Jean Marie Ryan Community Center: A Place to Come Together

by Linda Buchalo

The newest wing to the main building at Misericordia started as an idea to build a large chapel that would accommodate more people for weekend Mass. After conversations with Cardinal George, it was decided that building a multi-purpose center was the most fiscally responsible and best solution. Thus, the Jean Marie Ryan Community Center was born. The construction of the JMR Center answered the need to have liturgical celebrations for large groups as well as hold all members of the Misericordia Family Association (MFA) for quarterly meetings.

Dedicated in 2008, the center was funded primarily by Bill and Mary Ryan, parents of Jean Marie Ryan, who lived a part of her short life at Misericordia’s south campus. The Ryan family remains active at Misericordia today. Jean Marie’s sisters are involved with both Women’s Golf and the Women’s League. Other family members remain faithful donors and friends.

The JMR Center is beautifully architected with lots of natural light, warm wood hues, stained glass windows, and mosaics. Throughout the center, pieces of artwork created by Misericordia art teachers and residents adorn the walls. Other pieces were donated by families. The center is comprised of several different areas, each serving multiple functions.

Jean Marie Ryan room is the largest area in the center. In addition to functioning as a chapel, this room is home to many other activities. Besides weekend Mass, JMR hosts concerts, parties, holiday brunches, various other luncheons and dinners throughout the year, and meetings for the many family members who make up the MFA. The area that serves as the sanctuary for Mass also functions as a stage for various presentations. A large screen pulls down to show movies or assist with presentations.

This room has played host to some very important and well-known guests, such as Mike Ditka and Jonathan Toews. It is in this room that residents from all areas gathered to touch the famed Stanley Cup.

Benefactor’s Hall is a large open area that connects the various rooms within the center. Plaques throughout the hall honor the many benefactors who have been so generous to Misericordia, with new plaques added as the list grows. A cupola fills the room with sunlight. During the holiday brunches, the hall serves as both a waiting area and a shopping area, where visitors can buy bakery goods, holiday plants, and note cards that showcase the talents of Misericordia resident artists. At Halloween, the hall is filled with party games, a photo booth, and the buffet line, where costumed participants wait to fill their plates.

Our Lady of Mercy Chapel offers an intimate setting for small group church services. Daily Mass is said here, and Easter week services also take place in the chapel. The chapel is geared to the needs of those who live on campus and residents take an active part in the liturgical celebrations.

The chapel is designed in the form of a cross with two small side chapels for quiet prayer and meditation. The Celtic cross that hangs over the altar pays homage to Mother Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. Stations of the cross, created in Italy, adorn the chapel walls.

The chapel is dedicated to the memory of Robert and Sheila Hulseman, generous benefactors to Misericordia. A pair of angels, once owned by Cardinal Bernadin and bequeathed to the Hulsemans, now reside in the All Faith Room. Members of the Hulseman family still support Misericordia today.

The All Faith Room is dedicated to the memory of Catherine Havey, another generous donor and former Women’s Board member. This area offers a place for residents of other faiths to gather and reflect. Sometimes, when residents leave this world to dance on the mountain top, this room serves as a place to mourn their passing. At holiday time, the All Faith Room becomes a boutique for shoppers at the holiday brunches.

Dr. Sydney and Binnie Choslovsky donated the stained-glass windows that depict the four seasons. They were the parents of a Marian Center resident and Binnie served on the Women’s Board. On the west wall of this room hangs a beautiful needlepoint tapestry crafted by Binnie.

Two other additions to the center include the gardens and the bell tower. The all-accessible Joan M. Corboy Gardens, dedicated to the memory of Joan Corboy, surround the chapel and provide a sense of beauty and calm. You can stroll the cobblestone walks through the gardens to enjoy the many trees, plants, and flowers. The gardens include a central pavilion with a pergola, benches, a sundial, fountain, and a reflecting pool. Statuary depicts Our Lady of Mercy surrounded by children and adults who represent the residents of Misericordia. Additional plaques honoring donors can be seen in the gardens. The Corboy family continue to be involved with Misericordia.

The Evie and Rust Wicks Bell Tower acknowledges the friendship and generosity of its namesakes, longtime friends of Misericordia. The carillon and clock tower can be seen as you enter the campus and you can hear the carillon daily at noon and 6 PM, when it plays the Angelus followed by three different rotating selections.

The center, in all its beauty, remains much the same as when it was first built, save for plaques in the Hall and in the gardens honoring new donors.

Thanks to all the generous donors who made Jean Marie Ryan Community Center a reality, members of the Misericordia family have a beautiful place to connect with God and with each other.


 Memorial GardenS


Garden of AngelsS

Benefactors HallS



All Faith Room