On behalf of Sister Rosemary and the entire Misericordia family, we pray that you and your families continue to be safe and well. Normally at this time of year we would be writing to invite you to our annual Misericordia Family Fest. But like 2020, 2021 is very different as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 restrictions and yet continue to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff.
In the interest of keeping our entire Misericordia family safe, we have made the difficult decision of postponing this year’s in-person Family Fest once again. However, we still need your support to help Keep Misericordia Strong! In keeping with the traditions set by our dear friend Pauline Greco, the “Queen of Raffles,” over 40 years ago, we invite you to take part once again in our annual Cash and Car Raffle that is now part of our Keep Misericordia Strong Campaign.
We will be offering 3,000 Cash Raffle tickets for $100 each and a chance for 25 individuals to win cash prizes with the grand prize being $50,000! Car raffle tickets will be available for $50 each or 3 for $100 for the opportunity to win a 2021 Kia Forte, generously donated by Andy Francis of Evergreen Kia! The winners will be drawn on September 15, 2021, during a virtual drawing. When we receive your order, we will email you your ticket number(s) upon request. If you would like a copy of your ticket, email
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Misericordia. Since the 1950s, Misericordia has been dedicated to helping persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are most grateful for your past support and truly rely on you as we begin our next century. We look forward to the time when we can gather together in celebration of Misericordia’s annual Family Fest here on our campus. Thank you most sincerely for your continuous belief in our mission. We are blessed to call you friends and wish each of you good health, happiness and hope for the future.
With grateful hearts,
Lois Gates, Assistant Executive Director
The Greco Family and Friends Committee
July 9, 2021
I hope you had a relaxing 4th of July holiday weekend. I am writing to let you know that on Sunday, July 4, The New York Times featured a powerful Guest Essay article from our good friend and fellow MFA parent David Axelrod. If you haven't read it yet, please take the time to do so. I am sharing it in this email as an attachment. We are so grateful to David and Susan for taking the time to share their (and their beautiful daughter Lauren's) story with The New York Times readership and grateful, too, to The New York Times for publishing it. I know that David and Susan have heard from numerous legislators and countless readers who thanked them for sharing this very personal story, and the entire Misericordia community is so grateful, too.
by Linda Buchalo
In 1993, Elizabeth Messer started a horticulture program at Holbrook Center. A year later, Misericordia began construction on an actual greenhouse. The Greco Gardens greenhouse and surrounding gardens opened in 1995 and were dedicated to Pauline Greco in honor of her family's long-standing support.
Located on the southwest side of Conway, Greco Gardens includes the greenhouse, an office, utility rooms, and restrooms. The greenhouse itself has a heated floor, polycarbonate roof, and a special weather system that can be set to electronically control the climate within the greenhouse. The system opens vents in the ceilings and walls and has a cooling wall that is drawn through the greenhouse by huge fans on the roof. A third of the greenhouse is dedicated to hydroponics, a third to special botanical tables for plants and projects, and a third to worktables for the residents.
by Rob Figliulo
Great Turnout! Great Success!
On Monday, June 14, almost 700 golfers played in the Annual Misericordia Bums Golf Outing! That’s close to the record number of players in the outing’s 47-year history. It took four private golf clubs to accommodate so many players. Olympia Fields Country Club has two full 18-hole courses (North and South) and is home to many tournaments on the professional golf tour, including the U.S. Open and LPGA. We always use Olympia Fields as our home base where everyone comes together for dinner, a small gathering of about 700. Two other private clubs were used for golf, Flossmoor CC and Edgewood Valley CC.
During cocktails and dinner, we had raffles, silent auctions and a live auction with spectacular golf trips and sporting events including front row baseball, hockey and Super Bowl tickets. All in all, we raised over $700,000 for Misericordia!
July 4, 2021
OPINION from the New York Times
By David Axelrod
Mr. Axelrod was the senior strategist for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. His daughter Lauren lives in Misericordia on Chicago’s North Side.
My daughter, Lauren, turned 40 last month. She is happy and healthy. And that is nothing short of a miracle.
From the moment my wife, Susan, found Lauren blue and limp in her crib at the age of 7 months — the consequence, we later would learn, of epileptic seizures she suffered in the night — Lauren’s life has been a struggle.
These brutal seizures would continue, poorly controlled, for the next 19 years, roiling her developing brain and necessitating an ever-shifting regimen of medications with punishing side-effects, of surgeries and hospitalizations. More than once, we feared we would lose her.
by Linda Buchalo
June 29, 2021
On behalf of the entire Misericordia community, we hope and pray that you are safe and well during these challenging times.
Normally at this time of year we would be writing to you about our annual Misericordia Family Fest. But, like 2020, 2021 is very different as we emerge from the COVID-19 restrictions and yet continue to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff.
In the interest of keeping everyone safe, we have made the difficult decision of postponing this year's in-person Family Fest. Yet, your support is still vital! At some point in the future, we will invite you to participate in the car and cash raffle, as well as sponsorship opportunities.
The Misericordia Development Team
by Ernie Stark
Gail Wojciechowski, Misericordia’s Director of Recreation and Leisure, is close to celebrating her 48th anniversary at Misericordia. She is now at precisely 47 years, and 6 months!
Gail grew up on the southwest side of Chicago. Close to where her family lived was Misericordia South. During her college years, at UICC, as it was known then, Gail studied physical education. While obtaining a teaching certificate was a general goal, Gail’s specific interest was in corrective therapy as she wished to work with children with special needs.
Living in proximity to Misericordia South, it occurred to Gail volunteering there might afford her some practical experience in that field. When she went to inquire, she was told Misericordia was hiring and was offered a job as a child care worker, a position she held for two years. It was toward the end of this period that Misericordia was finalizing plans to move to the north side of Chicago. Staffing needs at the emerging Misericordia North included a position for a physical education teacher.
by Sharon Rickerson
Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
The pandemic resulted in a sudden need to support our residents and staff during unprecedented times. I recently met with Geana Connelly Administrator of Clinical Services and Strategic Planning to discuss how our Misericordia Counseling Department faced the challenges that came with a year of COVID. The first major concern was for those who remained on campus when everything shut down in March 2020 knowing there would be no Home Visit for the residents who were so dependent on going home. Assembling her team to position themselves to do whatever was necessary to get them through it, Geana recalls, initially it was like writing a book one chapter at time. Each chapter brought changes that called for shifts and pivots to meet the various individual needs of our community. Every month, every holiday, every situation was different. And yet, it was year of learning, growing, and identifying the silver linings awaiting discovery.
by Linda Buchalo
This past year has given me much time to think about a lot of things, among them how truly blessed I am to have found a home for my son Andy at Misericordia. I’ve also thought a lot about the past, including life before Mis, with school staffings and services from other organizations. As I ponder these memories, I think how much better life is for Andy now, despite the pandemic and all its restrictions.
I’ve come to appreciate even more how different Misericordia is from many other organizations that offer services for people with disabilities. And other parents have shared with me how pleasantly surprised they were in making the transition to life at Misericordia.
As I think back to the days of Andy being in school, I remember good times, but I also remember the torture of staffings—my husband and I facing a panel of “experts” who listed all the areas where our child was deficient. I always walked away feeling sad that no one appreciated my son’s abilities.
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