Tennessee diocese seeks to exhume priest in sainthood effort

News
Rev. Patrick Ryan

EAST RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) – A Catholic diocese is trying to exhume the body of a priest who died amid a yellow fever epidemic in 1878, as part of a bid to secure his sainthood.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville petitioned earlier this month for a judge’s order to enable Rev. Patrick Ryan’s exhumation. The diocese needs to unearth Ryan’s body to prove he existed and isn’t a “pious legend.”

It’s unclear whether a judge has the ability to issue the order, as Tennessee’s permit process requires having a living descendant. However, diocese attorney Terrance Jones says that code allows anyone to petition a court.

Ryan, who died at 33, emigrated from Ireland and had no known children.

Assistant Hamilton County Attorney Nell Southerland says the health department likely won’t oppose the effort.
 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



Don't Miss

Trending Stories