New names, new sculptures, same heart of campus

The Sisters of Mercy, the Rohde family and two of Mount Mercy’s most important women will forever be memorialized on the university’s campus.

In front of an audience on the newly named Rohde Family Plaza, the Rohde family and Sisters of Mercy were recognized during a dedication ceremony on Sept. 24, 2014. During the event, the University Center was officially renamed the Sisters of Mercy University Center. The former University Center Patio was dedicated as the Rohde Family Plaza. Attendees also celebrated newly-installed bronze sculptures of Catherine McAuley and Frances Warde on the plaza.

The sculptures, made by Sister Marie Henderson, RSM, act as daily reminders of the impact individuals can make on the world. The sculptures on the plaza will forever be a symbol of purposeful living, as Catherine McAuley and Frances Warde were instrumental in the work of the Sisters.

McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831, three years after she opened the first House of Mercy on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland. Twelve years later, Warde and six other Sisters arrived in the United States to establish the first foundation of the Sisters of Mercy in the country. They would spread across the nation, establishing schools and hospitals. Today, the work of the Sisters can be found around the world and has expanded to embrace social services, pastoral services, politics, education and health care.

President Hamen recognized the Sisters of Mercy for their steadfast support of Mount Mercy throughout the university’s 86-year heritage and expressed deep gratitude for their generosity.  The president explained how fitting it is to name the heart of the university—the university center—after the Sisters of Mercy.

Located just outside of the Sisters of Mercy University Center, the Rohde Family Plaza is enjoyed by many and offers a space for concerts, picnics and camp fires. On behalf of the student body, Julia Cuvelier, a senior in the business department, thanked the Rohde family for the place of fun and reflection.

The event concluded with Charles Rohde speaking on behalf of his family; Sr. Laura Reicks '78 addressing those gathered on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest; and Sr. Shari Sutherland, Dr. Gerry Kreitzer, and sophomore Jacob Stewart leading attendees in singing the Circle of Mercy.

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