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Radical Compassion Campaign Honored at the House of Mercy

By: Telisha McIntyre

Sister Grace Miller of the House of Mercy. Photo from

The House of Mercy is celebrating 35 of Years of “Radical Compassion with a campaign launch bearing the name, that will feature real life stories of the love, mercy and kindness of people in action.

The campaign is celebrated and honored daily at the homeless shelter located at 285 Ormond street in the city of Rochester. Radical compassion is actively working to preserve, promote and restore the dignity, value and independence of every human person without distinction or judgment, according to the agency’s website.

“Radical Compassion is to give our utmost in terms of loving and receiving and showing compassionate care for the poorest people, the people most in need herein the city and elsewhere, whoever comes to us we love them, we care for them and we do all in our power to help them to love themselves and to get on their feet and to know that they have a life that is worthy of living,” said Grace Miller, founder and executive director. 

“Radical Compassion is more than reaching out to those in need, the poor, the homeless, it’s making sure your neighbor gets the help that’s needed and checking on your family and friends.”

Sister Grace (as she is know in the community) says ‘Radical Compassion’ is a call to action for Monroe County and the city of Rochester to help any and all who are in need.

“The word radical is defined as “relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of someone or something, advocating for change in a non-traditional, innovative way.” Compassion is derived from the Latin word “compati” which means “to suffer with” or sympathetic concern for the misfortunes of others. These two words combined take on new meaning,” as stated on the shelter’s website.

The House of Mercy provides help for those in need in the community, assisting with food, shelter, clothing, advocacy assistance, spiritual services and more.  They are funded through donations from the community and the only homeless shelter in Rochester that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 to the public.

Sister Grace founded the shelter over 30 years ago, noticing that homelessness was a huge issue in the city of Rochester and recognized that there weren’t enough shelters to meet the needs of the homeless. Sister Grace worked in conjunction with the assistance of the religious organization, the Sisters of Mercy, and opened a shelter in a small house on Central Park just north of downtown Rochester. With a dedicated staff and community volunteers, the shelter is celebrating its 36th anniversary this January 2022.

“I have been doing this for many years and no matter what happens I will never give up on the citizens in the city of Rochester, this is God’s Works I truly believe with my faith he will make sure everyone is taken care of,” Sister Grace said.

The shelter presently has grown tremendously over the years and now with about 570 or more overnight beds for those who find themselves homeless, they provide around 2,000 cooked meals and groceries for 350 plus families from their food pantry and they serve approximately 4,000 people a month. They also have successfully provided thousands of basic care needs such as donated clothing, furniture, appliances, bedding and personal care items.  The House of Mercy never closes its doors on people in need and similarly, the shelter always welcomes donations and much needed volunteers. 

Sister Grace said without the help of the community, the shelter would not be able to provide the assistance and the “radical compassion” that they have been able to do since 1985. And with passing holidays, the COVID-19 pandemic and so much more, the ‘radical compassion’ of help is so necessary.

“Holidays are essential for giving to others in a time of need, you can always donate to the House of Mercy,” said Sister Grace.

“Without the help of others, we would not be able to do this at all.”

If inspired to help, looking for help, or seeking additional information regarding the shelter or how to be involved in the ‘Radical Compassion’ movement, further information can be found on the agency’s website at