MARY ALFRED MOES
Mary Alfred Moes, a Catholic nun of the Sisters of Saint Francis, founded St. Mary’s Hospital, which became part of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.
In 1883 one of the worst tornadoes in Minnesota history devastated the town of Rochester. Seeing a list of the hundreds of people who were seriously injured or dead, Mother Alfred received a vision from God to build a hospital there. Mother Alfred convinced a local doctor—William Worall Mayo—that if he opened the hospital, she would raise funds to build it, and she and her Christian sisters would act as nurses. Mother Alfred also suggested that if Dr. Mayo could attract other physicians to work alongside them, she would provide the nurses and help operate the hospital. Her idea prompted Dr. Mayo and his two sons, William James Mayo and Charles Horace Mayo, to establish a regional hub of medical care that focused on the integrated healthcare of the patient. This center grew into the famed Mayo Clinic.
So influential was Mary’s role in the founding of the Mayo Clinic that if you visit there today, you will find a building named after her.
CENTERED ON CHRIST
Mother Alfred was born into a wealthy family in Europe. However, after learning the teachings of Jesus and being transformed by Jesus’s ideas, Mother Alfred devoted her life to serving the poor and nursing the sick. She left her home, family, comfort, and inheritance to sail across the Atlantic so that she could serve the poor and indigenous people on the American frontier.
In America, Mother Alfred began a new life of service to God and the community after taking religious vows to become a nun in the order of St. Francis in the Catholic Church. Her legacy lives on among Catholic Christian women in the Franciscan order who respond to needs, wherever God calls them.