Partnering with Sisters of Saint Francis
When the crisis had passed, Mother Alfred Moes approached her friend, Dr. W.W. Mayo, to consider establishing a hospital. Initially, he did not think the project was feasible.
Dr. Mayo was about 44 years old when he settled his family in Rochester in 1864. Prior to that move, he had gathered experience as a pharmacist, a tailor, a census taker, a farmer, a newspaper publisher, a veterinarian, and a ferryboat operator. He also acquired two medical diplomas and the conviction that physicians have a special calling filled with opportunities to help further the progress of their profession and communities.
He also knew how to establish a successful medical and surgical practice, having even mortgaged his home in the 1870s to purchase a microscope. After his sons graduated from medical school in the 1880s, they joined him in practice. Certainly Dr. Mayo understood the considerable sacrifice it would take to establish a hospital.
Mother Alfred persisted and Dr. Mayo agreed, provided the funds could be obtained. Some four years of hard work, frugal living, and saving followed, and the Sisters finally were able to purchase nine acres of land for the new facility in 1887 at a cost of $2,200. The acreage was located west of the city limits. After assembling plans and suggestions from the Mayos, Mother Alfred initiated contracts for the new project in August 1888. Her ability to collaborate was an attribute Mother Alfred became known for in her career; it would become an integral part of the evolution of Mayo Clinic.