ROCHESTER, Minn. – A public memorial was held on Tuesday for Sister Generose Gervais, the long-time administrator of Saint Mary’s Hospital, who died earlier this month.
Following the memorial, a ceremony was held outside of the Historic Plummer Building on the Annenberg Plaza at Mayo Clinic. Dozens of people filled the plaza as a pipe band played.
This was just the 10th time on record that the 16ft tall bronze doors have been closed. It’s considered one of the greatest expressions of respect Mayo Clinic can pay a person or event.
Before Tuesday, the last time the doors were ceremoniously closed was in 2012 after a Mayo helicopter crash in Florida. The closing of the doors is a tradition that began shortly after the building was complete. One of the first times Mayo has on record was for the funeral of Dr. Henry Plummer in 1937. Events such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the 9/11 attacks have also prompted door closings.
Sister Generose is the first Franciscan Sister to receive this honor.
“Sister Generose was a person of great significance and she also symbolized the very important relationship between the Franciscans and the Mayo Clinic,” explains Dr. Paul Scanlon, Medical Director, Humanities at Mayo Clinic.
The doors remained closed until 9:00 p.m on Tuesday night. The lights on the Plummer Building tower were on to honor Sister Generose Tuesday evening as well.
Memory books will be available Oct. 14-21 in the lobby of the Francis Building for staff, patients and visitors to share tributes and memories of Sister Generose. In terms of memorials, Sister Generose told those close to her that the best way to remember her was “through gifts to the Poverello fund or your good works.”