Sister Madeline, Educator, Administrator

August 07, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Sister Madeline Roddenbery, a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy and a retired educator, died July 26 of complications from dementia at The Villa, her order's retirement home in Woodbrook, Baltimore County. She was 92.

Martha Roddenbery was born in St. Augustine, Fla. She was raised in St. Augustine and Macon, Ga., where she graduated in 1935 from Mount de Sales Academy.

When her mother, an entertainer who played piano on the vessels of the Merchants & Miners Transportation Co. between Savannah, Ga., and New York, was away for extended periods, she boarded at Mount de Sales.

In 1939, she entered the Sisters of Mercy and professed her vows four years later. She earned a bachelor's degree from the old Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington and a master's in education from Boston College.

Sister Madeline began her teaching career at St. Cecilia parochial school in Walbrook, and taught first grade from 1954 to 1957 at Immaculate Heart of Mary parochial school in Baynesville.

Other teaching assignments included parochial schools in Savannah; Columbus, Ga.; Warrington, Fla.; and Macon.

From 1968 to 1976, she was superintendent of parochial schools for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, and later was a patient advocate at St. Joseph's Hospital, also in Atlanta.

Sister Madeline had been an administrator of one of her order's retirement convents in Savannah before retiring to The Villa in 1996, where she enjoyed writing and had published a book of her poetry.

"Madeline had learned from her flamboyant mother how to entertain," said Roberta Alston, a niece. "She could be called on at the spur of the moment to provide a poem, story or song for some occasion. She was always able to add humor and human interest to any event."

A Mass of Christian burial for Sister Madeline was offered July 29.

Also surviving are a brother, Dr. S. A. Roddenbery of Hamilton, Ga.; and several other nieces and nephews.

- Frederick N. Rasmussen

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