturgy and the family arts. In National Liturgical Week (pp.106-118). Highland Park, IL: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1948). The sacramental way. Kansas City: Sheed and Ward.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1949). Mind the baby. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1955). Beginning at home. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). Perspective for renewal. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). The liturgy and catechetics. In G. Sloyan (Ed.), Modern catechetics (pp. 23-44). New York: Macmillan.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964). Are parochial schools the answer? New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1972). We're all in this together. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1973). Keep that salt-shaker handy. Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 4, 1-3.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1973). Do you mean what I mean? Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 4, 1-3.

  • Perkins, M. (1938). Your catholic language: Latin with the missal. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • Perkins, M. (1938). At ease in the catholic church. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • Perkins, M. (1939, June 23). Retreats and a world's fair. Commonweal, 30, 231-232.
  • Perkins, M. (1939, May). Charity behind the wheel. Sign, 18, 588-589.
  • Perkins, M. (1941, March). Book publishing – a respectable gamble. Sign, 20, 470-472.
  • Perkins, M. (1942, September). Heaven on wheels. Sign, 22, 77-79.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1942, January 25). Why wait? Orate Fratres, 16, 132-134.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1943). Our language of praise. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 121-13). Ferdinand, IN: The Benedictine Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1945). Speaking of how to pray. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1947). Liturgy and the family arts. In National Liturgical Week (pp.106-118). Highland Park, IL: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1948, February 13). Catholic writer in America. Commonweal, 47, 442-445.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1948, March 26). Vocation in education. Commonweal, 47, 587-592.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1949). Mind the baby. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1952, November). Finding Christ in people. Worship, 26, 553-561.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1952, September). Home training in Christian living. Worship, 56, 459-465.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1952, October). Ourselves and our neighbors. Worship, 26, 510-515.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1952, December). Places. Worship, 27, 24-30.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1953, December). Redeeming the time. Worship, 27, 81-88.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1953, September). Sex education. Worship, 27, 452-459.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1953, February). Things and their use. Worship, 27, 125-133.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1953, October). To sum it all up. Worship, 27, 378-386.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1953, May). Training for life's work and play. Worship, 27, 296-304.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1953, July). Vocations. Worship, 27, 378-386.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1953, April). Vocations, professions, occupations. Worship, 27, 235-241.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1954, December 18). About interruptions. Ave Maria, 80, 15-17.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1955). Beginning at home. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1955, April 2). Our lady and confusion. Ave Maria, 81, 21.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1955). The psalms. Chicago: Fides Press. (Ryan wrote the introduction and commentary).
  • Ryan, M. P. (1956, March 10). New holy week. Ave Maria, 83, 8-11.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1956, March 10). What holy week means to the layman. Ave Maria, 83, 8-11.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1957, March 2). How to get more from Lent. Ave Maria, 85, 11, 28.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1957, March 9). From darkness to light. Ave Maria, 85, 11, 30.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1957). Key to the psalms. Chicago: Fides Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1958). Christian orientation of reading. Catholic library association proceedings, 34, 37-43.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1958, January). Sound individualism. Worship, 32, 111-114.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1959, March 14). Who go to mass? Ave Maria, 89, 20-23.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1959, December). Problem of God in the world today. Worship, 34, 9-19.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960, April). The problem of religious and lay teachers. Catholic Educational Review, 58, 248-255.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960, July). The psychology of worship: Another approach. Worship, 34, 380-386.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960, November). Living waters in the liturgy. Sign, 40, 55.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). Christ and the church. Chicago: Catholic Press.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1960). Key to the missal. Notre Dame, IN: Fides Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). Participation in the Mass and spiritual formation. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 145-148). Washington, DC: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). Perspective for renewal. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). The liturgy and catechetics. In G. Sloyan (Ed.), Modern catechetics (pp. 23-44). New York: Macmillan.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). The psychology of worship. Worship, XXXIV, 380-386.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1961). Christian prayer formed by God's word. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 37-42). Washington, DC: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1961, August 30). Christians are witnesses to the word of God. Catholic Messenger 79, 5.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1961, December). Meaning of Advent. Information 75, 2-7.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1961). Witnesses of the Word. In National Liturgical Week (pp.62-69). Washington, DC: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1963, March). The focus of catechetics. Worship, XXXVII, 233-240.
