Written on: April 22, 2021
Sister Denise Roche is a Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart with deep roots in the city of Buffalo. She was born and raised in the City of Light and studied with the Grey Nuns at Holy Angels Academy and D’Youville College, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Work. She went on to receive a Master’s degree in Sociology from Boston University and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.
Sister Denise became a well-respected sociology professor at D’Youville and in 1979 rose to become the youngest president in the college’s history. Under her leadership, enrollment, endowment, the number of academic programs and the physical size of the college expanded. She retired from that position in 2016 as one of the longest-serving college presidents in the United States.
Sister Denise’s additional accomplishments, honors and volunteer services are too many to list. One that is especially meaningful is when she received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal in 2016, the highest medal awarded by the pope to non-ordained members of the Church.
In 2018, Sister Denise was elected President of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart.
Grey Nun life has blessed me in many ways and given me grace to move more deeply into the heart of God. When I entered, I knew little about Marguerite d’Youville. Now, I cannot imagine life without her as a companion who has shared with us her love for the poor, her complete confidence in God despite the many difficulties and obstacles she faced and the courage she had to be steadfast in her mission of caring for all God’s children.
Praying and living with other Grey Nuns has allowed me to absorb the spirit of remarkable, resilient, resourceful women who live their commitment to God in good times and challenging ones.
The people with whom I have served and those who it has been my privilege to care for have been messengers of God, reminding me daily that God lives in us and among us.
It has been my joy and privilege to experience each of the 60 years I have lived as a Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart
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