Candidate presented by: Mr. John P. Madden, Marquette University Trustee Emeritus and Retired Chairman, Madden Communications, Inc.
Sister Rosemary Connelly is the Executive Director of Misericordia, an agency that offers a community of care that maximizes potential for people with mild to profound developmental disabilities, many of whom are also physically challenged. Misericordia means “heart of mercy” in Latin. She was appointed Administrator of Misericordia in 1969 and has led the organization for the past forty-four years. By serving society’s most vulnerable citizens, Misericordia also serves the families who want the best for them yet cannot provide it at home.
Through a spectrum of residential options on its 31-acre Chicago campus and in the community and with a wide variety of programs, Misericordia currently serves more than 600 children and adults from diverse racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Twenty percent of Misericordia’s residents either come from families living in poverty or have no families and are wards of the State of Illinois. Sister Rosemary’s leadership has been integral to Misericordia growing into a loving, challenging, and dignified environment for thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities. To the residents, families, friends, and staff of Misericordia, this special place truly has become home. Misericordia is dedicated to the principle that each person should be encouraged to achieve his or her maximum potential realized through educational, vocational, spiritual, and recreational programs.
Sister Rosemary is a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy. A native Chicagoan, she attended Catholic schools and taught in several Archdiocese of Chicago schools while continuing her studies. In 1959 Sister Rosemary earned a bachelor of science degree in social science from Saint Xavier University. She subsequently earned a master of arts degree in sociology from Saint Louis University in 1966 and a master’s in social work from Loyola University Chicago in 1969.
Sister Rosemary has received countless awards recognizing her work, and she always accepts them on behalf of everyone who is involved with Misericordia. She has also received six honorary doctorate degrees – from the University of Notre Dame, Loyola University Chicago, DePaul University, Lewis University, Saint Xavier University, and Dominican University.
Because of her loving devotion to people with developmental disabilities, her steadfast solidarity with the marginalized, and her life’s work of caring for others, Reverend President, I hereby recommend Sister Rosemary Connelly of the Religious Sisters of Mercy for the Marquette University degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.