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A History of Our Patron - Bishop Joseph F. Ryan

A History of Our Patron - Bishop Joseph F. Ryan

Bishop Joseph F. Ryan was the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton. He was a "true son of the diocese", having been born and raised within the Hamilton area. He was born in Dundas, Ontario on 1 March 1897, raised in St. Mary's Parish, Hamilton, and educated at St. Jerome's College in Waterloo. After theological studies at St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto he was ordained by Bishop Dowling on 21 May 1921, at St. Patrick's Church in Hamilton. He served for five years at his home parish, St. Mary's. In 1926 he was sent to Rome for two years of post-graduate studies in Canon Law. Upon his return to Hamilton he served as the priest at St. Mary’s Hamilton. When the new Cathedral of Christ the King was opened in 1933, Bishop McNally appointed Ryan as its first rector. When Bishop McNally became Archbishop of Halifax in 1937, Pope Pius XI named Joseph Ryan the Bishop of Hamilton. His consecration took place in the Cathedral of Christ the King on 19 October 1937.

The dominant characteristic of Bishop Ryan's long episcopacy was growth. Rapid population growth in Canada during his time as Bishop required him to open more than fifty new parishes, doubling the existing number. Twelve of these were created to serve various ethnic groups that had arrived from eastern and southern Europe. Bishop Redding devoted a considerable amount of time and much of the diocese's resources to promoting Catholic education. He expanded high school education throughout the diocese, created many new elementary schools, and helped to upgrade the status of St. Jerome's College in Waterloo to that of a degree-granting institution. Bishop Ryan possessed a deep love for the Blessed Mother. One manifestation of this devotion was the annual Marian Day Rally, which continued for twenty-five years. Bishop Ryan attended the four sessions of the Second Vatican Council and skillfully guided the diocese through the period of change that followed. Bishop Ryan generously responded to the appeals by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI for North American bishops to assist the Church in Latin America. A diocesan mission was established in Teculutan, Guatemala in 1963.

On 27 March 1973 Bishop Ryan submitted his resignation as Bishop of Hamilton. He died on 22 March 1990.

Photography Credit: Bochsler Studios Photography
History Credit: Diocese of Hamilton
A History of Our School A History of Our School

A History of Our School

Bishop Ryan High School was built to ease the overcrowding of existing separate secondary schools, and was to serve students from St. Eugene's, St. Helen's, St. John's, Holy Family, Blessed Sacrament, St. Margaret Mary's, St. Francis Xavier, and those from Fruitland, Winona and Elfrida. The first sod was turned April 21, 1958, with Bishop Joseph Ryan officiating; the corner-stone was laid on October 3, at 3 p.m. Until the official opening on April 16, 1959, grade nine classes for 166 students were held using five classrooms and a transformed gym at St. Eugene's School, and there was also a shift system. The first staff consisted of the following members: Sister Mary Joan Boyer (Principal) Sister M. Raphael Arnold Sister M. Clarice Missere Sister Frances Cabrini (Gamma Golino) Mr. Geraid E. Ward Miss Sandra Agro.

The capital outlay for the new school was in the neighbourhood of $1,000,000, and the building was erected on Queenston Road. in an astonishing eleven months. Constructed to be efficient, with low-cost maintenance, the school featured many innovative aspects: there was no plaster used, but prefabricated concrete slabs; the Senior Science Labs had the teacher's table at the width end of the room, so the instructor could be closer to the students and readily view their work at a glance; the heating system was arranged so that clean, fresh air was brought into the building through two penthouses, was tempered, heated, and distributed throughout the building, while the old air was dispelled by means of grills in the doors leading to the corridors, from which the air was suctioned to the outside; also there was unique radiant heating in the basement floor and the gymnasium.

The new school had twenty-three classrooms, four Science laboratories (two junior, two senior), a chapel, library, nurse's room, gymnasium with sliding sectional door, and cafeteria, a bookstore, guidance room and three teachers' rooms.

In light of the school's more recent history of over-population, a newspaper clipping which stated that the school "will expand gradually until the eventual target of 800 students is reached" proved to be very conservative indeed. The demand for Catholic Secondary education broke all expectations and Bishop Ryan has been a veritable fortress in meeting the need.

(And then we moved to Albright Rd. in 1990-91...)


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A History of Our Principals A History of Our Principals

A History of Our Principals

Many superb nuns, priests and lay men and women have led Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School as Principal since its inception in 1958. These leaders were often responsible for Bishop Ryan's continued existence in the midst of funding for Catholic Education in Ontario and helped the school to flourish in times of strength. Below is the list of Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School Principals:

Sister Mary Joan Boyer, 1958-1962
Father R.J. Cote, 1962-1975
Jack Curtis, 1975-1984
Peter Narduzzi, 1984-1985
Ray Griffiths, 1985-1987
Theresa Mazza, 1987-1992 and 1997-2001
Larry Scholes, 1992-1997
Lou Friscolanti, 2001-2007
Hermon Mayers, 2007-2014
Emidio Piccioni, 2014-2019
Michael Lawlor, 2019 - present


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