Sr Íde Ní Riain RSCJ – An Appreciation
Inspirational teacher who followed vocation
Sr Íde Ní Riain RSCJ
The name “Ita” or “Íde” can be interpreted as “Thirst for God”. This name was a great influence on Sr Íde in her choice of vocation, her manner of living and her work.
Of her patron saint, it was written that “she spoke well, sweetly, and with wisdom”.
Many generations of pupils would attribute these qualities to Sr Íde Ní Riain.
To the great sadness of her family, community and many friends, Sr Íde died on January 5th, 2018, in the loving care of Cedar House.
Íde was born in Dublin on January 15th, 1933. She was the eighth child of Senator Seamus Ryan and his wife Agnes, founders of the Monument Creamery Dublin.
Íde came to Mount Anville, Dublin, a long time ago. When she was seven years old she became a boarder and is remembered walking along the corridor with her little case and teddy bear. Mount Anvillle was a second home and Sr Geoghegan gently cultivated her artistic talents. Having completed her studies in Mount Anville, Íde went to the Sorbonne and entered the noviceship the following year.
Over 40 years were spent teaching in various schools: Monkstown, Mount Anville, and Kilgraston in Scotland. Her pupils loved her and considered her an inspirational teacher. A past pupil wrote: “I can never recall her raising her voice. Her classroom was constantly infused with an atmosphere of benevolent serenity despite our best efforts to impose chaos”.
Sister Íde never uttered jargon. All the Shakespearean scenes were enacted in a casual way in the hilarity of the classroom. She constantly met erstwhile Juliets, Romeos and Shylocks in the market place. The darker hours of school life, which are inevitable in every teacher’s experience, were accepted with honesty and equanimity.
As a hobby , Íde wrote many books: The Life of St Ide of Killeedy; A Story History of Mount Anville;The Life and Times of Mrs AV Ryan; a translation of the commentary of St Ambrose on the 119th psalm; and several tomes on the spiritual writings of Denis the Carthusian.
As a gift to her brother Patrick R Ryan, former director of the Monument Creameries, she privately published his collected poems. Although ill herself, Sr Íde looked after Patrick in his declining years with a devotion like that of Antigone.
The Collect of the Mass of St Íde speaks of a person endowed with innumerable gifts – “Donis innumeris decorasti” – such was Íde. In the obscurity of our lives in Mount Anville Secondary School, Sr Íde’s attributes, especially her kindness, enhanced all of us.