Locks of Compassion

In 2018 . . .
The Locks of Compassion display has

moved indoors for your viewing pleasure.
(Mayo Civic Building – Rochester)

This beautiful piece of art; created by both residents
and visitors from around the globe represents all
ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds, and faith traditions.

Each decorated lock expresses the compassion of the
individual and the desire that a spirit of hope ripples
across our nation and world.  We encourage you to
share photos of lock creations and your experiences
at the display on social media.

Coming this Summer!   The City that Locked-In graphically details personal experiences of compassion that were ignited with the initiative for both residents and visitors and the rippling of hope it continues to inspire in Minnesota and beyond. The book includes a page with your own personal lock to create.  You can lock-in and unite with countless others around the globe by taking a picture on your cell and  sharing your expression of compassion on social medial. #locksofcompassion

Order Book Today!

Would you like to sponsor books to gift to a special organization or group?—please call (507-281-6606).  Books will be available to order online after May 31st or purchase now at one of these locations:

Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria

130 5th St. SW
Rochester, MN 55902

Canadian Honker

1203 2nd St. SW
Rochester, MN 55902


110 1st Ave SW
Rochester, MN 55902


Considering a lock is often defined as a device that restricts access and confines, you may wonder how it could possibly be associated with compassion. A lock can also be a symbol of promise, enduring friendship and love. A lock links and unites one to another.

In many parts of the world “love locks” attached to bridges and even metal trees have been romance driven. But, what if we expressed our compassion on padlocks with words, symbols, and pictures and with a spirit of solidarity, we united them together to inspire hope in our world.

A child recently asked me what it means to have compassion and I explained it in this way. Compassion is a feeling inside of us that says, “I care about others—especially those who suffer and feel sad.  In my heart, I want to help them.  Compassion calls us to action. Compassion starts in the heart, but what if a decorated lock could express your compassion for a child in need, a homebound senior, a troubled family member, someone who feels excluded or bullied,  an anxious visitor to our community seeking medical care…and the hope it creates begins to ripple….

This initiative has been embraced by community and civic leaders as a “game changer.” Healthcare professionals in Rochester express delight and support of the interactive display creation that visitors can experience upon arriving to Rochester for care. We have been told the display is “cathartic” for those who read the supportive messages that are united together on the display.

There was a ripple of hope created by those who attached locks of compassion. Each lock tells a unique story. People of all ages, all genders, all ethnic backgrounds and all faith traditions have seized opportunities to cultivate and weave a circle of compassion. Visitors from eight states around our nation expressed their intention to mirror the “Locks of Compassion” initiative in order to raise awareness for various compassionate endeavors in their state.

People from various parts of the world have even asked if we could travel with the display to inspire people in their country. We encourage all to mirror this idea and let compassion lift up our world.

Everyone was encouraged to use social media to promote inclusivity and compassion. Thousands of pictures taken on cell phones and shared on social media sights have inspired hope around the world. People as far as Australia and Africa follow the progress of this initiative.

No matter where you come from or what you believe…we can all be united around a spirit of compassion!

(Mary Alessio-Director of Advancement/Catholic Charities)  

Updates and Upcoming Events

  • Locks arriving in March 2017—start thinking of your lock design this Spring!—Would you like to donate a basket with  supplies for “Locks of Compassion”…  Supply list here.
  • WSU students from  multi-cultural class embracing  “Locks of Compassion” with a class outreach project this Spring.
  • Locks for decorating this Spring/Summer with your images of compassion arriving!  Leather straps for your necklace/wristband with key and medallion coming soon.

  • We needed donation boxes and Gramercy Park resident Bob Wiebold came to the rescue with compassion masterpieces!  Bob spent the entire month of April in the woodworking shop (and painting in his living room—thank you Mrs. Wiebold!).  He used  his artistic expertise to express what compassion means to him on donation boxes that will be used this summer for the “Locks of Compassion” Peace Plaza Project. Each box is a unique expression of Bob’s compassion. When asked what compassion means to him…Bob gazed intently into my eyes, “ I believe the love of God is all around us and our appreciation of that love, whether it is gazing at the beauty of a bird, a Minnesota lake, a friend’s face, a stranger’s smile..it surrounds us and all we need to do is embrace it.” I look forward to sharing more of Bob’s story with you in a future article. When I think of compassion – I see Bob’s face.  Check back in the upcoming weeks. Stop by and see Bob attach his “lock” of compassion along with other residents from Gramercy Park on June 20th!   ~Mary

  • Students from Winona State Multi-Cultural class (Rochester Campus)  embraced an outreach project to instill compassion within our community recently. Check out these remarkable creations that will be attached to the “Locks of Compassion” display on June 20th!

