Printer Friendly

Sea rest.


The two-story white-frame antebellum house known for more than a century as the "Father Ryan Home" is no more. Once located at 1428 Beach Boulevard The following roads are named Beach Boulevard:
  • Beach Boulevard (Jacksonville)
  • Beach Boulevard (Orange County, California), part of State Route 39
 in West Biloxi, the historic structure, famous for its towering palm tree growing through the wide front steps was swept into the gulf by the fury of Hurricane Katrina Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. .

The home was constructed in 1841 as a retirement home for Judge W.C. Wade of Natchez. It became the summer residence of well-known New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded  cotton buyer, John Watt. It is believed that at the time Father Ryan leased the house it was owned by New Orleans architect Thomas W. Carter. When Father Abram J. Ryan, the "Poet-Priest of the South," moved into the home in October of 1881, his name had already become a household word from Maine to California.

Ryan was born near Hagerstown, Maryland, on February 5, 1838. He admired Robert E. Lee so much that he became so desired to be a Virginian often told his parishioners and others that he was born in Virginia. Although wishful thinking wishful thinking Psychology Dereitic thought that a thing or event should have a specified outcome  on his part, his family had moved to Norfolk when he was about two months old before settling St. Louis, Missouri, in 1846 as proprietors of a general store.

Described as a quiet, delicate, thoughtful sort of boy in Furl that Banner, his biography by David O'Connell David O'Connell may refer to:
  • Dáithí Ó Conaill (1938-1991), Irish republican
  • David O'Connell (North Dakota), an American politician
  • David J. O'Connell (1868-1930), U.S. Representative from New York
, he excelled at the city's Catholic school. It was there that his teachers noticing his "natural inclinations to piety" encouraged him to become a priest. After graduating from prep school at St. Mary of the Barrens at Perryville, Missouri Perryville is a city in Perry County, Missouri, United States. The population was 7,667 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Perry CountyGR6. Governance
Perryville has a Mayor/City Council form of government.
, he accepted the call to the priesthood and enrolled in Our Lady of the Angels Seminary near Niagara Falls, New York Niagara Falls is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,593. It is across the Niagara River from Niagara Falls, Ontario, both named after the famed Niagara Falls which they share. . David O'Connell, notes in his book that the Southern conservative "felt very much out of place." On September 12, 1860, the young twenty-two year-old rebel was ordained or·dain  
tr.v. or·dained, or·dain·ing, or·dains
a. To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.

b. To authorize as a rabbi.

 two years ahead of the canonically-mandated age of twenty-four.

A gifted speaker, Ryan was assigned to a conservative church in Peoria, Illinois Peoria, Illinois (named after the Peoria tribe) is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County,GR6 Illinois, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 112,936. , where he ministered throughout most of the War Between the States.


On September 1, 1862, Father Ryan's brother David joined the Kentucky Cavalry under the command of C.S.A. General John Hunt Morgan John Hunt Morgan (June 1, 1825 – September 4, 1864) was a Confederate general and cavalry officer in the American Civil War. He led 2,460 troops in a daring raid, called Morgan's Raid, racing past Union lines into Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio in July 1863. . He was killed seven months later in a skirmish near Monticello, Kentucky Monticello is a city in Wayne County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 5,981 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wayne CountyGR6. . For the next two years, Father Ryan took numerous leaves of absence to minister as a chaplain in various C.S.A. army units in the field. Although no official records exist to support his serving the Confederacy Confederacy, name commonly given to the Confederate States of America (1861–65), the government established by the Southern states of the United States after their secession from the Union.  as a duly commissioned chaplain, it is known that he performed the duties of a chaplain in various east Tennessee towns and cities including Nashville and Knoxville, and also localities in Kentucky and Georgia. He just showed up and ministered before or after a battle.

For Ryan, the war ended abruptly. He had a difficult time with the fact that his beloved South had lost. He believed that "the North is the head, but the South is the heart" and began to pen verses in an effort to lift spirits and heal wounds. One of his first poems, "The Conquered Banner," which may also be his most moving, was written only a few days following General Lee's surrender. The last stanza reads:
   Furl that Banner, softly, slowly!
   Treat it gently--it is holy--
   For it droops above the dead.
   Touch it not--unfold it never,
   Let it droop there, furled forever,
   For its people's hopes are dead!

Following the war, Ryan busied himself with poetry and preaching. With little regard for his health, he worked long days preaching, raising money for specific Catholic charities, and writing. Everywhere he went--Boston, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and numerous cities in between--the pews were filled with faithful Catholic parishioners.

Ryan was named priest of St. Mary's church St. Mary's Church, or St. Mary the Virgin's Church, or other variations on the name, may refer to: Azerbaijan
  • St. Mary's Catholic Church, Baku
  • St. Mary's Church, Berlin
  • St. Mary's Church, Fuhlsbüttel, Hamburg
  • St.
 in Mobile in 1877, where the pace of being a full-time minister was considered slower, but it was too late; the damage to his health had been done. His doctors ordered complete rest. In the late summer of 1881, the frail Father Byan moved into the home facing the gulf in west Biloxi. During the first few weeks he penned three poems about his new surroundings: "Sea Dreamings," "Sea Reverie," and "Sea Rest." His concern for his health is revealed in the first verse of "Sea Rest:"
   "Far from 'where the roses rest,"
   Round the altar and the aisle,
   Which I loved, of all, the best--
   I have come to rest awhile
   By the ever-restless sea--
   Will its waves give rest to me?"

His stay in Biloxi was rewarding, enabling him to achieve his lifelong dream of meeting and befriending Jefferson Davis. The closeness of Davis's home, Beauvoir, located only four miles west, gave Father Ryan the opportunity to build the relationship he had longed for.

In December of 1882, he engaged in an evangelical preaching tour of the Northeast, visiting Boston, Montreal, Kingston, and Ontario. He read his poem, "The Sword of Robert Lee" on June 28, 1883, at the unveiling of Edward V. Valentine's statue of Lee at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. He then returned to coast for one month and left in 1883, never to return. He left to fulfill his vow of preaching the Gospel as an itinerant minister. Father Abram Ryan died of organic heart disease in a Franciscan monastery in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 22, 1886. A few months prior to his death he wrote his own epitaph epitaph, strictly, an inscription on a tomb; by extension, a statement, usually in verse, commemorating the dead. The earliest such inscriptions are those found on Egyptian sarcophagi. :
   "To the higher shrine of Love divine
   My lowly feet have trod,
   I want no fame, no other name
   Than this--a priest of God!"
COPYRIGHT 2009 Downhome Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:heritage matters: looking back
Author:Cooper, Forrest Lamar
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:May 1, 2009
Previous Article:Mermaids in the Basement.
Next Article:Mississippi matters of fact.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters