March 6: William W. Mayo, Charles F. Menninger, and Their Sons, Pioneers in Medicine, 1911, 1953
March 6, 2011 16 Comments
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William W. Mayo, with his two sons, William J. Mayo and Charles H. Mayo, built St. Mary’s, the ﬁrst general hospital in Minnesota. When a devastating tornado struck Rochester, Minnesota, in August 1883, the Mayos joined with the Sisters of St. Francis to respond to the disaster. This partnership between the Episcopalian Mayos and the Roman Catholic Sisters raised a few eyebrows, but became well known for a new type of patient care that emphasized the whole person, spiritually as well as physically.
Building on a vision of doctors working as a team with other medical professionals, not as solo diagnosticians, the Mayos aggressively opened their doors to other doctors and medical researchers. St. Mary’s Hospital and what would become The Mayo Clinic became a model for integrating person-centered medical care with the best in cutting edge scientiﬁc and medical research. The Mayo Clinics continue today as outstanding centers for patient care and medical research.
Charles F. Menninger, together with his sons, Karl and William, were pioneers in establishing a new kind of psychiatric treatment facility in Topeka, Kansas, founded in 1925. They played a major role in transforming the care of the mentally ill in ways that were not only more medically effective, but were also more humane. Among the notable accomplishments of the Menninger Clinic has been its advocacy for better treatment and a more informed public policy in support of the needs of the mentally ill.
In 1973, Dr. Karl Menninger wrote the inﬂuential book Whatever Became of Sin? The work looks at sin—personal, corporate, and systemic—and insists that recognizing sin, within us and among us, is a key component in personal and relational health. He believed strongly that naming sin and dealing with its consequences contributes positively to good health in persons and in communities. The book was a standard textbook in theological seminaries for a generation or more.
The work of the Mayos and Menningers was transformative because of their commitment to treating the whole person—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I Divine Physician, your Name is blessed for the work and witness of the Mayos and the Menningers, and the revolutionary developments that they brought to the practice of medicine. As Jesus went about healing the sick as a sign of the reign of God come near, bless and guide all those inspired to the work of healing by thy Holy Spirit, that they may follow his example for the sake of thy kingdom and the health of thy people; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
II Divine Physician, we bless your Name for the work and witness of the Mayos and the Menningers, and the revolutionary developments that they brought to the practice of medicine. As Jesus went about healing the sick as a sign of the reign of God come near, bless and guide all those inspired to the work of healing by your Holy Spirit, that they may follow his example for the sake of your kingdom and the health of your people; through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 38:1-8
Preface of the Epiphany
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
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