Sister Mary Bosco Ryder, OSF

Ryder Mary Bosco

Sister Mary Bosco (Mary Lou) Ryder, OSF, died Sunday, November 25, 2108, at Clare House.

Mary Lou Ryder was born to William and Catherine (Ryan) Ryder, near Waukon, Iowa, and was baptized about a week later at St. Pius Church, Cherry Mound, Iowa. She was the second oldest of three children. Mary Lou lived on a farm near Waterville, Iowa. She attended grade school and high school at Waterville Consolidated School, where she graduated in May of 1949.

St. Pius Church in Cherry Mound, six miles away from the Ryder family home, is where she attended Mass with her family every Sunday.  Since there was no Catholic school in the area, Mary Lou attended religious instruction class after Mass every Sunday. The parish priest and some ladies from the parish taught the classes. Every summer the Franciscan Sisters from Dubuque conducted a two week CCD program in Cherry Mound. This was Mary Lou’s first acquaintance with the Sisters. When Mary Lou had completed her freshman year in high school, she met Sister Mary Ruth Agnes, who was the high school CCD teacher. They became lifelong friends.

Mary Lou entered Mount St. Francis on August 25, 1949, and was received into the community on August 12, 1950, at which time she received the name, Sister Mary Bosco. After her first profession of vows, August 12, 1952, she began her teaching ministry at Sacred Heart in Pocahontas, Iowa, followed by Holy Trinity in Dubuque. Before Sister was assigned to her new mission at Crescent City in California, on July 2, 1962, it was suggested she call her mother and talk it over because it would be five years before she could come back home to visit her family due to the cost of travel. Her mom was very excited and happy for her and gave Sister her blessing. Her arrival in Crescent City was the first time she saw the redwood trees. She loved every inch of God’s beauty there. While at Crescent City, she spent many summer weeks teaching CCD in parishes near Santa Rosa, California. 

From the years 1958 through 2004, Sister Mary Bosco devoted her time at Sacred Heart in Monticello, Visitation in Stacyville, St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville, and St. Mary’s in Waterloo. Sister retired to Mount St. Francis in the year 2004, and with her gift of lettering, found herself working in Sister Keith’s shop, as well as her sister-in-law, Janette’s, store in Waukon.

The Lord said, “I have carved you on the palm of my hand,” Isaiah 49:15. Sister Mary Bosco has said, “Not only has He carved me there, but that is where I lived and rested all my life.” She believed she lived her life “as sacrament”.

Sister is survived by her sister-in-law and her husband Janette (Ryder) and Jerry Blong, nieces and nephews, and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared over 68 years of her life.

Sister was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Donald, and her sister, Betty.