Meet Sister Roseanne Murphy

As a daughter of a hotel manager, Roseanne’s early years included living in a series of hotel suites, and though she may have longed for a house with a lawn, her childhood was a busy and happy one with dancing, theatre, swimming and reading.

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Sr. Roseanne at a book signing.

By eighth grade Roseanne was attending Notre Dame High School, Belmont. Her four years there provided a solid academic foundation for future studies that included St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, Stanford University and Notre Dame University, Indiana. But it was a decision made in her senior year of nursing school that changed the course of her life. As graduation neared and weddings and engagements of other students were announced, Roseanne considered her own future and sought help from St. Joseph. Two novenas later, she had her answer and her call!

She entered the convent, and went on to teach biology, general science, religion and English at her alma mater, NDHS, Belmont. Later she found her “true teaching home” at the College of Notre Dame (now Notre Dame de Namur University) where she remains to this day.

Sr. Roseanne enjoyed teaching college students and serving as chair for the Behavioral Science Department for 37 years!  She combined her classroom teaching with experiences in the community that included field trips to San Quentin and Agnews State Mental Hospital. Twice she won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and she was the first woman to teach at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park.

She has also had a fair share of adventures outside the classroom: “I was asked to design, find faculty and accompany 32 students to Rome for the spring semester of 1970.  I have often said that it was either the bravest thing I have ever done or the dumbest…but it was probably one of the richest experiences the students ever had.”

In 1999, given the opportunity to reconnect with alumni, Sr. Roseanne accepted the request to become the Director of Alumni Relations at the University. More recently she became the Executive Director of Planned Giving and she takes great pleasure in encouraging support for the school.

In 2012 a gala was given in honor of Sr. Roseanne’s 50 years at NDNU and an endowed scholarship set up in her name.

Even if you don’t know Sister from her many years at NDNU, you may recognize her name as the author of “Julie Billiart, Woman of Courage” and “Martyr of the Amazon: The Life of Sister Dorothy Stang.” Sr. Roseanne found visiting Brazil and standing on the spot where Dorothy was murdered a profoundly moving experience.

Now as she celebrates her 60 years as a Sister of Notre Dame Sr. Roseanne shares, “People always think you give up a lot becoming a Sister; they forgot how much you are given.  I am very grateful for it all and feel so blessed.”

6 thoughts on “Meet Sister Roseanne Murphy

  1. I was so honored to be at CND during the time that Sr. Roseanne was in residence! I remember her well, her kindness,, her gentle and encouraging manner, and I congratulate her 60 years of dedication to service as a Sister of Notre Dame! Lovingly, and Gratefully!

  2. Dear Sr. Roseanne: I congratulate you on your 60 years! It has been a joy to attend retreats with you, and my association with you over the years has helped keep the wonderful memories of my years at NDHS alive.

    Thank you for all you do. Roseanne, you are truly an inspiration. Wish I could celebrate with you. Will keep you in my prayers. Love, Marilyn

  3. Congratulations, Sister
    Today is our 55th Wedding Anniversary and we are also very thankful for all of the blessings which we have received. I thank my parents every day for allowing me to go to Notre Dame High School and ND College. God is good!
    Also, Happy Birthday!!!!!

    Love, Linda

  4. Happy 60th Jubilee, Roseanne!!! What a great day! Wish I could be there in Belmont to celebrate with you! Hope you celebrate the coming year in style….not forgetting the fun of watercolor!
    Much love,
    Carolyn

  5. Thank you for your many years of hard work and enduring witness for our Lord. I have fond memories of you when you were the department head of Behavioral Science. You are and continue to be for me an inspiration. In Christ’s love, deirdre

  6. Hello Sister Roseanne — There is no way in the world you would remember me, but you left quite an impression on my life when I was a Sociology student of yours at St. Patrick’s Seminary, circa 1968-1969. Your influence helped shape me into a lifelong Civil Rights activist, newspaper columnist, and very happy and successful parent of two amazing sons. Of all the dark and somber professors and priests we had to experience for eight years in the seminary, you came through as a bright, humorous, very humane light. I thank you for that and wish you all the best. God bless you always …… Peter Anderson

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