ROCHESTER, Minn. – It is one of the greatest expressions of respect that Mayo Clinic can offer any person, or event. On Tuesda,y Oct. 18th, Mayo Clinic will close the doors to the Plummer Building in honor of Sister Generose who passed away Friday at the age of 97.
“The doors were installed on November 10th, 1928, soon after it was determined that they would always be left open because Mayo was always open. Then it evolved over time that we were to close the doors briefly and in a ceremonial sense to honor great, momentous occasions,” explains Matthew Dacy the Director of Heritage Hall, the Mayo Clinic Museum.
The Historic Plummer Building doors are made of solid bronze, stand 16 ft tall and each weigh 4,000 lbs.
Records aren’t clear about the exact number of closings, however only nine have been documented since the 1930s.
- January 2, 1937, Funeral of Dr. Henry S. Plummer
- May 29, 1939, Funeral of Dr. Charles H. Mayo
- July 30, 1939, Funeral of Dr. William J. Mayo
- July 28, 1963, Funeral of Dr. Donald C. Balfour, Sr.
- November 1963, the passing of President John F. Kennedy
- July 31, 1968, Funeral of Dr. Charles W. Mayo
- February 18, 1978, Funeral of Harry J. Harwick
- September 14, 2001, National Day of Mourning for the 9/11 attacks
- January 9, 2012, Memorial service for Dr. Luis F. Bonilla and Mr. David W. Hines
On Tuesday, they will close for a 10th time. It will also mark the first time the doors have been closed for a Franciscan Sister.
“When the doors close it’s a very solemn expression of our deep reverence and marking the moment but then the doors swing open again because we return to our mission of serving patients. So it’s both the closing of the doors and reopening of the doors that’s very significant to us,” Dacy adds.
There will be tributes to celebrate the life and work of Sister Generose throughout next week.
Monday, Oct. 17, a visitation at Assisi Heights 9 a.m.-7 p.m. followed by a vigil at the same location
Tuesday, Oct. 18, the funeral mass at Assisi Heights 11 a.m. Mayo will hold a memorial service that same day at 3 p.m. at Saint Mary’s, that service will be open to the public. Following the memorial at approximately 4 p.m. there will be a ceremony for the closing of the Plummer Building doors. The tower of the Plummer Building will be lighted during the night hours Oct. 17-18 in Sister Generose’s honor.