  • Ryan, M. P. (1963). The need for re-education of the laity. In National Liturgical Week (pp.175-178). Washington, DC: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1963). How parents can help prepare their children for first confession and first communion. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 180-184). Washington, DC: National Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964, April 17). Are parochial schools necessary? Commonweal, 80, 99-100.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964, May). Crises in Catholic education. Way, 20, 2-6.
  • Ryan, MP. (1964, May). To my critics. Ave Maria, 99, 14-15.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964, October) What is a Catholic education? Today's family, 39, 16-21.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964). Are parochial schools the answer? New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964, July) Should the Catholic school system be junked? Ligourian, 52, 35-40.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964). The Christian and the Trinity. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 228-234). Washington, DC: National Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1965, May 8). Catechetics – we're all involved. Ave Maria, 101, 8-11.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1965, April 23). One year later. Commonweal, 82, 139-141.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1965). Through death to life. Dayton: G.A. Pflaum.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1966, April). A church to die in or to live in? Catholic World, 203, 17-21.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1966). Liturgical celebration relevant to the twentieth century. In North American Liturgy Week, 27, 150-154. Washington, DC: National Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1966, April 23). The priest as witness. America, 114, 587-589.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1967, January 7). A statement on teaching religion. America, 116, 16-20.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1967, February). Catechesis for our times. Bible today, 28, 1968-1974.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1967, Summer). The catholic school of the future. Marriage, 49, 38-43.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1967). Has the new liturgy changed you? New York: Paulist Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1967, Winter). Human rights: An educational program. Living Light, 4, 107-113.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1968, October). Peace makers or order keepers? U.S. Catholic, 34, 17-18.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1968, January). What the new catechetics is trying to do. Marriage, 50, 50-57.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1968-1969, Winter). The identity crisis of religious educators. Living Light, 5, 15-16.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1969, July 16). Adolescents. National Catholic Reporter, 5, 7.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1969, March 6). Fresh hope in New Hampshire. National Catholic Reporter, 4, 2.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1969, Fall). Towards a rediscovery of Christian prayer. Living Light 6, 15-23.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1969, May). You can give too much protection. Sign, 48, 11-13.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970, Fall). Editor's reading notes. Living Light, 7, 149-152.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970, Summer). Helping puzzled parents. Living Light, 7, 51-64.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970, May). Let's close our schools creatively. U.S. Catholic, 35, 12-13.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970, Summer). Some thoughts on adult education. Religion Teacher's Journal, 4, 1-2.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970). Psalms 70: A new approach to old prayers. Dayton: Pflaum Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970). There's more than one way. Paramus, NJ: Paulist Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970, March 11,). To pray is to become fully alive. National Catholic Reporter, 6, 1.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1971). Are we praying to God? Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 2, 1-2(A).
  • Ryan, M.P. (1971) The eucharist: What are we celebrating? Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 2, 1-2(E).
  • Ryan, M.P. (1971, March). Women's lib and Christian liberation. St. Anthony Messenger, 78, 38-42.
  • Ryan, M.P.( 1972, Spring). Editor's reading notes. Living Light, 9, 156-158.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1972, Fall). Forward (General catechetical directory). Living Light, 9, 4-6.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1972). We're all in this together. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1973). Keep that salt-shaker handy. Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 4, 1-3.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1975) Funding isn't fun. St. Anthony Messenger, 83, 36-39.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1975, May-June). Sacraments, signs of human development. Religion Teacher's Journal, 9, 30-31.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1976, Fall). Professional approaches for Christian educators. Living Light, 13, 429-433.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1977, March). Prayer and fasting aren't enough. U.S. Catholic, 42, 13-14.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1989, June). Mary Reed Newland: Author, lecturer, parent. Living Light, 25, 317-318.

