There are two films for Heritage Days this year – both are original productions funded with generous support from benefactors. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at one. It’s a documentary called Healing Hands: The Sisters of St. Francis and Mayo Clinic. The film will be shown on every Mayo campus throughout Heritage Days, Oct. 4-8.
This project began on a beautiful evening in September 2007. Mayo Clinic had just dedicated the Opus Building in Rochester, and we hosted a dinner to express appreciation to benefactor Gerald Rauenhorst. Dinner was held at Assisi Heights, and Sister Ellen Whelan spoke informally about the historic collaboration between the Franciscan Sisters and Mayo Clinic.
Now, most Mayo events are carefully scripted and orchestrated – but this one took an unexpected turn. Inspired by Sister Ellen’s comments, Mr. Rauenhorst stood up at the end of her remarks and, on the spot, pledged a generous gift to produce a film about that story. Sister Ellen and I took a deep breath, shook hands with Mr. Rauenhorst and promised to fulfill his wonderful intentions.
We knew there were great colleagues and resources to bring this story to life. Sister Ellen had recently published a two-volume history called The Sisters’ Story: Saint Marys Hospital – Mayo Clinic. And Mayo film producer Mark Flaherty has vast experience with historical documentaries. Mayo Clinic Heritage Days was the perfect venue to show the film.
The production process has been an adventure – thanks to Mr. Rauenhorst’s generosity, we were able to conduct interviews with many Sisters … use vintage movies and photos from the Saint Marys Hospital Archives … and film on location in places such as Assisi, Italy (birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare); Remich, Luxembourg, (birthplace of Mother Alfred Moes, who founded Saint Marys Hospital); and Bogotá, Colombia (where the Sisters have an education and health care ministry today). In addition to the footage you will see in this production, we obtained images that can be used in a wide range of exhibits, films and social media for years to come.
Franciscan values are one of the most important cultural taproots of Mayo Clinic, and we hope this film will help bring them alive for you.
Visit the Heritage Days web site for schedules and more information, and plan to attend one of the showings.
The following story was submitted by Matt Dacy, Mayo Clinic Development Office.