Mercy Sister Rosemary Connelly, Executive Director of Misericordia Home/Heart of Mercy Village, will address the interplay of human dignity, education, and quality of life when she speaks on “Misericordia: The Right to a Life Worth Living” on Wed., Sept. 19 at SXU. Her presentation at 6:30 p.m. in the Butler Reception Room is free and open to the public.
Themes in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” this year’s common reading for incoming students, sparked the invitation to Sister Rosemary. Forty years’ experience with individuals with developmental disabilities has deepened and sharpened Sister Rosemary’s convictions about the human dignity and potential of each person – convictions that resonate with the story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells which became so central to medical research.
Those same convictions about personal worth are in daily evidence at Misericordia, a residential facility for persons with developmental disabilities on Chicago’s far north side. Appointed administrator in 1969, Sister Rosemary brought her educational background to Misericordia and gradually led a transition from a primarily medical care model to an innovative developmental model. She has also overseen the institution’s growth from a single facility for about 100 children to several facilities on a central campus and in neighborhood locations serving over 600 children and adults.
Widely recognized as a passionate and compassionate advocate for those whom others might dismiss, Sister Rosemary has garnered many honors, among them the Shield of Saint Xavier in 1999 and an honorary doctor of humanities degree from SXU in 2006.
Her presentation on Sept. 19 will open this year’s Catholic Colloquium Lecture Series, sponsored by the Office for University Mission and Heritage. A pre-lecture pizza party will give selected SXU students and Misericordia residents an opportunity to talk informally with one another and with Sister Rosemary.