Mercy’s Impact Beyond Measure
“I honestly cannot even begin to measure Mercy’s impact on me,” said Rose A. Laughlin’08, recent graduate of Creighton’s School of Law and new clerk for the Department of Justice for Immigration Judges in Houston. She also worked with the Public Defender in Omaha while attending law school.
Rose was very involved at Mercy and learned valuable lessons from each experience. Through Student Council, especially serving as president her senior year, she learned leadership skills. Participation on the cheerleading squad taught her boundless optimism and the importance of “fake it until you make it.” Theatre helped her with confidence and thinking on her feet. All this combined with academics, proved invaluable in her schooling and career.
“I consistently need to be present and speak in front of my co-workers, colleagues, and judges. Trial work has theatrical components and with my limited experience drawing from Mercy’s theatre program has been tremendously helpful,” she said.
She was also involved in Mercy service programs including Operation Others and was on the core committee that planned the first Mission Week.
“It was service that most impacted my future. I think exposure to social injustices at such a formative time in my life solidified what being a woman of Mercy means, or at least what it meant to me,” she added.
Ironically, at first, Rose fought going to Mercy because she wanted to go to a co-ed school. But she comes from a long line of Mercy Women. Her grandmother Louise Franco’50, her mother Ann Franco Laughlin ‘72 and most of her aunts and cousins attended the school.
“I bargained with my mom if I went to Mercy for a year, I could transfer. I think by day 5 I was there to stay,” she said.
Rose went to St. Louis University where she studied social work, political Science and Spanish and earned a degree in 2012. After graduation, she served a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps with a community food bank in Arizona. Working in the family resource center, she directed people in crisis to sustainable resources to meet their house and food needs until they could get back on their feet. She enrolled in Creighton University’s Law School and while there she clerked for the Douglas County Public Defender and spent a summer in Washington, D. C. working for a national immigration policy center. She graduated with a law degree in May 2016 and in her new job will be writing the legal basis for immigration determinations and in some cases helping the judge to decide issues.
Her Mercy experience definitely influenced her work at the Public Defender’s Office.
“Mercy was the first step in me gaining fluency in Spanish, which made an incredible difference in my ability to communicate with clients. Additionally, Catherine McAuley operated without judgment and knew the importance of meeting someone’s needs right away. Many people I worked with while in JVC and law school came from incredibly different backgrounds, had lengthy criminal histories, or suffered from mental illness. Despite their circumstances, it was pivotal for me to validate my clients’ rights and recognize their dignity, because often the system was stacked against them. It also required me to put forth my best efforts, because people experiencing poverty deserve the best of us in terms of service and hospitality pursuant to Mother McAuley’s legacy,” she explained.
She is excited to embark on her new role in Houston.
“Having a position within the federal government will give me insight into how policy decisions are made and how immigration attorneys can make a difference for those they represent,” Rose said.
Still deeply connected to the many friends she made at Mercy, she is in awe for what they have achieved academically and professionally while carrying the teachings they learned at Mercy.
“My friends from the class of 2008 are a lot more impressive than myself, you should be talking to them,” she added.
We think Rose should also be proud of how she is living her Mercy education. We know Catherine McAuley is smiling.