Mayo Clinic and The Saint Francis Connections

by Fran Fox on October 4, 2015

Mayo Clinic has a long tradition with Saint Francis!

The Sisters of Saint Francis were the ones who urged Dr Worrall Mayo, MD to build a hospital after a catastrophic tornado hit Rochester, Minnesota in 1883.  Of course we know this hospital today as The Mayo Clinic.


Most of the Sisters of Saint Francis are no longer present here on the Mayo Clinic Campus but their spirit and the spirit of Saint Francis is still everywhere! In fact Mayo Clinic stills sends their doctors, administrators and other Mayo support staff to Assisi Italy,  the birth place of Saint Francis to enrich their “Spirit of Saint Francis from his birthplace”

“What happens on pilgrimage is no less astounding than what happened when people encountered the living St. Francis,” says Sister Ramona Miller, a Rochester Franciscan who has led various pilgrimages to Assisi Italy for 20 years. “When Mayo pilgrims realize they’re connecting with a mission that’s 800 years old, they get fired up! They’re part of something big and it’s from God!”

The spirituality of each site affects pilgrims differently; testimonies are as diverse as the pilgrims, their jobs and their religious affiliations. Mary Ayshford, a Methodist and the art director in the Department of Development, found inspiration at La Verna, the mountaintop where Francis received the stigmata.

“Nature is my cathedral and that is where I felt the closest to Francis and to God,” says Ayshford, adding that, as with many pilgrims, Assisi instilled in her a greater need for servant leadership and “bonum”, the Franciscan value of doing good. “We owe it to others to be good people and to do good things and to help out wherever we can.” 

Mayo Clinic’s Charity Care: Poverello Foundation is named after Saint Francis of Assisi.  Poverello means “the little poor man”.  People often refered to Saint Francis as “Poverello” after he gave away his family fortune to help the poor.  More information on the Poverello Fund and other Mayo Clinic Charity Care options


The Sisters of Saint Francis are here to help, the staff of Mayo Clinic who have studied and now incorporate into their medical care the “Spirit of Saint Francis are here to help and SAINT FRANCIS himself are all HERE to help you and your family in your time of need!


Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi


Below is an aerial tour of  the beautiful Assisi Heights located here in Rochester Minnesota.

Assisi Heights sits high on a hilltop with spectacular views of all Mayo Clinic Campuses.


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