Sister Grace Miller, Founder of the House of Mercy, Rochester, NY
Sister Grace Miller was born in Corning, NY, to Italian immigrant parents. She attended St. Mary’s Catholic Parochial School, Corning Free Academy, and spent two years at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. In 1955, she entered the Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy in Rochester, NY. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Joseph College (1966), a master’s degree in sociology with studies in theology and political science from Catholic University of America (1977), and a master’s degree in divinity from St. Bernard’s Institute of Theology and Ministry (1996).
She received her teaching certification and special education certificate from New York State, and she taught in Rochester’s Catholic Parochial Schools for nine years. The last two years of teaching were at an inner city school where she was struck by the social and economic conditions that so severely impacted her students.
Sister Grace is known for her activism, commitment to social justice and heart for the homeless. Throughout her lifetime, Sister Grace has been involved in countless demonstrations and social activist groups. In 1985, Sister Grace, with help from the Sisters of Mercy, opened a shelter in a small house on Central Park just north of downtown Rochester. The House of Mercy is now a permanent homeless shelter and drop-in center on Hudson Ave. serving more than 4,000 people a month. Sister Grace has received countless awards for her community service and humanitarian actions.