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Poetry Helps Her Practice Mercy

May 23, 2017
By Deb Daley

She is the first woman, the first person of color, and the youngest individual to be named Associate Poet Laureate in Winona County, Minn. Her name is Nicholle Ramsey ’13 and she is a 2013 Mercy graduate.

Nicolle had attended a private middle school and “reluctantly” shadowed at Mercy. But, she is glad she did.

“ I got in the car and afterwards looked at my mother and said I could go back there,” she said.

While she was at Mercy, she was a member of the speech team and participated in poetry, duets, informative and entertainment speeches and was coached by her mother, Cecelia Ramsey. She ran tech for show choir as well, passing off microphones, and helping with costume changes.

After graduation, she attended St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona campus. She studied several majors from Criminal Justice to English to more , but decided to take a break from schooling to move into the Winona Catholic Worker. The Winona Catholic Worker is a diverse faith community that serves people experiencing homelessness in the tradition of Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day. While there she became involved with the poetry scene working with the Black Sheep Poetry Collection and Treedome Productions. She performs several times a month at area locations while working at a barista at a local and organic coffee shop.

“ I think Dorothy Day and Catherine McAuley would’ve gotten along swimmingly in their radical (at the time) belief of all people deserving education, food and roofs no matter their economic, political or legal background. I think both of these women influence the decisions that I make and are great role models on what it means to be a woman of mercy. My favorite Day quote is “Do not call me a saint, I will not be dismissed so easily.” This quote reminds us that it is our duty to follow the works of Mercy and should not be done for praise, but instead for the betterment of the human race, similar to McAuley’s view on educating women,” she added.

She recalls first getting involved with poetry writing at Mercy and having an affinity for English classes. She took Creative Writing with Kate Adams and found she loved the writing process and that the small group of girls in her class gave her the courage to keep writing.

“ My education was centered around the importance of the girl child and the strength that women have. For me, poetry is a platform to redevelop hope for society and love for one another,” she added.

Although she does not get back to Omaha and Mercy often, she often chats with the Sisters of Mercy at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, always wishing them a happy Mercy Day on September 24th.

“ I support Mercy High School mostly by living a life full of Mercy and giving credit to my high school education that taught me the importance of Mercy in a world that is often cruel,” she said.