Sr Janice E Ryan | obituaries

Sr. Janice E. Ryan WINOOSKI — Sister Janice E. Ryan, RSM, (Sr. Mary Brian), 85, of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, died at Our Lady of Providence Residential Care Community, Winooski, Vermont, on March 30, 2022. She was a Sister of Mercy for 68 years. Sr. Janice was born in Fairfield, Vermont, on Sept. 14, 1936, the daughter of Veronica (Maloney) and Leo Ryan. She received her early education in Fairfield and graduated from Mount Saint Mary Academy in Burlington. She received her BA degree in English from Trinity College, Master of Education in Special Education from Boston University and did graduate study at Harvard University, University of Lund, Sweden, University of Minnesota and Cardinal Stritch College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sr. Janice entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1954, and professed her vows on Aug. 16, 1957. She took as her motto, “God will provide.” Sr. Janice began her ministry as a teacher at Cathedral Elementary and Junior High School in Burlington. She then transitioned to Trinity College to begin a long career that was dynamic and immeasurable in its impact. She served as assistant professor, Special Education, director of Public Relations and Development, director of Diagnostic and Pre-School Programs for Handicapped Children, chairperson for Division of Special Education, and executive director of Vermont/Champlain ARC, organizations representing persons with developmental disabilities and their families. Additionally, she was instrumental in the passage of Public Law 94-142 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She was president of Trinity College from 1979-1996. Sr. Janice then moved on to become project director of Catholic Campaign to Ban Landmines, United States Catholic Conference in Washington, DC, education director for US Sen. James Jeffords-VT, director of the Justice Initiative under the Justice Project, Washington, DC . Upon returning to Vermont, she became deputy commissioner, State Department of Corrections. Throughout her career, Sr. Janice was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including honorary doctoral degrees from Saint Michael’s College and Middlebury College, University of Vermont’s Distinguished Service Award, National Association of Independent Colleges Award for Loyal Services, and the Vermont Times Woman of the Year Awards. Sr. Janice will be remembered for her clear thinking; high expectations of herself and others; belief in the efficacy of strong and steady advocacy; dedication to the charism of the Sisters of Mercy; empowerment of others, especially women and persons with disabilities; propensity to give someone a chance and/or a new opportunity or experience; her ability to “work a crowd;” her thirst for knowledge; her many friendships; and love of travel which enabled her to participate in several experiential programs and educational tours. Sr. Janice is survived by two sisters, Maureen Cooper, of Las Vegas, Nevada, Rose Godard, of South Burlington; one brother, Gavin (Cynthia) Ryan, of Fairfield; sisters-in-law, Darlene Ryan, Patricia Ryan, Darlene Symons; six nieces and nephews, Kathleen (David) Raleigh, Bridget (Michael) Polsky, Ellen (Michael) Gleason, Peter Godard and Bob Martinez, Janice M. (Dan) Bressette, Meagan (Jeff) Gilmore, Thomas (Marie) Ryan; 11 grandnieces and nephews; and by her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy. She was predeceased by her parents, Veronica and Leo Ryan; her brothers, David and Dennis; and her niece, Kelly Ryan. The Sisters of Mercy are very grateful to Director of Nursing Barbara Liberty and the staff at Our Lady of Providence and to the University of Vermont Medical Center Hospice nurse, Nancy Carlson, for their exceptional care of Sr. Janice. Visiting hours will be from 4 to 7 pm on Friday, April 8, 2022, at Ready Funeral Home South Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at 2 pm at Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, Vermont. Wearing a mask is optional. Following the funeral, burial will take place in Mount Saint Mary Cemetery, 100 Mansfield Ave., Burlington Vermont. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy in support of their ministerial works. These may be sent to Sisters of Mercy – ATTN: Sr. Laura Della Santa, 356 Mountain View Road, Suite 101, Colchester, VT 05446. Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Ready Funeral Home South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road in Burlington . Please visit to place online condolences.


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