Dr. Ruth Queen Smith, longtime pastoral associate at St. John XXIII University Parish and Catholic Center on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus, passed away May 18 after an extended illness.
A funeral Mass was celebrated for Dr. Smith on May 24 at St. Henry Church in Nashville, where she retired in May 2016 after a 25-year tenure at St. John XXIII.
Father Eric Andrews, CSP, president of the Paulist Fathers order of priests who worked for years with Dr. Smith at St. John XXIII, was the celebrant and homilist at the Mass.
Father Charlie Donahue, CSP, who also worked for several years with Dr. Smith at St. John XXIII, remembered her as a person who was formed and informed by Scripture.
“She was able to read in Scripture her suffering, and she was able to help others do the same,” Father Donahue said, referring to her strong faith and redemptive suffering.
Dr. Smith was a renowned Bible study leader, who was known around the country for her insight into Scripture and her unique ability to communicate that knowledge.
At a retirement reception last year, former St. John XXIII associate pastor Father Rich Andre, CSP, described her as “remarkable; poised articulate, filled with insight.”
He said she was in demand as a speaker around the country.
Dr. Smith first moved to Knoxville in 1991, when she enrolled in the University of Tennessee to pursue an advanced degree. At the time, she asked Father Stan MacNevin, CSP, then-pastor of St. John XXIII Parish, how she could best use her gifts. He encouraged her to lead a Bible study, and from there began her mission to share the Scripture near and far.
Dr. Smith is survived by her sister, Nancy Smith of Nashville, niece Angela Smith, sister-in-law Karen Smith, and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Interment was at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens in Nashville.