My name is Sister. Goretti Roche, I was born in Kinsale, Co. Cork, I have three brothers and three sisters, I am the third youngest. I entered with the Dominican sisters, at Rosary Priory, Bushey Heath, in January 1952, and received the Dominican habit in July 1952. I made my first profession in October 1953, and final profession in October 1956.
From a very young age I had wanted to become a sister. I was taught by the Mercy sisters and my two older sisters entered with them. Now let me take a step back, when I was about eleven, my grandmother gave me a medal of St. Dominic and said to me, “Pray to this saint, he may do something for you!” I always felt he had a hand in sending Sister Veronica across my path. I was in boarding school at the time and she visited the school and spoke about vocations to the Dominican Order. This was the first time I had seen a Dominican sister. I was very impressed by her talk, asked lots of questions about the life; to be honest I also fell in love with the Dominican habit!
Sometime later, I spoke about it to my mother who was not too impressed that the Dominican Mother House was in England. When she spoke to my dad about it, he was very unhappy about me going so far away, with the possibility of going to South Africa. Initially, I think my mother thought it was only a flash in the pan until I approached the subject again. We then decided that both of us would make a novena to Our Lady and then we would talk again. By this time I was more convinced than ever that God was calling me and there was no turning back as far as I was concerned. My parents finally consented because they felt it was an answer to prayer and also because they had spoken to my teachers and they reassured them that I would be all right.
The day of my final profession in October, 1956, was a profound turning point in my life. My whole being was transformed and I experienced for the first time in my religious life, a freedom of spirit, a freedom to be myself which has never left me. When I pronounced the words of my vows, “until my death”, it was as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and that I was walking on air. My aunt who was present at the ceremony, said, “You look radiant and so very, very happy.” That is exactly how I felt. The priest, Fr. Ferdinand Valentine O.P. who conducted the ceremony, told us in no uncertain terms that we were as free as the birds of the air that day. He stressed this point so much, that my dad who was present, (I had lost my mother earlier that same year.) thought and hoped that I would return home with him! In truth, I felt surer than ever that God had called me. I also felt my mother’s presence with me very much that day.
In 1980, I was offered a sabbatical year in Rome. It was a wonderful period of my life the highlight of which was a visit to the Holy Land. We spent Holy Week in Jerusalem. To commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a volunteer was needed to ride the donkey, as no one came forward I took the opportunity. I was game for anything in those days; in any case, I was accustomed to donkeys from the days of my childhood. During this year, I visited many historical places, attended lectures in the Angelicum and made many friends among the students who were studying there. I shall always be grateful to the Congregation for this opportunity.
I have enjoyed teaching in our schools in Hertfordshire, Launceston Cornwall and in Storrington Sussex, for thirty five years . When I retired from teaching; I was offered the opportunity to study for a diploma in pastoral ministry . This was to prepare me for full time parish work. I thoroughly enjoyed the year; the course was interesting and very varied. It was certainly a big change from the classroom. Since then, my main ministry has been parish work.
At present, I am involved in parish ministry in Hemel Hempstead. I visit the housebound and bring them Communion. During Advent and Lent, I lead the, “At your Word Lord” group, a very rewarding exercise. I am quite flexible in my approach, as I think that is a necessary quality to possess in working in a parish and dealing with people with their varied requests from one day to the next. someone who is Recently I attended a bereavement course and now visit many people who have been bereaved.
You may think when reading this that what I do is all giving but I assure you that this is not the case. I, too, receive an abundance of love and concern.
By nature I am of a happy disposition which is a God given gift. I find a lot of joy just being myself, being a Dominican Sister and living in a community of Sisters which I did not choose. I enjoy each moment of life for what it really is a wonderful gift to be cherished. I always try to be honest in facing reality. My family is very special to me and I enjoy their company when I visit them.