Mercy commemorates Sr. Rocklage's ministry with systemwide tree plantings

December 15, 2016

The Mercy health system is paying tribute to Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, RSM, for her five-plus decades of ministry by planting a "Roch Tree" at each of Mercy's 30-plus hospitals.

Sr. Rocklage

The Chesterfield, Mo.-based system chose the Japanese maple tree for each of the plantings because, according to information from the system, their vibrant color reflects the vitality of "a woman who has given so much of her life in service."

Sr. Rocklage has worked in the Mercy system for 55 years. One of her first assignments was in the central sterile supply department at St. John's Mercy Medical Center of St. Louis, now called Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She later worked as nursing services director. From 1969 to 1979, she was the facility's president. She was the provincial administrator of her congregation between 1979 and 1985. She helped to found the Sisters of Mercy Health System, later named Mercy, and became its first president and chief executive in 1986, a post she held until 1999. She then chaired the system's board.

Currently, she is health ministry liaison for Mercy Health Ministry, the public juridic person of the health system.

Sr. Rocklage has chaired the boards of CHA and the American Hospital Association and has received CHA's Sr. Concilia Moran Award as well as its Lifetime Achievement Award. She also has received honors from the AHA and Modern Healthcare magazine.

This “Roch tree” is at St. John’s Plaza, a courtyard at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. The Mercy system is planting Japanese maples at each of its hospitals to honor the work of Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, RSM.

According to information from the Mercy health system, there are multiple reasons the system selected the Japanese maple as the Roch Tree. The system says the trees thrive all over the world, "just like the Sisters of Mercy." Also, there are hundreds of varieties of Japanese maples, they thrive in many different circumstances and the trees are beautiful in every season, "just like Sr. Roch." Also, the leaves and branches of the tree have been used to make medicine for the sick, "echoing her long career in health care."

In a release on the plantings, Mercy President and Chief Executive Lynn Britton says Sr. Rocklage "is the modern day founder of our ministry, and a driving force behind the transformation and evolution of Mercy.

"We hope this tribute conveys the deep admiration and love that everyone across Mercy has for Sr. Roch," Britton says.

Additional information is available at Mercy's website.



Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.