Sister M. Consilio Ryan
At the time of her death on Christmas Day Sister Consilio was the oldest member of the Congregation. Bishop David Cremin, an old friend from her Hurstville days, was chief celebrant at her Requiem in St John of God Church Auburn. Father Ron Harden PP at Hurstville and Father Ray Farrell PP of Auburn joined him on the altar.
Bishop Cremin spoke of Sister’s early life in Church Hill where she was born Theresa Mary Ryan on 9th November 1902, of how she applied for a secretarial position at St Joseph’s Auburn and boarded at St Joseph’s as the distance to travel each day was too far, then being told by the Mother Superior she should be a teacher and later that she should join the Congregation.
Bishop Cremin said she did this, entering the Novitiate of the Sisters of Charity on 18th January 1923 and was professed on 16th January 1926. He traced her many teaching appointments, which were predominantly in the Sydney area, teaching commercial studies, until she retired at Hurstville in 1972.
Sister Mary Consilio was the middle child of three girls born to Michael and Mary Ryan at Church Hill. The eldest daughter died in infancy and Consilio became ‘big sister’ to the baby, a role she cherished all her life.
I knew Consilio only in her latter years; there are many of her faithful ex-students here today who knew her when she was young. In the time I knew Consilio she grew in grace, wisdom, peace and mellowness.
Consilio must have been in her eighties when she went each week to Father’s lectures on the Gospels where she wrote down almost every word in shorthand and then rewrote notes when she came home. Retirement did not mean that Consilio had called it a day for her own education, especially in her faith.
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God’s heart in the garden
Than anywhere else on earth