Herbert Ryan, S.J.

Message from the President 

April 9, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Herbert Ryan, S.J., who passed away Thursday at age 79 after a long illness. Father Ryan was a much-beloved professor in the Theological Studies Department for more than 30 years.

An author, a scholar and a much-sought mentor, Father Ryan’s gift for encouragement led many students to stay in contact with him long after they had graduated. In 2001, Father Ryan was awarded the university’s Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Award. In conjunction with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality, he had an online “advice column” called Ask Father Herbie, in which he would answer emailed theological and religious questions. Father Ryan gave considered answers to concerns that his correspondents might not feel were appropriate for a group or conversational setting.

Father Ryan was deeply involved in the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, which seeks common ground between the two churches. For his work in furthering this official-level dialog, he was awarded the Papal Medal of Merit and the Medal of the Cross of Saint Augustine.

Born in Scarsdale, N.Y., on Feb. 19, 1931, Father Ryan earned his doctorate in theology at Rome’s Gregorian University. He entered the Society of Jesus in July 1949 and pronounced his final vows in August 1966 in Maastricht, Holland. During his time in Europe, he served as secretary to John Courtney Murray, S.J., a major figure in Vatican II Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.

A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, April 17, at 10 a.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel on the LMU campus. A reception in Sculpture Garden will follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Father Ryan’s memory can be made to the Theological Studies Department or to the Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

We will miss Father Ryan, knowing that his inspirational work endures in the lives he affected.



David W. Burcham
Acting President