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Sister Martha (Briant) Ryder, BVM

Sister Martha (Briant) Ryder, BVM

Sister Martha (Briant) Ryder, BVM, 94, died Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 at Mount Carmel Bluffs.

Private funeral services, Sharing of Memories and Mass of Christian Burial were held Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Burial was in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

Sister Martha ministered as chair and instructor in the physical science/physics department at Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa.  She also taught at Mater Dei HS/Prince of Peace College Preparatory in Clinton, Iowa, and The Immaculata HS in Chicago.

She was born on May 25, 1927, in St. Louis, to Frederick and Myrtle (Stockton) Ryder. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1948, from St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, St. Louis. She professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

Martha took St. Paul words to heart: “Rejoice in hope; endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12: 12) The pastor at Prince of Peace shared, “I think Sister Martha’s presence has been an enormous value, not only her ability as a teacher, but beyond that, her witness to the religious life. Her beautiful way of proclaiming the Gospel, not always in words, but always in actions, her lifestyle, dedication, joy and commitment to the Lord, have served as an inspiration.” (Eulogy, Nov. 29, 2021).

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Bill. She is survived by the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 73 years.

Memorials may be given to Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003 or make an online gift.

Watch Memorial Mass and Sharing of Memories

Download Eulogy

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This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. I remember Sister very well from our days at Prince of Peace. I taught religious ed on Sunday and met her thru that. She was what I called a true Christian person. I enjoyed visiting with her. RIP in God’s glory Sister.

  2. Sister Martha was one of the most brilliant and inspirational women I’ve ever been lucky enough to know, a leader and mentor in STEM long before the catchy acronyms existed.

    Whether patiently talking students through a two-column proof on the overhead projector or posting a handwritten sign asking the “pretty red stapler” to return when it had gone missing, Sister’s quiet humility and firm guidance were a hallmark of every math and physics class at Prince of Peace high school.

    My senior year I took an independent study Statistics class with Sister, although our long afternoon chats were rarely about Statistics! She shared stories of growing up in the Italian neighborhood of St. Louis, playing harmonica and field hockey, and of converting to Catholicism after encountering Sisters who inspired her to follow in their well-educated and service-driven footsteps. Always a lifelong student, Sister kept up on the latest mathematical and scientific discoveries (listening to recorded lectures by Fermi and others had inspired her to go back and get a second masters’ degree in Physics many years after her first, “because it had all changed.”)

    I was honored in 2005 to nominate Sister Martha for the Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award and we traveled together to Washington, DC for the award weekend. I was so pleased to see her honored on the national stage for all her contributions – a truly well-deserved recognition! In the printed program, teachers were asked to share a reflection on teaching, and Sister’s simple words perfectly encapsulate the impact she has had on so many of us. She wrote, “A student I taught 30 years ago wrote that her interest in astronomy, picked up in my class, has lasted. She downloads the Astronomy Picture of the Day and often uses the picture as her computer screen background. I should have written to my teachers.”

    Reading that now after many years, I’m glad that I remained in correspondence with Sister! She was always quick to share articles of interest to my profession (architecture), or any other tidbits she thought interesting.

    Thank you for everything, Sister – teacher, mentor, friend. Rest In Peace.

  3. Sister Martha tutored my daughter in one of her math classes. She was always so patient and encouraging. I will always be grateful that Sister Martha touched my daughter’s life. ❤

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