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Researching for canonization Fr. Patrick Ryan


I am secretary of the Historical Commission for the Cause of Sainthood for Fr. Patrick Ryan. We have little info about his origins. He was born September 29,1844 near Nenagh in Country Tipperary. He had a brother Michael born around 1849. They left for America and Fr Patrick Ryan died in Chattanooga,Tennessee September 28, 1878 caring for yellow fever victims.  We have copy of a letter of excorporation from Bishop Nicholas Power dated 1869 which gives Patrick permission to be released from the Diocese of Killaloe to serve for another Bishop  The only other info we have is that The Ryan family was friends with the family of Patrick Augustine Feehan, born 1829, from Killenaule, who became bishop of Nashville and later archbishop of Chicago   A group from our Chattanooga Parish is planning a pilgrimage this July to Ireland in Fr Ryan’s honor and want to visit his birth area on July 13  My commission is in the midst of writing our positio paper for the Vatican and would be so helpful if you could find any info to help fill in our blanks

Thank you so much

Barbara DeGaetano






Thursday 8th March 2018, 11:09PM

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  • To get you started - the Ecclesiastical Directory of Thom's 1868 and 1869 confirm that Right Reverend Nicholas Power was Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Killaloe, the Bishop is listed as Right Reverend Michael Flanney D.D. I've attached a list of the parishes of the Diocese and an image of the listing for 1869. There's a James Ryan P.P. at Youghal-Arra parish but no sign of a Patrick Ryan among the Parish Priests or Curates officially assigned to any of these parishes. Possibly he didn't serve here long enough to be listed.

    The Ryan surname is the most common surname in Co. Tipperary so multiple household with similar name, making searches difficult. The baptism registers for the parish of Nenagh go back to 1792, but there is an unfortunate gap in the surviving records between December 1842 and January 1845 - possibly lost or damaged pages (the last few pages for 1842 some some damage & missing sections).  The register images for the parish are available on the National Library of Ireland website - see Nenagh RC parish

    To allow for the 'near Nenagh' reference it might be worth checking the adjacent parishes :

    Monsea  (Cloghprior and Mount-Sea)   
    Cloughjordan  (Ardcroney and Ballygibbon)   
    Youghal-Arra (Burgessbeg and Youghal)

    I'd allow a little leeway with regard to the date of birth - people rarely knew their exact date, in any case early baptism records do not usually include this detail, just date of baptism. However at that time Catholic baptisms usually took place within a couple of days of the birth (sometimes the same day. It might be worth checking for full civil death record for Patrick in case his parents are named, as this could help locate his family e.g. by searching for younger siblings, also might be worth tracking marriage and death certs for Michael to see if any family details are mentioned.


    Saturday 10th March 2018, 03:47PM

    Attached Files




    Thank you for all of your suggestions and attachments. One important point I left out was that Patrick Ryan came to America as a child.  He became a priest in the Diocese of Nashville in 1869 after seminary in St. Louis  Missouri. A visit to the seminary records showed no mention of parents. Actually, the 1869 letter of ex corporation is what points us to the Diocese of Killaloe, along with secondary sources mentioning Nenagh as his area of birth.

    Father Patrick’s date of birth was listed in the original cemetery record book of 1886, where he was reburied 12 years after death when the new Catholic cemetery opened in Chattanooga. As you indicated, it might not be exact.

    I will check out the surrounding parishes you listed; an earlier query to all present day Killaloe parishes did not achieve any results. 

    Again, thank you for all of your help. I look forward to seeing Tipperary in July.    Barbara






    Tuesday 20th March 2018, 10:43AM