Articles written by Mary Perkins Ryan in Catholic Woman's World

  • Catholic Woman's World was a magazine published under the aegis of Marygrove College of Detroit from 1939-1941. Its mission was "to be an expression of modern Catholic thought developed especially from the feminine point of view"(June 1939, p. 1). Ryan wrote two monthly columns, Know why you like it and What is art. The latter was dedicated "to the statement of an esthetic principle and its application to a form of art" (June 1939, p. 2.) In December 1940 for the Christmas season the former column became Know why you give it.
  • (1939, June). Mass for the June bride, 16, 43.
  • (1939, July). Retreat and go forward, 20-21.
  • (1939, August). Mass during vacation, 18-19.
  • (1939, November). Autumn glory, 31-32.
  • (1939, December). O holy night, 33, 42.
  • (1940, January). The year of the Lord, 41.
  • (1940, February). Palms and ashes, 21, 34.
  • (1940, March). The light of Christ, 33, 48.
  • (1940, April). Bonfire, 2-3, 14, 36, 44.
  • (1940, April). Wonderful duel, 43, 48.
  • (1940, May). Wind and flame, 31, 44.
  • (1940, June). Unsearchable riches, 31, 44.
  • (1940, July). Shadows of his wings, 41, 46-47.
  • (1940, August). Your dwelling place, 19, 48.
  • (1940, September). New songs, 23, 36, 47.
  • (1940, October). Oil of gladness, 39, 47.
  • (1940, November). Home fires, 37-39.
  • (1940, November). With Mary, his mother. 39, 46.
  • (1940, December). On recommended Christmas books. 14-15.
  • (1941, January). Entering in, 37-38. (A report on the first liturgical week in Chicago.)
  • (1941, February). For use of man, 35-36.
  • (1941, March). Cleanliness and godliness, 37, 39.
  • (1941, April). Leader of life, 35-36.
  • (1941, May). Make yourself at home, 43-44.
  • (1941, June). More wonderfully remade, 37-38.
  • (1941, August). The Mass - Center of family life, 31-32.
  • (1941, September). The Mass - Center of our family life in God, 33, 45.
  • (1941, October). The way of life, 33-34.
  • (1941, November). No longer strangers, 31, 48.

Books Edited

  • Ryan, M.P. (Ed.). (1948). The sacramental way. Kansas City: Sheed and Ward.
  • Ryan, M.P. (Ed.). (1967). Helping adolescents grow up in Christ. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. (Ed.). (1968). Toward moral maturity. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press.

Co-edited Writings

  • Ryan, M.P. & Neighbor, R. (Eds.). (1970). There's more than one way: new programs and possibilities for out of school religious education. Paramus, NJ: Paulist Press.
  • Ryan, M.P. & O'Fahey, S. (Eds.). (1976). The PACE reader. Winona, MN: St. Mary's College Press.

Co-authored writings

  • Bouman, C. & Ryan, M.P. (1960). Key to the missal. Notre Dame, IN: Fides Press.
  • O'Neill, D.P. & Ryan, M.P. (1977). Moral development, sin and reconciliation for parents and children. West Mystic, CN: Twenty-third Publications.
  • Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. J.J. & Shea, Mr. and Mrs. J. (1949). In the home; a round table discussion. In National Liturgical Week (pp.61-68). Conception, MO: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Ryan, J.J. & Ryan, M.P. (1965). Not a way out but a way forward. Boston: Fandall Press.
  • Ryan, M.P., Moran, G., Pottenbaum, G. & Reedy, W.J. (1967). Helping adolescents grow up in Christ. New York: Paulist Press.
  • Ryan, J.J. & Ryan, M.P. (1967). Love and sexuality, a Christian approach. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Ryan, J.J. and Ryan, M.P. (1969). Have you thought it out all the way? In Callahan, D. (Ed.) The Catholic case for contraception. London: Collier- Macmillan.

