Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
In this 2013 photo, Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Nora Ryan poses with fourth-graders (l-r) Yak Yak of Sudan and Zin Ti San and Ruby Zalin of Burma after a game of Sight Word Bingo. For several years Sister Nora served as a volunteer tutor at the International Community School, Decatur.


Sister Nora Ryan, OP, dies December 22

Published January 7, 2021

SINSINAWA, Wisc.—Sister Nora Ryan, OP, died on December 22 at St. Dominic Villa, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. She was 87 years old.

She was born July 19, 1933, to George and Nora (Cox) Ryan, in Omaha, Nebraska. She was the sixth of 14 children.

Nora was kind, fun-loving and the queen of hospitality throughout her life. Sister Nora taught in Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Alabama and South Carolina. She was a pastoral associate in Georgia and Florida.

After chaplaincy training, she served at Grady Memorial Hospital and in HIV/AIDS ministry for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Sister Nora was a pastoral associate for three years at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Atlanta. She was a tutor at the International Community School in Decatur, serving refugee children. Sister Nora was a central figure in the creation of Penn Avenue House that welcomed full-time volunteers, sisters, immigrants and many others who sought a faith-filled community to call home. She also worked with Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and StandUp for Kids, an organization that fights for an end to the trafficking of children. Sister Nora worked in Atlanta from 1987 to 2014.

In a 2013 interview with The Georgia Bulletin on her 60th jubilee, Sister Nora talked about her work. It may seem “radical,” she said, but really it is in keeping with the Sinsinawa congregation’s mission “to make a more holy and just church.”

The Sinsinawan Dominicans’ mission is to serve the poor and less privileged.

“I’ve embraced that mission,” said Sister Nora.

Her parents; six sisters, Anne Ryan, Susan Rochford, Nora Moore, Sister Marie Collette Ryan, OP; Sister Sabina Ryan, OP, and Virginia Garner; three brothers, Francis “Frank” Ryan, Thomas Ryan and Father James Ryan, SJ, preceded her in death. She is survived by two sisters, Imelda McMillin and Mary Rehan; two brothers, George Ryan and John Ryan; nieces; nephews; and her Dominican Sisters with whom she shared 67 years of religious life.

Memorials may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or online at

Funeral services were held at the Dominican motherhouse in Sinsinawa Dec. 29.