Sister Rosemary Connelly moving to new role at Misericordia Home

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Sister Rosemary Connelly, executive director of Misericordia, shares a light-hearted moment with a resident in the Arts and Crafts Studio in this file photo. Misericordia Home is celebrating Sister Rosemary’s 50 years of leadership. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

After 52 years of at the helm of Misericordia Home, Mercy Sister Rosemary Connelly, 90, is taking on a new role. Father Jack Clair, who has ministered at the home for over 20 years, has been named the new president and executive director.

The transition reflects a change in Misericordia’s structure. Sister Rosemary will chair the new Misericordia Foundation, which will handle all fundraising efforts for the home.

The two-entity model mirrors that of other health care institutions in the country, said Clair.

“The other thing was that, with Sister’s age, we wanted to be able to focus her in the best way possible,” he said. “Obviously, when people think of Misericordia, people think of Sister Rosemary. This will be a way for her to stay involved.” 

In a statement, Cardinal Cupich said, “Sister Rosemary has also been a transformative executive leader, exhibiting extraordinary team-building and fundraising skills. As she steps down from active oversight of Misericordia Home, she does so at a time when the home is stronger than ever. And Sister Rosemary has prepared a worthy successor in Father Jack Clair, for which I am grateful.”

Misericordia is home to 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities, most living on a 31-acre campus on Chicago’s North Side. There is a continuum of care, with everything from homes in nearby neighborhoods to skilled nursing for residents with complex medical conditions to senior housing for an aging population. Another 200 people with disabilities participate in Misericordia’s outreach programs.

The organization employs 1,200 people and is funded by a combination of government payments and private donations.

In addition to homes, there are recreational facilities and programs; space for speech, physical and occupational therapy; and businesses that employ residents.

Sister Rosemary has been a leader in care for people with developmental disabilities both locally and nationally and is loved and well respected by many. Clair’s goal is to continue her work and that of the whole institution.

“I don’t think I’m there to fill her shoes, as it were. I’m there to carry on the mission of Misericordia, following in her footsteps but not trying to fill her shoes,” said Clair.

He is also grateful he will still be able to go to Sister Rosemary for advice and with any questions.

Plans are in the works to continue to expand Misericordia. The agency purchased property adjacent to its campus at 6300 N. Ridge Ave. to expand its residential homes and is in the process of purchasing St. Henry Church, which is located just west of campus.

“We continue to grow homes off site of campus,” said Clair, whose sister is a resident at Misericordia. “We have 14 homes that are not on-site and we have businesses now that are not on-site. I think that is obviously much of the future.”



  • misericordia

Related Articles