Historical photo of an early Mayo Clinic surgery being performed.

The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science

By Mayo Clinic Staff

An in-depth look at Mayo Clinic, then and now

Mayo Clinic is honored to be featured in the PBS documentary "The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science." This two-hour documentary, executive-produced by Ken Burns and directed by Burns, Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers, aired on PBS in the fall of 2018.

PBS summary

Featuring interviews with patients including John McCain and the Dalai Lama, the film tells the story of William Worrall Mayo, an English immigrant who began practicing medicine with his sons Will and Charlie in the late 1800s in Rochester, Minnesota.

When a deadly tornado tore through their small community in 1883, the Mayos took charge of recovery efforts, enlisting the help of the nearby Sisters of Saint Francis to care for patients. Afterward, Mother Alfred Moes, the leader of the convent, told Dr. Mayo she had a vision from God that instructed her to build a hospital, with Dr. Mayo as its director. She believed it would become "world renowned for its medical arts."

Blending historical narrative with contemporary patient stories, "The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science" is a timely look at how one institution has met the changing demands of medical research, education and health care for 150 years — and what that can teach us about the challenges patients face today.

Learn more at PBS.org

Illustrated companion book

"The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science" chronicles the history of Mayo Clinic, from its roots as an unlikely partnership between a country doctor and an order of Franciscan nuns to its position today as a leader in patient care, research and education.

Cover image for documentary companion book.

Buy the book now

Learn more about Mayo Clinic's history