Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- Mayo Clinic is mourning the loss of its longest-serving employee. 

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A spokesperson said Tuesday morning that Sister Lauren Weinandt passed away peacefully on Monday at the age of 101. She had been working at Mayo since 1956. 

A statement from Mayo Clinic regarding Sister Lauren’s passing reads in part: “Sister Lauren embodied Franciscan values and brought boundless compassion and joy to patients and staff during her 67 years of service. She will be greatly missed.” 

YouTube/Mayo Clinic News Network
YouTube/Mayo Clinic News Network
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A post announcing Sister Lauren's passing on Mayo Clinics website says she was born Magdalen Teresa Weinandt on Aug. 2, 1921, on a farm near the southwest Minnesota community of Brewster. Several Mayo Clinic leaders reflected on Sister Lauren's life and career in the post.

"Sister Lauren showed us how to live and work with joy," says Ken Ackerman, associate administrator of Hospital Operations. "Her smile was ever-present. She lived a life devoted to service and love. Mayo Clinic is a better place because she was a part of it."

 

"Sister Lauren exemplified the values of Mayo Clinic's founders, the Sisters of Saint Francis and the Mayo family," says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. "She was a role model for putting the needs of the patient first."

 

"Sister Lauren loved without discrimination," Sister Cashel Weiler said. "Her heart kept no business hours. God told St. Francis to rebuild the church. Sister Lauren rebuilt the church day by day, hour by hour, ministering to everyone who walked into her office from all walks of life, from all nations, from all faiths and races, from all cultures."

A 2021 feature story celebrating Sister Lauren’s 100th birthday on Mayo Clinic’s website says she began her career with the healthcare provider as a secretary to the hospital administrator at Saint Mary's Hospital. She most recently served as the archivist at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester

“Spend a few minutes with Weinandt and your spirit will lift. She shares laughter and a smile without effort. Her joy and gratitude come from those around her. And she prays daily for everyone. Her faith and her calling have been her life's desire,” the story says. 

During her time at Mayo Sister Lauren was known as a comforting presence for anyone who came through her door. This included anonymous and well-known patients such as Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Bush and Mother Teresa, the Mayo Clinic announcement says. 

Mayo Clinic donated $1 million in 2021 to the Poverello Fund, which provides financial support for Mayo Clinic patients in need, in honor of Sister Lauren's 100th birthday. Crews also broke ground last November on a new gazebo at St. Mary’s Hospital that will bear Sister Lauren’s name. It replaces a gazebo that she would pray at since her first days at Mayo that had to be removed for hospital expansion. 

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Mayo Clinic News Network
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“To have this gazebo built for the Sisters and Mayo staff is my greatest honor and my greatest joy,” Sister Lauren said in a December 2022 article on the website Sisters of St. Francis. “I hope that as they use it for years to come, they will think of all those who came before them and the legacy that they are now a part of. It is Mayo Clinic’s gift to them.” 

The gazebo is set to open this summer. Mayo Clinic is flying flags at half-staff in honor of Sister Lauren.

Story updated to include information from Mayo Clinic's announcement of Sister Lauren's passing. 

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