Sharon T. Ryan '86
At Holy Cross, we pride ourselves on our Jesuit tradition, on our mission to instill in our students both the thirst for wisdom and the understanding that this wisdom must include the call to service. To see our mission bear fruit in individuals who give their lives to the pursuit of knowledge and compassion is to know the meaning of all our efforts. To look at the life path of Sharon Ryan is to see an example of Ignatian faith in action.
That faith has guided and sustained her from the moment she departed Mount Saint James, graduating cum laude with a degree in mathematics and a 3.9 GPA in her major. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, Sharon could have pursued any number of lucrative careers. Insteafd, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, moving to the Bronx and teaching disadvantaged children and refugee teens. Coordinating a soup kitchen in her spare time, she embraced, wholeheartedly, the charge to be a woman for others.
For the next 16 years, Sharon gave her heart and her mind to the JVC, guided by the principles of simple living, spirituality, social justice and community. Advancing to an administrative position, she mentored the next generation of volunteers, showing, day by day and year after year, the depth of her commitment to the gospel message. Whether balancing budgets or running retreats, counseling staffers or organizing research projects, Sharon brought a savvy and a sensitivity to her ministry that left others inspired, empowered and renewed.
Resilient and prayerful, creative and generous, professional and fun?these are all adjectives that have been used to describe Sharon. "Her faith," a friend has written, "is alive." And one need only look to her personal history to know the truth of that statement.
Today, Sharon is working toward a master's degree in pastoral counseling at Loyola College, the latest chapter in what has been an extraordinary calling.
For her dedication to the gospel values, her sense of life as a commitment to those in need, and her openhearted decision to live out her faith, the College of the Holy Cross presents to Sharon Ryan the Sanctae Crucis Award.