Sister Rita (Sister Immaculate) Brocke was a Sister of Mercy for 75 years. Sister Rita received her bachelor’s degree in home economics from Mercyhurst College (University; her bachelor’s in nursing education from Carlow College (University), Pittsburgh; her master’s in public health and nursing administration from the University of Pittsburgh, and her American Nurse Association certification as a primary care nurse practitioner from SUNY-Buffalo.
She ministered in various nursing capacities for nearly 50 years and maintained an abiding option for the poor throughout her life. She served two periods as a nursing supervisor at the DuBois Hospital and a college health nurse at Mercyhurst College. Then, she taught Community Health Nursing at Edinboro University and served as the leader of the Sisters of Mercy of Erie.
For 25 years, Sister Rita ministered as a nurse practitioner at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Erie; Mercy Family Care, Detroit, Michigan; and the Thea Bowman Nursed Managed Center, Detroit, a center that provided health care for the uninsured. In her retirement for ten years, she lived as an active presence at the House of Mercy in Erie, advocating for neighborhood improvement projects. Among recognitions were: Outstanding Alumnae Award from Carlow College (University) in Pittsburgh; Spirit of Detroit and MLK Keep the Dream Alive Awards, given in Detroit; and Women Making History from Mercy Center for Women, and Woman of Justice for National Catholic Sisters’ Week both given in Erie.