Sister Grace Miller
Founder, Executive Director, House of Mercy
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Long ago, I realized the importance of unconditional love, compassion, acceptance and justice. Simple acts, such as providing a meal, a warm coat, or listening to a story can show poor and oppressed people that they are loved and cared for. There are many in our city who desperately need to feel love, and realizing this love can be life changing. Serving this need is a continual practice at The House.
What’s been your biggest success?
Less than five years ago, House of Mercy was a small 1,800-square-foot house on Hudson Avenue. The homeless were flocking to us — as many as 80 a night sleeping on couches, chairs, floors, hallways and even in the kitchen. When our location on Ormond Street opened, it was life changing for our people. Now we have 82 beds and a kitchen and dining area that can accommodate more than 465 people a day for food. Our ability to extend love and compassion to the homeless in our city grew exponentially.
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
My enduring hope is an end to homelessness. In this spirit, we will continue to advocate for dignified housing that is affordable to the poor in our city. This year, I will press on with my appeal to the county to make vacant hotel space available for our homeless.
What do you do to unplug in your free time?
I pray and I pray.