Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, RSM
Health Ministry Liaison
Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, RSM, has devoted her life and work to living out the values of her faith. She is an industry icon, a lifelong mentor to numerous health care leaders, and a woman of warmth and dedication to the needs of those who are sick, poor and vulnerable.
Starting her career as a nurse, Sr. Roch moved throughout her career into positions of ever greater scope. She served as president of Mercy Hospital St. Louis from 1969 to 1979, then served her religious community as provincial administrator. In that role, she led a yearlong discernment process that culminated with the foundation of Mercy Health System in 1986. She served as the first president and CEO of the system from 1986 to 1999, then continued her leadership as the first full-time board chair of Mercy, serving until 2003.
Under her leadership, Mercy grew from being a hospital-based system focusing on the delivery of acute care services into a system of integrated delivery networks committed to providing a broad spectrum of care. Today, Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health system in the United States based on net patient revenue, with hospitals, physician clinics and outreach services in seven states.
Sr. Roch helped lead the decision-making process that transitioned Mercy to a public juridic person form of sponsorship in 2008. Today, she holds the position of sponsor liaison, with responsibility for ensuring the continuity of the Sisters of Mercy presence and influence throughout the health ministry.
Her rich and varied service has included being a member of governing boards of almost 30 health care and community outreach organizations over the years. She served as a liaison for health care to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the chair of the board of the American Hospital Association (2002), chair of the board of trustees of the Catholic Health Association (1984-1985), and many other posts. She has been recognized by the American College of Health Care Executives, she received the Sister Concilia Moran Award from CHA in 1999, and she was inducted into the Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame.