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Honoring Catherine McAuley

September 24, 2019
By Deb Daley

One of the most beloved traditions at Mercy High School is Mercy Day, the day which celebrates the life of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and the 1827 opening of the House of Mercy in Dublin.  On September 24, there was a Mass, seniors presented a play to the student body depicting Catherine’s life and visited the Villa in Omaha where many of the retired Sisters now live.  A highlight of the play was the unveiling of the seniors who portray McAuley. This is considered one of the biggest honors students can receive and is voted on by the senior class. The event was streamed live on Facebook and Mercy graduates throughout the country watched the broadcast and celebrated the special day. 

This year’s two Catherine McAuleys were Madeline Riesberg who served as the narrator of the play and Katie Geist who portrayed the younger Catherine on stage. 
Madeline is a member of Student Council, National Honor Society, Pastoral Council, and runs Track and Field.  She has been on the Core Team for Operation Others for two years.  Her sophomore year she was on the Nocturne Court and her junior year on the Prom Court.  A member of St. Gerald’s Parish, her older sister Makayla graduated in 2013 and her younger sister Megan is a freshman now.  She hopes to go into veterinary school or study neuroscience at college.  She works part-time at a vet clinic. 

“This is one of the biggest honors I have ever received in my life.  I am humbled by the fact that my classmates chose me,” she said.

Katie has participated in Volleyball and Track.  Last year she set a new school record in discuss throwing it 111 feet and 7 inches.  She is a Student Ambassador, a member of National Honor Society, Pro Life One Club and Board Game Club.  Katie is a Mercy High School Singer and also plays the flute, sometimes accompanying the group on her flute.  She was also a princess in the Nocturne Court.  She recently was inducted as an EMHC and is a member of Pastoral Council.  The Mary Our Queen parishioner is also part of a Mercy legacy.  Her mother Sandra Kurcl Geist ’89 is a graduate and her sister Ellie is a freshman.  She is currently looking at attending a Catholic college and has not decided upon a major.

“I was in complete shock when I was chosen.  I hope I can live up to the honor my classmates have bestowed on me,” she said. 

Alumnae throughout the country shared pictures and comments on social media using the hashtag #OMercyDay2019. 

To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at