Sr Andrina: ‘A sincere woman of faith and hope’
SR ANDRINA Ryan once wrote that her parents taught her to always be thankful and, as such, she made gratitude her own.
It was a telling notation from a much-loved figure whose death on August 12 prompted a flood of heartfelt tributes in which those same sentiments of appreciation were common themes.
Hundreds of people sent messages of sympathy, acknowledging a woman who served her faith completely and her community wholeheartedly.
Sr Andrina died peacefully at Bethany Home, aged 91.
She had devoted more than 70 years of her life to the Sisters of Mercy, her work encompassing education, administration and pastoral care.
She first taught at the Range College from 1956 to 1968 and returned in 1980, becoming the last Sister of Mercy principal there from 1985 to 1988.
Sr Andrina was delighted when The Cathedral College named Ryan House in her honour.
A loyal patron, she was a familiar sight at swimming carnivals, house assemblies, music nights, awards presentations and graduation ceremonies.
Deteriorating health denied her those opportunities in the past few years of her life, her presence deeply missed but fondly remembered.
Sr Joanne Molloy paid tribute to her friend, saying she had an enormous capacity for love and a genuine interest and concern for others.
She described her as always being “on mission”, and taking to heart these words of Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley: “There are three things that the poor prize more highly than gold, tho’ they cost the donor nothing; among these are the kind word, the gentle, compassionate look and the patient hearing of their sorrows.”
Sr Joanne said those traits were central to Sr Andrina’s ministry and what endeared her to so many.
Her appreciation for hard work and regard for honesty and loyalty were instilled in her as a child, growing up with her three younger brothers Philip, John and Peter in their loving home in Berserker.
Patricia Jane Ryan was born in Rockhampton on September 23, 1928, the first of four children for Philip and Jane (Walsh).
She went to St Mary’s School in North Rockhampton before attending The Range College, where she completed Junior in 1942.
She helped at the infant school at The Range before taking a position at Dr J. Lynch’s surgery.
She would soon answer her vocational calling, entering the Sisters of Mercy on November 27, 1946. Received as Sr Mary Andrina on July 20, 1947, she was professed on January 22, 1950.
She first taught at Koongal (1950-1953) and then Walkerston (1954-1955) before her first placement at The Range, where she forged countless friendships with staff and students.
Her teaching days ended in 1989 but her ministry then took a different turn as she moved into pastoral care, combined with the role of mission co-ordinator at the Rockhampton Mater Hospital.
Even after her official “retirement” in October 2007, Sr Andrina continued with regular visits to patients at Rockhampton Hospital as well as southside parishioners.
She lived at The Range Village from 2010-2017 before moving to McAuley Place in 2018 and finally Bethany Home.
Sr Joanne said Sr Andrina’s legacy would live on through those whose lives she had influenced in such a positive way.
“She was a sincere woman of faith and hope, a woman of welcome, a woman of prayer, a woman of mercy,” Sr Joanne said.
“May Andrina live forever in communion with the God she served so faithfully.”