Sister Mary Edith Ryan was a Sister of Mercy for 78 years. In 1944 she joined the Sisters of Mercy in Cincinnati and received the name, Sister Mary Edith. She then continued her education, receiving a Bachelor’s in Education from the Athenaeum and soon followed that with a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in School Counseling. She began her teaching career at Mother of Mercy High School in Cincinnati. While there, in the summers, she and other teaching Sisters went to help at various Mercy hospitals. Through these experiences, she recognized her real love was in the health care field.
After receiving her RN, she went to Mercy Hospital in Urbana, where she began her nursing ministry. She and her close friend, Sister Virginia Harris, wore many hats in this small country hospital. Throughout her years there, Sister Edith touched the lives of patients and staff alike and made many friends. They highly appreciated her work, and she is remembered as being unbelievably kind.
As the years went by, she exchanged her stethoscope for a book of prayers and a listening ear as Director of Spiritual Care. She amazed many with her personal attention to each of her patients.
While there, she and Sister Virginia welcomed a little dog into their lives. Sara was certainly loved and doted on by them and moved with them to St. Bernardine’s when they retired to Fremont. Sara died soon after that, as did Sister Virginia a few years later. Besides losing two best friends, Sister Edith was also losing her sight and much of her hearing. Amazingly, she was content to sit in her chair every afternoon and evening and peacefully be attuned to sights and sounds beyond her every day, sights and sounds which awaited her. Her one addiction was her cola – at every meal except breakfast, and who knew about the in-between times. Her Sisters will long remember her at St. Bernardine’s for her own personal way of getting the attention of nurses or other Sisters with her “yoo-hoo!”