Mercy Sister Anne Maloy, who 21 years ago founded Rochester’s Mercy Center with the Aging, retired as its executive director July 1.
A ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, the center helps educate family caregivers and older adults, serving 26,000 people in 14 upstate New York counties. The center conducts seminars at 230 sites on such issues as the process of aging, caregiver goals and responsibilities, hospital and nursing-home care, financial planning and the spirituality of aging.
“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to Sister Anne for all that she has done for Mercy Center with the Aging,” said a statement from Sister Patricia Prinzing, former vice president of the Sisters of Mercy. “Her dedication, care, hard work and expertise have been the driving force behind the success of this ministry. Sister Anne leaves Mercy Center well positioned and focused for a successful future.”
Sister Maloy began her career as director of social-work services at Brockport’s Lakeside Hospital. Through her work there, she learned that during a crisis, people are unprepared to make important, long-term decisions regarding their elderly loved ones.
“What I found to be the gap in the community was that there was no one educating caregivers in terms of what they need to know about the health system, and what they need to know in terms of skills and abilities as caregivers,” she said.
In response to that gap, she presented to the Sisters of Mercy her vision of an organization that would educate, support and encourage caregivers of older people, and on May 23, 1983, Mercy Center with the Aging was founded.
Sister Maloy said she began the ministry with nothing more than a desk and a phone in a small office in downtown Rochester, which she shared with two women from New York StateWide Senior Action Council. Months later, she recruited a pre-med student from Notre Dame University as an intern to assist in outreach. Mercy Sister Gratia L’Esperance, who has a background in adult education, joined the center shortly after it relocated to St. Boniface Convent in August 1983.
Sisters Maloy and L’Esperance established a seminar called “The Family Education Series on Aging,” presenting it at Rochester’s St. Andrew’s Church and Greece’s Holy Name of Jesus Church.
“We worked out the bugs and we got it up and going,” Sister Maloy said.
In June 1985 the center moved to Rochester’s Holy Family Parish. After 10 years of successful growth, the center relocated to Our Lady of Lourdes Convent in Brighton. In July of this year, the center again moved and is now located in the Monroe Community Hospital building in a wing that also houses the Alzheimer’s Association. The center — which remains a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy — will contract with the Alzheimer’s Association for various support services, including the services of Sharon Boyd, who will oversee the center’s day-to-day operations as its oversight administrator.
“This physical proximity will provide opportunities for collaboration, and I am confident that this new structure will shape the future of Mercy Center and guide it to the next level,” Sister Maloy said in a statement.
In her retirement, Sister Maloy plans to counsel caregivers on a private basis. For the next four months, she will be on sabbatical in England taking theology and self-improvement courses at an international pastoral center near Manchester.
“My faith is going to move me to a deeper level, and I think God has some new things for me,” she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mercy Center with the Aging’s new address is 435 E. Henrietta Road, Rochester. The center’s new phone number is 585/760-5470, and its new fax number is 585/760-5471.