  • Grandma Knows Best!  When it comes to creating leather necklaces with a bow display for lock packages—Kristina’s grandma leads the way.  She is the best “bow tier” and as Kristina would testify…the best grandma!  Heartfelt thanks to Kristina’s grandma, mother, and aunt for all their hard work this week creating lock packages!

  • Heartfelt thanks for locking into compassion! Rochester helps promote “Locks of Compassion” display in Rochester’s Peace Plaza (opening ceremony June 20th) with small outreach replicas created by Rochester Area Builders young professionals group. Thanks to our replica sights…Merchant’s Bank, Rochester Co-Op, Pasquales Pizzeria, U.S. Bank, Canadian Honker, Rochester International Airport, Tangerine Gifts, Lasker Jewelers, Victoria’s Restaurant, The Loop, and Daubes Bakery.
  • Get your “Locked In” button at our booth on Thursdays on First—starting June 22nd. Heartfelt thanks to Speedy Buttons for your compassionate creation. Get “locked in” this summer… embrace a spirit of compassion!
  • Rochester Area Builders young professionals constructing “Locks of Compassion” display for Peace Plaza!  Come see the final creation at the opening ceremony on June 20th at noon. 
  • Construction and Installation Day!  We are getting ready for the opening day on Tuesday, June 20th at noon.  Come down and “lock in” this summer.
  •  Opening Ceremony –Mayor Ardell Brede of Rochester, Dr. John Knudson of Mayo Clinic, and Executive Director Robert Tereba of Catholic Charities open the Locks of Compassion Display in Peace Plaza. Thanks to Daube’s Bakery for sweetening the ceremony with their delicious masterpieces! Come to Rochester’s Peace Plaza this summer and “lock in” to compassion!
  • The “Locks of Compassion” display is growing with compassion. Come “lock-in” this summer at Thursdays on First at our display in Rochester’s Peace Plaza. A final destination for the display will be revealed on August 30th. Your lock will continue to inspire for years to come!
  • Rochesterfest Parade 2017—After a few raindrops the clouds parted and there was nothing but sunshine and locks of compassion!
  • Heartfelt thanks Senator Klobuchar for your kind words of support!
  • Join us on August 30th for our dedication ceremony in Rochester’s Peace Plaza at noon and an opportunity to create and attach your lock of compassion before the display moves indoors!  Bunnie Cake–$250 Gift basket drawing—Great Reveals!   (Fall Group Projects and locks packages available for creation  through the end of the year—call 507-287-2047 EXT. 23 or 24 ).
  • To all those experiencing heartaches and loss due to the recent hurricanes—we hold you close to our hearts and pray for your safety. God bless.
  • Locks of Compassion Display is getting ready to move indoors to Mayo Civic Center. Come enjoy the indoor display at MCC starting October 6th.  We guarantee you will leave inspired!  300 new creations will be attached soon.  Individual and group lock packages available for creation until December 31, 2017 (507-287-2047).
  • Moving Day! Now, that’s what I call “uplifting compassion” . . . thanks to John Eichen at Rochester Area Builders , Kraus Anderson Construction,  and  40 Below young professional group volunteers. We are staining the base and getting ready for visitors. Come visit the display at Mayo Civic Center starting on October 6, 2017.
  • Community Postcard embraces and cultivates a spirit of compassion and gratitude with residents and visitors this Thanksgiving and Christmas!
  • Locks of Compassion Initiative served as catalyst for signing of world charter that recognizes Rochester MN as a City of Compassion!
  • That solo lock will be joined with 500 others very soon.  Cotter High School in Winona MN creates their campus “Locks of Compassion” display.  In collaboration with Catholic Charities—Cotter students, staff, board members, and their families are embracing a Lenten kick-off project starting Ash Wednesday – February 14th . . .  locking-in and spreading the spirit of compassion in Winona and beyond!


  • Cotter High School’s finished Locks of Compassion campus display—Cotter Compassion is a ripple of hope. Heartfelt thanks Cotter family and friends.
  • Coming this Summer!   The City that Locked-In graphically details personal experiences of compassion that were ignited with the initiative for both residents and visitors and the rippling of hope it continues to inspire in Minnesota and beyond.
  • Staff  who serve the poor and marginalized in the twenty southernmost counties of Minnesota create their locks of compassion at our Spring agency meeting in order to lock in with thousands of others to express their hopes and dreams for all those in need of compassion.

*Don’t forget to share your compassion creations and experiences #locksofcompassion.