“A journey begun becomes a forever pilgrimage. Promises made, returned as His gift of unending hope.”
These poetic words from the pen of Sister Elizabeth V. Roach were written many years ago, in 1974, part of a piece she entitled “A Desert Meditation.”
They are just a small slice of the many and varied ways Sister Elizabeth has used her gift for written expression to create not only her own stories but that of other Sisters from her congregation since joining Maryknoll in the autumn of 1946.
Back then, Sister’s world revolved around medicine. Shortly after joining the congregation, she studied at Duquense University in Pittsburgh, then Good Counsel College, in White Plains, NY, and completed an internship at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica, NY. She was certified as a medical technologist that year, 1953, by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists,
Her training was put to good use in Riberalta, Bolivia, where she served in a hospital administered by Maryknoll from 1955-1960. In 1960, Sister Elizabeth received an assignment to Montero, Santa Cruz, Bolivia where a new school needed teachers. She came to love teaching First Graders. Later she was transferred to Peru where she first served in Lima and Arequipa. In the latter, she earned her secondary education teaching credentials at Santa Maria University.. She specialized in Biology and Chemistry and received a government appointment to teach agricultural technicians in the high Andes, at 12,500 feet above sea level. She taught Religion and Zoology in Azangaro, Puno, Peru. She also kept her hand in medical technology volunteering at the local medical clinic. In 1973, she was assigned to Ica, Peru, where she served street children. There, the bishop authorized her to baptize and conduct Sunday Services in the absence of a priest. She continued teaching Religion and Art in public schools.
It was in March 1977 that Sister Elizabeth’s talent for writing would find a home, as she was appointed supervisor and staff writer for Maryknoll Sisters Communications Office, penning many stories about the Sisters and their work around the world, both for Maryknoll Magazine, as well as for many other publications throughout the United States.
In 1983, Sister Elizabeth was assigned to Hawaii, where she served in the first shelter for “street people” and wrote for the Hawaii Catholic Herald.
Today, Sister Elizabeth, focuses mainly on writing children’s books. Her latest work is Elephant Joan and the Cell Phone, a children’s novel about a elephant who accidentally takes a “selfie” with a “little black box.” The book was illustrated by Maryknoll Sister Peggy Dawson. You can find more of Sister Elizabeth’s children’s stories at her My Story Hour blog.
Nowadays, Sister Elizabeth serves as a guest author on a Skype website where she shares her stories and writing skills with children and teachers in the United States and many lands across the world from the UK to Pakistan.