|Admin_History||Fr John Ryder SJ was born on 12 November 1900 in Crewe, Cheshire. Before deciding to join the Society his occupation was in locomotive engineering, presumably on the shop-floor initially. Then after four years at Manchester and Liverpool universities he secured an Honours degree in engineering. |
Fr Ryder chose to sacrifice a promising career in engineering by going to Campion House, Osterley, in 1924. Here he became at least the makings of a good linguist, which stood him in good stead later, when he mastered Russian and Old Slavonic.
In 1926 Fr Ryder joined the noviceship at Manresa. In 1929 Fr General Ledochowski SJ sent a letter to all houses saying that Pius XI wanted young Jesuits to be trained for work in Russia and the Russicum College was put under the Jesuits. A year after arriving in Rome for theology Fr Ryder was accepted onto the 'Russian Mission'. Fr Ryder was later ordained in 1933 and became the first Jesuit to be ordained in an Eastern Rite.
After theology he was appointed to help Fr J. Ledit SJ to put out a monthly Bulletin against communism titled 'Lettres de Rome'. A year later he went to Tronchiennes for tertianship. During his tertianship Fr John Baptist Janssens SJ, tertian-master, helped to build a little Russian rite chapel and two novices learnt how to serve at his Liturgy.
In July 1937 Fr Ryder was sent to Estonia but was unhappy there and he did not agree with the methods of his Superior, Fr Charles Bourgeouis SJ. During his time there Fr Ryder wrote a series of articles for 'Letters and Notices', including a map of Estonia. These he based on his experience of work at Esna, not far from the then Russian frontier.
In 1939 Fr Ryder found a new apostolate with Russians in California (U.S.A) and built up a very fine Russian choir which was invited to sing at important concerts.
In 1951 Fr Ryder became involved in the Russian Center at Fordham University in New York. Here he gave many lectures and retreats and started a series of general articles on the Catholic faith to be used by radio stations.
In 1968 first began regular visits to a community of enclosed Ukrainian nuns in New York to celebrate the Liturgy for them in the Byzantine rite. He eventually moved over to their chaplain's quarters.
Fr Ryder died in New York, U.S.A., on 27 August 1979.