Women’s Month Interview with Sister Grace and Sister Rita

In Honor of Women’s Month, we asked Sister Grace and Sister Rita their thoughts on current issues:   1. What women have inspired and influenced you? Why? SG: My mother, because of the way she brought us up. She was from Italy, and a hard worker. She lived for her kids. They were her whole life. Both parents, I know we meant the wold to them. SR: My mother, grandmothers, and Sister Grace. My mother was very religious, loved kids, loved being a mother, the she got ill at 37 leaving eight of us. So both my grandmothers pitched in to help. They supported my father and helped raise us. Sister Grace because being at the House of Mercy has opened my eyes to what is really going on. The myths I was taught, the racism, I became very determined to learn.   2. What do you think is the biggest issues facing women today? SG: Equality. They are still considered second, and clericalism in the church doesn’t help that. SR: Poverty. There is very little support for women who are poor and raising families. Sometimes no support at all.   3. Do you think it is harder for a woman to be homeless? SG: I think it’s hard on both, but I think it’s harder on the women because the women often have the children. And in homelessness, it is very hard to find somewhere who will take both women and children, and if they do, they only take them for a short amount of time. And women are often responsible for the education of the child, and...

Stations of the Cross

This past Friday, Sister Grace Miller along with members of the House of Mercy and St. Josephs House of Hospitality, took to the sidewalks to honor the Catholic tradition of the 14 Stations of the Cross for Good Friday. The Stations of the Cross, also referred to as the Vio Dolorosa, is a narration of the final hours of the life of Jesus Christ. These stations are meant to serve as a reminder of Christ’s humble demeanor during his crucifixion process as he set aside any of his privileges as a deity so he could provide a path of salvation during his sacrifice.  There are various accepted versions of these stations and Christ’s last few hours of his life, one being biblical and the others being much more traditional tellings of the Christ’s final hours. Some of these stations are: ‘Jesus is Condemned to Death’ ‘Jesus Meets His Mother Mary’ and ‘Jesus Dies on the Cross’. House of Mercy members started out over by High Falls and Factory Street at Kodak with the first station being ‘Jesus is Condemned to Death’. They stopped at Kodak, since it was a symbol of corporate wealth and power and once was the most powerful corporation in Rochester. By stopping there, it was an outright example of all the promises that global capitalism can’t keep. The purpose of this station is said to be that Jesus is still teaching the importance of being obedient to God’s Word no matter the situation.  The next station stopped underneath the underpass to downtown from High Falls and that one was to symbolize Jesus carrying the cross. Stopping at the underpass...

Holy Thursday Washing of the Feet

After washing the Disciples’ feet, Jesus explained what He did and why. “You should wash one another’s feet,” He told them. “I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:1-17)   Thank you to our amazing photography volunteer Julie who helps us share moments like this with all of our supporters! Photo Credit: Julie...

Our Easter Wish List

  Every day at the House of Mercy is a busy day but Holidays are even busier. With Easter less than two weeks away everyone is working around the clock to prepare. Our celebration starts on Holy Thursday with a spiritual washing of the feet, followed by the stations of the cross around Rochester on Good Friday, Saturday we will be holding an Easter vigil. On Easter Sunday we will be cooking a hearty meal for over 300 guests. On top of that we hand out boxes of food to members of our community and make 125 Easter baskets for children who would normally go without. Easter is a time meant to spend with family and loved ones. For many of the people we serve we are their only family due to many years of burnt bridges and lost connections that go hand in hand with extreme poverty. We do our best to make this a joyous occasion for all. If you are interested in helping below are the items we need for Easter. Our Easter Wish List – 125 Easter baskets and candy/ small toys to fill them  – Easter Lilies for the vigil (needed by 3/26) – 40 chickens (needed by 3/25) – 40 pork loins (needed by 3/25) – 40 hams (needed by 3/25) Easter donations can be brought to the House of Mercy at 725 Hudson Ave. There is always someone at the House ready to take donations. Online donations can be made from our Amazon Wish List. We never close our doors on people in need. It is our mission to provide the love and assistance...

The House of Mercy Board Serves a Meal at Reach

The House of Mercy’s Board of Directors served dinner to the homeless at REACH on Saturday January 16th. The board along with their spouses cooked a large meal of chicken, salad, veggies, stew, pasta, and desserts. Everyone enjoyed spending time with the people we work so hard to serve. REACH is a new community formed group that came together to help the House of Mercy serve the chronically homeless. Last winter the House of Mercy opened up and ran Sanctuary Village to help house Rochester’s hardest to place homeless. This year while working hard towards our goal of a new & larger building for the House of Mercy REACH came forward to help. Operating out of an old church rectory on Prince street, REACH set up a temporary shelter for men and women. If you’re interested in cooking and serving a meal at REACH check their website here for more information on available nights. There is a small kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave but no oven. We found that crock pots work great to keep meals hot for...

Closing of Civic Center Garage: How It All Started

Sanctuary Village was a temporary homeless shelter, designed to provide shelter and support to chronically homeless men and women during the winter of 2014-2015.  Over the course of nearly 3 months during one of the coldest winters in recent memory, Sanctuary Village sheltered more than 200 people.  Sanctuary Village was an unprecedented collaboration between the House of Mercy, Buckingham Properties, and the City of Rochester.  Although it opened in January 2015, the roots of the program took hold several months before.   For many years, several men and women lived in the Civic Center Garage in downtown Rochester.   As the only heated garage in the City and close to several provider agencies and resources, the garage was an attractive location for the chronically homeless.  Many found privacy in the nooks and crannies of the garage and outreach workers and religious groups visited the garage to provide assistance and sustenance to those staying there. However, patrons who parked in the garage on a regular basis began to complain about sanitary and safety concerns and the LDC board that runs the garage decided to close it as a place to sleep.  A cadre of homeless advocates, led by Sister Grace Miller and the House of Mercy, protested the closing of the garage until a safe and proper alternative was established.  Several groups involved formed an education and advocacy group which became the Monroe County Coalition of Concerned Citizens.  The group met regularly to discuss strategy, advocate for the homeless, and devise a plan to address the issue.  All parties involved agreed on one thing: a parking garage is not suitable housing...

The House of Mercy Welcomes You

The House of Mercy is honored to support the poor, homeless and in need in Rochester, NY. We welcome all through our doors — real and virtual — who require loving support, or who wish to help their brothers and sisters in the community. Thank you for being a part of the work that we...