From Canon Ryan’s Baby Sister

It was a very exciting time for our family in the days leading up to Michael’s ordination. Our house was decorated with flowers, bunting and banners, though the ceremony itself took place in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, where Michael had been studying for the priesthood for six years. We travelled to Thurles the evening before, all our family members and relatives.

At the beginning of the ordination ceremony, all the deacons walked out onto the altar, with their vestments draped over their arms. This was a very special moment for us, as we saw our brother about to take this big step. We felt very emotional as the candidates for ordination prostrated themselves on the floor to receive Holy Orders. Next came the excitement of seeing Fr Michael give his first blessing to our parents and then to the rest of us.

Some of his fellow priests he would never see again, as they were being sent to Australia and New Zealand. Fr Michael was lucky to be going to Scotland since our mother was in poor heath and died seven years after that.

We returned to our home in Gurteen, Co. Sligo, on the evening of the ordination and it was all go getting ready for Michael’s first Mass the following morning. More family members and friends were present that day. He started his First Mass by singing the Magnificat, and sang it very well indeed. The Church was packed with people anxious to receive his first blessing.

The days that followed were very busy for him, with people calling to our house and he was invited here, there, and everywhere. On one of these days a large group of travelling people arrived for his blessing. Our garden was full of men, women and children on their knees and Michael was passing among them. Their luggage and cart were parked outside our garden wall.

Then came his time to go to Scotland.

Marie Vaughan (Ryan)