Sister Ellen Roach, baptized Agnes Rita, was born in Chicago, Illinois. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1949 and was received into the novitiate in 1949. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Fontbonne College in 1962 and master’s degree in English from St. Louis University in 1968.
Sister Ellen was a teacher for her first 22 years of ministry. She taught at Our Lady of Lourdes Grade School in University City, Missouri (1951-1954); St. Paul High School in Negaunee, Michigan (1954-1958); St. Mary Magdalen Grade School in St. Louis (1958-1962); Reicher Catholic High School in Waco, Texas (1962-1965); Little Flower High School in Chicago (1965-1970); and St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florissant, Missouri (1970-1973).
In 1973, Sister Ellen became the campus minister at the University of Missouri, Rolla. Two years later, she went on to serve as the youth ministry coordinator for the Diocese of Montgomery in Alabama for five years. Staying down south, Sister Ellen served as the pastoral assistant at St. John Evangelist Parish in Valdosta, Georgia, from 1980 to 1989.
The following year, Sister Ellen continued to grow in her education as a student at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
Beginning in 1990, Sister Ellen served the next 25 years in Colorado. She was the adult education coordinator at St. Mary Parish in Littleton (1990 to 2001) and an ESL tutor at Front Range Community College in Westminster (2002-2012). She retired in 2012.
Since 2015, she has resided at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis continuing her ministry of prayer and presence.