Biographies

Sister St. Mary Roach, MM

Born: September 21, 1914
Entered: June 19, 1932
Died: July 14, 1968

Father Cappel had just entered the Sanctuary for the eleven thirty Mass, Sunday, July 14, when we received word of the sudden and unexpected death of Sister St. Mary Roach, at St. Bernard’s Hospital, Chicago. This news came as a shock to all of us, but more keenly to Sister Agnes Marie who, although she knew that Sister St. Mary had not been feeling well, had no indication of the seriousness of the illness.

Sister St. Mary was hospitalized at St. Bernard’s Hospital, on Saturday, July 13th, for treatment of an illness. She was bright and cheery Sunday morning; received Holy Communion and was able to eat a good breakfast. An hour or two later she slipped away quietly, without warning, while receiving nursing care. Her “Viaticum” a few hours earlier brought her to an early, unanticipated meeting with Christ, whom she loved so dearly and served so faithfully in life.

Sister St. Mary (Sarah Rita Roach) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 21, 1914. After graduation from St. Mary’s High School in Cambridge, she entered Maryknoll on June 19, 1932. The first two years after Profession were spent at Bethany, where a desire for the contemplative life grew and deepened. Her “dream” came true when she was assigned to the Cloister in October, 1937. A serious chronic condition brought the disappointment of having to leave the Cloister for a time, but she was reassigned in 1941. Then there were two years of suffering due to the illness which made it necessary for Sister to return again to the Motherhouse — after twenty years dedicated to God in a special way through prayer and sacrifice. God asked hard things of Sister St. Mary, but she always responded with a gracious smile.

After three years at Bethany, where she was a joy to the house and especially to the sick, Sister was assigned to Rosary Convent, Chicago. Here, she began to see many opportunities for apostolic contact with her neighbors —— the old folks at the Nursing Home; the Jewish friends at the Community Center, and the patients at a nearby hospital. These people will remember Sister St. Mary for the peace and joy and hope that she brought to their lives. After Sister’s transfer to St. Therese’s Convent (Chicago Chinatown) she tried to continue the apostolate for those who needed her.

Sister’s body will be brought to the Motherhouse for burial.