Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
For 62 years – from 1929-1991 – Elliston Place was more than a street, it was home to a special spirit of education and service that strengthened the entire Nashville community. Father Ryan’s landmark brick structure, along with the historic Faculty House and the Bishop Alphonse Smith Annex, was home to thousands of Father Ryan students and a touchstone for Nashville itself. It was here that history was made in service to our nation, in service to social justice and in service to our faith.
With its connection to Father Ryan families and tradition, the Elliston House symbolizes the Father Ryan legacy, our roots and the foundation for today’s students and teachers.
Andrew Reducha joined the Father Ryan community in 2018. Prior to joining the Irish, he lived for several years in the Central Pacific Republic of the Marshall Islands teaching English as a foreign language and leading his school to its first-ever WASC accreditation.
A Florida native, Mr. Reducha earned his A.B. in Hispanic Studies from Dartmouth College. He holds a Master of Education Policy degree with a certificate in Latin American studies from Vanderbilt. On campus, Mr. Reducha teaches Spanish I and Spanish IV and coordinates Father Ryan’s study abroad programs. He has travelled to thirty-seven countries and lived in both Spain and France, giving him a wealth of international travel experience.
Mr. Reducha makes weekly visits to Tennessee’s death row at Riverbend and has worked with recent immigrants in both Nashville and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. He is a fan of detective series and a good cup of tea.
Patron Saint of Families, Journalists, Prisoners, and Victims of Drug Abuse
Rajmund Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894. He was the second son of a German father and Polish mother. At the age of twelve, he had a vision of the Virgin Mary. She appeared to him bearing two crowns. From this young age, he knew that he was called to live a pure life and was destined to become a martyr.
The following year, Rajmund joined the Conventual Franciscans. In 1910, he began his novitiate and assumed the religious name Maximilian. Upon taking his final vows in 1914, he adopted the additional name, Maria, in honor of the Mother of God.
At age 24, Maximilian was ordained a priest and worked in various roles. He taught at the Kraków Seminary and later undertook a series of missions throughout East Asia, visiting China, Japan, and India. He returned to Poland in 1933, where he started a local radio station. By 1939, Germany had invaded Poland. Because of his German ancestry, he was offered the opportunity to sign the Deutsche Volksliste in order to gain the rights of a German citizen; he refused.
Maximilian’s monastery worked to hide more than 2,000 Jews before being overrun by the German authorities. Maximilian was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. In July 1941, a prisoner attempted to escape from the concentration camp. As punishment, the deputy camp commander ordered that ten prisoners be starved to death to deter further escapes. Franciszek Gajowniczek was one of the ten men selected. He protested, “My wife! My children!” Maximilian volunteered to take his place. After two weeks of starvation, during which Maximilian showed great joy in ministering and offering sacraments to the other prisoners, the guards hastened his death with a lethal injection. Maximilian calmly accepted. He died on August 14, the eve of the Assumption of Mary. He was cremated the following day. Franciszek survived the War, dying in 1995 at the age of 93, having been reunited with his wife and invited to the Vatican for the canonization of the man who saved his life.
Maximilian Kolbe was canonized in 1982 by John Paul II. Such was his example that he is also venerated in the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church.