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Sister Ruth Roddy

As originally published on Tuesday, June 15, 2011.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered for Sister Ruth Roddy, Daughter of Charity, at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday June 11, 2011, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Sister died Wednesday June 8, 2011, at Villa Saint Michael in Emmitsburg, where she resided for 9 years. She was 100 years of age and 81 years of vocation.

Sister Ruth was born Ruth Elizabeth in Emmitsburg, Maryland to Laura Gertrude Orndorff and John M. Roddy. She was the sixth of nine children. They were members and benefactors of St. Anthony’s Parish in Emmitsburg. Her father was a carpenter and builder and also owner of the Roddy General Store in Emmitsburg, located just down the road from St. Anthony’s Church. Sister Ruth was proud of her hometown heritage and the fact that both a covered bridge and road were named after her family. Her father built many of the homes near St. Anthony’s Church. Sister Ruth attended schools in Emmitsburg taught by the Daughters of Charity. First she attended St. Euphemia’s school and then St. Anthony’s school for 7th and 8th grade. She graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in 1929. Sister Ruth’s aunt, Sister Bernard Orndorff, was a Daughter of Charity and Provincial Treasurer for over 30 years. Ruth Elizabeth knew she had a vocation too and decided to follow in her aunt’s footsteps.

Sister Ruth entered the Daughters of Charity in 1929 and completed the Seminary (novitiate) in 1930 at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Emmitsburg, Maryland. Her first mission was teaching 5th and 6th grades at St. Charles School in Pikesville, Maryland from 1930 to 1939. Sister then taught at Sacred Heart in Glyndon, MD from 1935 to 1938, Our Lady of Victory in Portsmouth from 1938 to 1943, St. Joseph Home for Girls in Philadelphia, from 1943 to 1944, back to Baltimore to St. Martin School from 1944 to 1951, and St. Paul High School in Portsmouth, Virginia from 1951 to 1959.

Sister Ruth graduated from Villanova University in Pennsylvania in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a minor in social studies. In 1957 Sister graduated from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a master’s degree in library science and a minor in religion. She was a member of many library associations and Catholic librarian associations.

As a librarian Sister served at Norfolk Catholic High School in Virginia from 1959 to 1969 and then returned home to Emmitsburg to St. Joseph College from 1969 to 1971. Then Sister served at Immaculate Conception Academy from 1971 to 1984, Seton High School in Baltimore from 1984 to 1988 and then St. Joseph School in Martinsburg, WV from 1988 to 1993. She wrote that she loved returning to the grammar school students as their librarian.

In August 1993 Sister took on a new mission in Pastoral Care at Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland, MD. In 2002, at the age of 91, Sister retired to Emmitsburg to Villa St. Michael where she volunteered at the Provincial House library and enjoyed her new ministry of prayer. On June 26, 2010, Sister’s 100th birthday was celebrated by the Town of Emmitsburg as part of their Community Day festivities.

Sister Ruth was the last living sibling in her family. She is survived by many nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews, including her nephew, the Reverend Patrick Lynch, S.J. of Canisius College, Buffalo, N.Y. who concelebrated her funeral mass.

Sister Ruth is remembered for her faithfulness and her positive and cheerful spirit. She reminded many of the first Daughters of Charity in France who were country girls who accepted their vocation and set out to live simply and faithfully to help those who are poor. Sister Ruth also gifted her companions with some parting remarks. She wrote: "The true beauty of a woman is naturally revealed as she grows older and becomes an elder. With kindness, dignity and modesty our old ones light the paths of our lives and the lives of our children. The darkness of loneliness falls away as they share their hearts, turning away no one in need. Through their example we can glimpse our own futures with confidence and peace."

If you knew Sr. Roddy, and would like to see her remembered
 in the next History of Emmitsburg, Please send us any stories or
 anecdotes about her to us at: history@emmitsburg.net