100 years of life, 75 at Saint Marys
In 1938, a young Franciscan sister walked to the door of Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys. "And I was met at the door by Sister Fabian (Halloran), who was one of the five sisters who opened the hospital," Sister Antoine Murphy said Wednesday....
In 1938, a young Franciscan sister walked to the door of Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys.
"And I was met at the door by Sister Fabian (Halloran), who was one of the five sisters who opened the hospital," Sister Antoine Murphy said Wednesday. Halloran, small in stature, had eyes that "just exuded compassion."
Murphy, who's still at Saint Marys 75 years later, celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday.
Halloran's empathy toward others rubbed off on Murphy, who asked the organizers of her birthday party to invite everyone she interacted with over the years at the hospital, from any department.
Franciscan sisters still living at the hospital joined her, as did sisters visiting for the afternoon from Assisi Heights, Mayo Clinic staff, volunteers and community members.
"We work really closely with the sisters, and they become like your family," said Saint Marys environmental-services provider Nadine Faupel after a short visit.
Joyce Gibbs, who got to know Murphy while working at the hospital gift shop, joked that somebody must have made a mistake.
"It's not possible for her to be 100," agreed Cecelia Lamb, a Saint Marys Auxiliary volunteer.
Murphy is one of the few people left who remember Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie Mayo.
When she was a young nursing student in 1938, the Mayo brothers, during their retirement, "had the habit of coming out to the hospital unexpectedly and just visiting with the doctors and nurses…they were very interested in what the doctors and nurses were doing," she said.
During one of her courses, she was in the lab with other students as they studied with petri dishes. A knock at the door was answered by the instructor "and it was Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie."
They spent time talking with each student. The Mayo brothers both passed away the following year, in 1939.
"I dearly love her," said Sister Tierney Trueman, incoming coordinator of the Mayo Clinic Values Council. "There's something about her gentle wisdom."
She may be gentle, but as nursing supervisor of the Joseph-7 orthopedic floor, Murphy ran a tight ship.
"She was my first supervisor," said nurse Margaret Beirne.
Murphy said nurses at the time watered plants in the patients' rooms, gave patients back rubs every four hours (every two hours post-op), used rubbing alcohol with the back rubs and then baby powder to prevent bedsores, placed a red goo called "scarlet red' over a wound and kept it sealed for a week to give the wound time to heal and brought patients a wash basin before lunch and dinner (in addition to daily showers) so patients could wash their hands and brush their teeth.
Murphy made sure patients got "superb care."
"Sister always made sure that we washed all the beds," Beirne said. "We had a bottle brush to wash every spring."
Gynecologist Dr. Mary Gallenberg said she got to know Murphy because of her love of animals.
"She's such a graceful, gentle person and our dogs know that," Gallenberg said. "And they love to be with her and giver her puppy smooches."
"All the doctors respected her so much," said nurse Eileen Thein.
The birthday party included a pecan pie (Murphy is not a fan of cake) topped with a candle for each decade of her life.
Custodial workers rushed in with fire extinguishers, saying they heard a cake with 100 candles was aflame, to lots of laughs.
Even Winona Diocese Bishop John Quinn stopped by.
"Pope Francis called me this morning…," he began, saying Murphy demonstrates the values Francis is emphasizing.
Quinn led a chorus of Happy Birthday — one of three during the celebration.
On the day of Murphy's birth (Jan. 15, 1914), those in attendance were told, Henry Ford inaugurated the Model T assembly line.
Murphy said she enjoyed "every minute" of the birthday gathering.