About Mary P. Ryan and her work

  • Bryce, M.C. (1975). Mary Perkins Ryan. Living Light, 12(2), 276-281.
  • Canavan, F. (1964, August 15). The school: Whose is it? America, 111, 153-156.
  • Cashin, E. (1964, October). What about Mary Perkins Ryan. Marist, 20, 20-22.
  • Capowski, V.J. (1995). In memory of a friend: Mary Perkins Ryan (1912-1993). Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 24, 3-4.
  • Clement, C.D. (2000). Catholic foremothers in American catechesis. Living Light, 37 (2), 55-68.
  • Deferrari, R.J. (1964). A complete system of catholic education is necessary. Boston: Daughters of St. Paul. (in response to Are parochial schools the answer?)
  • Donovan, J. (1964, October 2). Creating anti-intellectuals? Commonweal, 81, 37-39.
  • Driscoll, J. (1964, May). A superintendent's view. In Yes, parochial schools are the answer: a symposium. Catholic School Journal, 64, 23-28. (Matthew, R. A teacher's view; Greeley, A. A sociologist's view; Regan, D. A parent's view.)
  • Greeley, A. (1964). Conventional wisdom and the Catholic schools. New City 2, 7-10.
  • Harris, M. (1994). Telling a woman's life. Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 24, 3-4.
  • Hellreigel, M.B. (1948). Holy mass, the center of the sacraments and the Divine Office. In Christ's sacrifice and ours – National Liturgical Week (pp. 125-129). Boston: The Liturgical Conference.
  • Hillenbrand, R. (1942). The meaning of liturgy. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 20-26).Newark: Benedictine Liturgical Conference.
  • Jung, Eva M. (1956, December,). Liturgical Conference at Assisi. Catholic World, 184, 190-196.
  • Kappas, W. (1964, October 24). The other half of the thesis: Reply. America, 111, 468.
  • Kerwin, J. (1940). Lay participation in the Divine Office. In National Liturgical Week (pp. 150-152). Newark: Benedictine Liturgical Conference.
  • Marthaler, B.L. (2003). Mary Perkins Ryan. New Catholic Encyclopedia (p. 446). Washington, DC: Catholic University of America.
  • McGowan, P. (1962, February). Apostles of the liturgy. Today, 17, 3-6.
  • McGrath, T, (1964, October). A now or never opportunity for parochial schools. U.S. Catholic, 30, 25-26.
  • McManus, F. (1995). Vision: voices from the past. Address presented at National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Moran, G. (1994). Loyal and steadfast. Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 24, 3-4.
  • Moriarity, S. (1994). Mary Perkins Ryan. Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 24, 3-4.
  • O'Connor, J. (July 1964). The modest proposal of Mary Perkins Ryan. Catholic World, 199, 216-223.
  • O'Gara, J. (1964, March 27). On dropping parochial schools. Commonweal, 80, 8.
  • O'Gara, J. (1965, April 23). Criticizing the schools. Commonweal, 82, 138.
  • O'Hare, P. (1994). Mary Perkins Ryan (1912-1993): Mulier fortis, strong woman. Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 24, 3-6.
  • Romig, W. (1942). The book of catholic authors (first series). Grosse Pte., MI: W. Romig Publisher.
  • Ryan, M.J. (1995). Thoughts of my mother. Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 24, 3.
  • Steger, D, (1995). Mary Perkins Ryan, editor. Professional Approaches for Religious Educators, 24, 3-5.
  • Wagner, J. (October 1964). Vatican II and the schools: M. Ryan's views. Catholic Educator, 35, 151.
  • Wagner, J. (May 1964). Atlantic City and Mary Perkins Ryan: NCEA convention. Catholic Educator, 34, 822-823.

Translations

  • Bouyer, L. (1961). Introduction to spirituality. (M. P. Ryan, Trans.). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.
  • Bouyer, L. (1958). The meaning of sacred scripture. (M. P. Ryan, Trans.). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
  • Chifflot, T.G. Approaches to a theology of history. (M. P. Ryan, Trans.). New York: Desclee Co.
  • Danielou, J. (1958). The bible and liturgy. (M. P. Ryan, Trans.). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
  • Hofinger, J. (1958). Worship: the life of the missions. (M. P. Ryan, Trans.). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame.

