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Spring Luncheon

Friday, April 20, 2018

About Sister Rosemary Connelly

Director of Misericordia

Sister Rosemary Connelly

Sister Rosemary Connelly is widely recognized as someone who has and is changing the standard of care for the developmentally disabled in Chicago. Sr. Rosemary has been at the head of Misericordia, a home for mentally and physically disabled children and adults, for 44 years, which in 1976 moved from its beginnings on the South Side of Chicago to its current home in Rogers Park, Chicago. 


Sr. Rosemary joined the order at the age of 18 and found her place in teaching and social work before being called to lead Misericordia in 1969. “Mis”, as it is affectionately referred to now, was originally a home for unwed mothers. By the time Sr. Rosemary took over, it was a residence for 132 children under the age of 6, 69 of whom had Down syndrome. 


One challenge that Sr. Rosemary faced, and continues to face, is the task of being a female in an executive position. If this task is not challenging enough, being a nun certainly did not make it any easier. As much as Misericordia is a philanthropic organization, it is a business. There are large decisions that have to be made every day concerning money, resources, salaries, etc. And, as Executive Director, Sr. Rosemary makes these decisions. In this day and age, it is much more common to see a woman in a position of power within any organization; however, when Sr. Rosemary was first starting her work with Misericordia, this was not the case. It took years of hard work for people to recognize the powerhouse that Sr. Rosemary was. She was relentless in doing God's work, and this has become apparent to all.


Sr. Rosemary Connelly exemplifies countless virtues, the most impressive being generosity. Generosity, in the sense of an unlimited loving kindness towards all others, is the ultimate perfection of the human spirit. It both glorifies and reflects the nature of God. Such love is self-sacrificial. Sr. Rosemary’s selflessness and ability to show the same respect to everyone is beautiful. She is faithful to all promises, no matter the scale. She does not despair, and confronts fear and uncertainty without intimidation.

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