Martha Roughan

Martha Mary Roughan

1944 - 2024

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Albany - Religious of the Sacred Heart Martha Roughan died on March 1, 2024, in Albany, New York. She was 79 years old and a religious for 57 years. Martha was born on April 11, 1944, in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Leslie (Mills) and John B. Roughan, former director of advertising at the Lowell Sun. Martha graduated from Newton College of the Sacred Heart in 1966 with a B.A. in French. She would later earn a MEd in Religious Education from Boston College and a MSA in Administration from the University of Notre Dame. Martha entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in September 1966 at Kenwood in Albany and pronounced her first vows there in 1969. She made her final profession on September 8, 1976, in Joigny, France.

Following first vows, Sister Roughan taught French and Religion and served as dean of students of the middle school at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (1969-1975). She then went to Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart where she was assistant headmistress (1975-1976). Sister Roughan spent the next two years at Newton Country Day School where she was director of studies and dean of students. She returned to Stone Ridge in 1978 as head of the middle school for five years. In 1983, Sister Roughan was named dean of students at Duchesne Academy in Houston for one year. She then went on to serve as headmistress at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (1984-1987). After a sabbatical year, Sister Roughan returned to Duchesne Academy in Houston as dean of students until 1996. She was a director of Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C., for the next two years.

From 2001-2003, Sister Roughan served in campus ministry at Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich. She loved the work and her students enabling them to grow in their lived values. She served as principal of Josephinum Academy for five years beginning in 2003. In 2008, Sister Roughan became the first formation to mission director at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, California. She was a much-loved member of the school community and stepped in as a two-year lower middle school principal when the school was in need. The school holds memories of her as a “strong, wise and thoughtful leader, graced with humor and patience, and a wonderful colleague and mentor.”

In addition to her ministerial assignments, Sister Roughan served as a trustee for several Sacred Heart schools as well as a member of the Society’s provincial team (1996-1999). Mid-career she worked with the homeless in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. She also traveled to Uganda to bring books and supplies to Sacred Heart schools.

Sister Roughan dedicated her life to the goal of educating young women and later, young men, in the Sacred Heart tradition.  One of her early mentors wrote: “Martha never met a child she didn’t like.” Children, in return, responded to her kindness and interest in them.  They came to know St. Madeleine Sophie through her  because she lived Sophie’s words: “For the sake of one child I would have founded the Society. Strong kindness was her trademark. Another of her RSCJ sisters wrote, The words that come to mind when I think of Martha and her gifts are loyalty, generosity and a spirit of gratitude,

“There is another side of Martha that we’ve seen that we all enjoy! “ wrote another. . . “ iit is a combination of a spirit of adventure, ingenuity, creativity and fun.” Besides exemplifying those qualities in her ministry, she loved the beach and family gatherings and especially the outings with her ever-faithful group of friends from Newton College.

Sister Roughan retired to the Oakwood Retirement Community in 2018. When she required further care, she moved to the community at Teresian House in Albany. On March 1, 2024, she made her final journey to the God she had loved and served so faithfully both in her active ministry and in her final long months of silent suffering.

Sister Roughan is survived by her sister, Jacqueline (Gerald) Gray of Dunstable, MA, their daughter Kate (Vincent) Joyce and son Michael (Andrea) Gray and many grandnieces and nephews, cousins and devoted friends.

Her funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Madeleine Sophie Church in Schenectady, NY at 11 AM on Friday, March 15 followed by her burial  in the Kenwood Cemetery in Albany.

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Memorial Mass

11:00 am
Friday, March 15, 2024
St. Madeleine Sophie
3500 Carmen Rd.
Guilderland, New York, United States


12:30 pm
Friday, March 15, 2024
Kenwood Cemetery
Southern Blvd.
Albany, New York, United States
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Martha Roughan

In Loving Memory

Martha Roughan

1944 - 2024

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