Sisters of Mercy

The Sisters of Mercy came to Rochester in 1857 and located on what was called the South Street property near St. Mary's Church.

In 1886 they were given two lots in the Hughes Tract in Charlotte. They purchased two additional lots in July 1886. The property was used as a summer motherhouse. After a 1916 fire at the motherhouse on the South Street property, the St. John's Place property became the main motherhouse.

The landscaping was a gift of Bishop McQuaid. A distinct feature was a string of poplar trees along the east (river) side of the property. These trees fell in a severe storm in 1970. The area between the motherhouse and the poplars was a truck garden. The sisters sold vegetables they did not use themselves to neighbors at reasonable prices. There was also an apple orchard possibly on the land on the south or west sides of the main buildings.

A member of the Tolan family joined the order and became Sister Joseph Tolan. She convinced her family to give land to the Sisters to build Mercy High School. Part of the agreement was that her unmarried sister Nellie would live with the Sisters once she could no longer live on her own. The Sisters purchased additional land to extend their holdings to Blossom Road.

The high school held its first classes in September 1928. The Sisters used the third floor as their new motherhouse and felt they would not have to build a separate motherhouse for at least ten years. Attendance at the school grew so quickly that they had to begin construction in August of 1931.

The St. John's Park property was sold to the Ira Jacobson American Legion Post on June 28, 1945 for $2500. The Legion Post sold the property in 2016. It should be noted that the area of the sister's chapel was used as a bar by the Legion Post.