Book Reviews

  • Perkins, M. (1938). At your ease in the catholic church. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • (1939, February 4). America, 60, 429.
  • (1939, April 1). Ave Maria, 49, 410.
  • (1939, December). Blackfriars, 20, 894.
  • (1939, March). Catholic world, 148, 761.
  • (1939, January 27). Commonweal, 29, 390.
  • (1939, March). Dominicana, 24, 74.
  • (1939, May). Extension, 33, 52.
  • (1939, March). Journal of religious instruction, 9, 607-608.
  • (1939, February). Liturgical arts, 7, 32.
  • Perkins, M. P. (1938). Your catholic language: Latin with the missal. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • (1940, April 27). America, 63, 80.
  • (1940, August 10). Ave Maria, 52, 186.
  • (1943, March). Blackfriars, 24, 119-120.
  • (1942, November). Clergy Review, 22, 629-630.
  • (1940, August). Catholic World, 151, 629-630.
  • (1940, June). Columbia, 19, 14 .
  • (1940, September). Ecclesiastical Review, 193, 298.
  • (1940, June). Journal of religious instruction, 10, 879-881.
  • (1940, July). Liturgical arts, 8, 74.
  • (1940, May 12). Orate Fratres, 14, 335.
  • (1940, August). Sign, 20, 58.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1945). Speaking of how to pray. New York: Sheed and Ward.
  • (1944, December 9). America, 72, 196-197.
  • (1945, March 10). Ave Maria, 61, 157.
  • (1945, December). Blackfriars, 26, 480.
  • (1945, April). Catholic educational review, 43, 252.
  • (1945, March). Catholic home journal, 45, 31.
  • (1945, January). Catholic world, 160, 376-377.
  • (1945, June 1). Commonweal, 42, 172.
  • (1944, December). Dominicana, 49, 287.
  • (1945, March). Ecclesiastical review, 112, 234-2236.
  • (1945, January). Journal of religious instruction, 15, 485-486.
  • (1945, February). Liturgical arts, 13, 39-40.
  • (1946, January). Month, 182, 78.
  • (1944, December 3). Orate fratres, 19, 43-44.
  • (1945, January 15). Review for religious, 4, 65-66.
  • (1945, March 24). Sign, 24, 444.
  • (1945, November 10). Tablet, 186, 226.
  • (1945, March). Theological studies, 6, 136-137.
  • (1945, April). Thomist, 8, 289.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1955). Beginning at home. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.
  • Frisbie, M. (1955, December). Books on trial, 14, 201.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1957). Key to the psalms. Chicago: Fides Press.
  • Bader, E. (1958, June). Catholic World, 187, VI. (1958, February), Critic, 16, 48.
  • Donohue, T. (1958, March 22). Ave Maria, 27, 87.
  • Schidel, G. (1958, April). Worship, 32, 321.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1964). Are parochial schools the answer? New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Canavan, F. (1964, March 26). America, 110, 444.
  • Cavanaugh, G. (1964, Fall). Review for Religious, 23, 666.
  • Fox, J. (1964, Fall). Cross Currents , 14, 491.
  • Hughes, R. (1964, September). Columbia, 44, 33.
  • Luka, R. (1964, October). American Ecclesiastical Review, 151, 271-277.
  • Pallone, N. (1964, April). Ave Maria, 99, 18.
  • Matthew, R. (1964, June). Today's Family, 39, 4-11.
  • McManus, W. (1964, April-May). Critic, 22, 53.
  • Sloyan, G. (1964, April-May). Critic, 22, 52.
  • Theisen, S. (1964, November-December). Worship, 38, 669.
  • Wakin, E. (1964, February). Sign, 43, 60.
  • (1964, September). Way, 20, 62.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1960). Perspective for renewal. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.
  • Isabel, D. (1963). The Scotist, 29, 81-84.
  • (1961, March 11). Ave Maria ,93, 25.
  • (1961, Summer). Dominicana, 46, 153.
  • (1961, March). Sign, 40, 59.
  • (1961, March). Worship, 65,268.
  • (1961, Summer). Sponsa Regis, 33, 29.
  • (1962, May). Review for Religious, 21, 278.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1970). Psalms 70; a new approach to old prayers. Dayton: Pflaum Press.
  • Botz, P. (1970, May). Worship, 44, 318.
  • Carey, M. (1970, March). Sisters Today, 41, 440.
  • Higgins, J. (1970, March). Ligourian, 58, 60.
  • Keisling, C. (1970, June). Cross and Crown, 22, 234.
  • Marbach, E. (1970, April). Marriage, 52, 64.
  • (1970, January 7). National Catholic Reporter, 6, 4.
  • Ryan, M.P. (Ed.). (1968). Toward moral maturity. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press.
  • O'Neill, A. (1970, Summer). Sister Formation Bulletin, 16, 23.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1972). We're all in this together. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Fasenmeyer, M. (1972, October). Momentum, 3, 45.
  • Hughes, R. (1974, April). Columbia, 54, 32.
  • Hurley, D. (1972, September). St. Anthony Messenger, 80, 54.
  • Keffer, C. (1972, July 15). Best Books, 32,189.
  • Kirvan, J. (1972, October 27). National Catholic Reporter, 9, 13.
  • Little, S. (1974, June). American Ecclesiastical Review, 168, 432.
  • McCluskey, N. (1973, January 26). Commonweal, 97, 380.
  • O'Brien, J. (1972, Summer). Living Light, 9,149.
  • Prokes, T. (1973, August-September). Worship, 47, 446.
  • Stork, P. (1973, April). Sisters Today, 44, 520.
  • Ryan, M.P. (1965) Through death to life. Dayton: G.A. Pflaum.
  • Meers, N. (1966, April, 9). Ave Maria 103, 29.
  • Meilhac, L. (1971, December). Lumen Vitae, 26, 681.
  • Ryan, J.J. & Ryan, M.P. (1967). Love and sexuality, a Christian approach. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Bland, J. (1968, Spring). Sister Formation Bulletin, 14, 29.
  • Byrne, J. (1968, May). Review for Religious, 27, 577.
  • Carey, R. (1968, April). Jurist, 28, 243.
  • Crowley, P & P. (1968, February 3). Ave Maria, 10, 21.
  • Eickhoff. E. (1968, Spring). Cross Currents, 18, 246.
  • Fitzhugh L. (1967, December). Sign, 47, 62.
  • Fitzhugh, L. (1968, Summer). Living Light, 5, 146-150.
  • Hagmaier, G. (1968, June). Catholic World, 207, 144.
  • Kiesling, C. (1968, June). Sisters Today, 39, 584.
  • Marx, P. (1968, January). Extension, 62, 50.
  • Marshall, J. (1968, June). Month, 225, 374.
  • Muldoon, P. and Mrs. P. (1968, February). St. Anthony Messenger, 75, 53.
  • O'Donohue, J. (1967, Winter). Living Light, 4, 115.
  • Sullivan, M. (1967, December). Jubilee, 15, 45.

