St. Mary’s Hospital opened on Sept. 30, 1889, with 27 beds and, according to a newspaper report of the time, “every feature designed to make it pleasant and homelike for the sick.” Although the hospital’s name and spelling have evolved – to Saint Marys Hospital and, today, the Saint Marys Campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital-Rochester – the anniversary of this event includes milestones of enduring significance:
Franciscan-Mayo Collaboration – St. Mary’s was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis, whose collaboration with Dr. William Worrall Mayo and his sons, William James (Dr. Will) and Charles Horace (Dr. Charlie), began when a tornado struck Rochester, Minn., in 1883. The opening of St. Mary’s brought the Roman Catholic Sisters into daily contact with the Protestant Mayos and their associates, who came from diverse walks of life, establishing a culture of mutual respect that defines Mayo Clinic today.
National and Global Renown – Several factors, which parallel Mayo’s current activities, propelled St. Mary’s Hospital and the Mayo practice into early prominence. Highly innovative, St. Mary’s was among the first hospitals to embrace the new “germ theory” of aseptic surgery … the team approach to patient care resulted in remarkable survival rates … city amenities and advances in transportation attracted increasing numbers of patients … the news media reported on the “clinic in the cornfield”… the Mayo brothers served as leaders of many professional organizations and had an “open door” philosophy of welcoming colleagues to exchange information.