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Spiritual ceremony marks end of Franciscan sponsorship of Mayo hospital

Brad Williams

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Franciscan nuns and other spectators light candles during a ceremony transferring control of the former St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse to Mayo Clinic
The singing of hymns and lighting of candles might seem unusual for marking the end of a legal business partnership.
But, not so unusual as the Franciscan nuns of La Crosse formally end their sponsorship of the local hospital they founded in 1883, and turn it over completely to Mayo Clinic.
Both Mayo and the Franciscans signed transfer papers during a ceremony at the hospital chapel on Wednesday.
Current FSPA president Sister Eileen McKenzie noted that the nuns tried to follow spiritual examples in starting the hospital, which Mayo joined in 1995.
Mayo’s regional vice president in La Crosse, Dr. Paul Mueller, says it would be hard to imagine a world without the Franciscan order of La Crosse…which would mean no hospital on West Avenue, and no Viterbo University.
The Franciscans announced the end of their sponsorship a year ago.
In return, Mayo will pay the nuns nearly $40 million in cash, along with the transfer of a parking lot on Market Street.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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