Excerpts from Publications

Ryan, M.P. (1964). Are parochial schools the answer? New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

But is the Catholic school the only possible solution of the problem of religious formation? History bears witness that the Church has used other methods in the past. Might it not possibly use another method in our country today? (p. 19)

Ryan, M.P. (1960). The liturgy and catechetics. In G. Sloyan (Ed.), Modern Catechetics. New York: Macmillan.

One of the greatest problems of religious education is, consequently, how to lift religious instruction out of this whole context of passive and "interested" education - how to show that the Christian life is essentially vital, dynamic, "liberal" in the fullest sense - opening out to Truth itself, to self-giving love of neighbor in the love of God.

Here the problems of religious instruction are interwoven with the problems of Christian education itself. For if it is truly to be Christian, it must, however, gradually and painfully, be re-informed and vitalized by this same spirit, this same orientation. (p. 44)

Ryan, M. P. (1963). The need for re-education of the laity. In National Liturgical Week (pp.175-178). Washington, DC: The Liturgical Conference.

So we can come to know and love and serve Christ more fully in the Mass, in our prayer, and in our daily life. And it is in this personal knowing which includes but goes beyond all knowing about Him, that we find the practice of religion becoming really interesting and vital, the leaven of our whole life. The presence of the risen Christ with His own is the primal Christian joy - and it is available to us at every moment.

This is why we need re-education, for so few of us know that we are meant to know Christ in this way - that we are all meant to, and not just the exceptionally intellectual or "pious". (p. 177)


Recommended Readings

Ryan, M.P. (1964). Are parochial schools the answer? New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. This is the book for which Ryan was well known. It raised all the defenses of Catholic school educators and even prompted R.J. Defarrari to respond in kind, by penning A complete system of catholic education is necessary published by the Daughters of St. Paul in Boston in 1964. In her book Ryan argues for a more even distribution of educational funds to provide for the religious formation of all. She notes the need particularly of adults to continue a life long journey of growth in the faith. Her questions in 1964 still deserve to be addressed today.
Ryan, M.P. (1947). Liturgy and the family arts. In National Liturgical Week (pp.106-118). Highland Park, IL: The Liturgical Conference. This article highlights a consistent theme of all of Ryan's work: the integration of faith and life. As a committed and active Catholic, as wife and mother she concentrates on the two foci of her life: home and church and applies her insights to what she calls "the spirituality of the lay person" and "the sacramentality of all life".
Ryan, M.P. (1972). We're all in this together. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. In this book Ryan revisits some of the questions raised in Are parochial schools the answer? The chapters of this book are directed to significant questions such as "What is a religious education? " "What kinds of education do we want?" " What about Catholic schools?" " What is going on in religious education?" Many of the themes that characterized her previous writings are revisited in this book. While more than thirty years old, the questions are pertinent today.

Author Information

Mary Lou Putrow

Mary Lou Putrow, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Catechetics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan where she teaches courses on catechesis, the RCIA and mission and ministry. Her particular research interest is in women's contributions to catechesis in the Roman Catholic tradition.

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