ROCHESTER, Minn. - 100 years. That's how old the longest-working Mayo Clinic employee is. Sister Lauren Weinandt just turned 100-years-old on Monday and 65 of those have been spent at the Mayo Clinic.
Sister Lauren started at Mayo Clinic in 1956 as the secretary to the hospital administrator, but her true passion was in history and at that time, there wasn't an archive at the hospital. She eventually helped create the archive that stands today in Mayo Clinic and the rest is history. "It means a great deal because I think we have to carry on the values in Mayo Clinic," she explained. "They have been so supportive and helpful to us through the years. And will carry on the values and ethics of the clinic and the sisters of St. Francis."
When asked what has kept her waking up every day, wanting to come back to the Mayo Clinic for 65-years, her answer was simple. "Well, I just think it's a lot of fun to come over to work. It's not work - it's fun," she explained.
It's also her home. Sister Lauren heads to her office located in Saint Mary's Hospital every morning at eight o'clock. She spends her day writing poems and cookbooks. She prays for the patients and even after 65 years, she wants to continue learning about the hospital. "I'd rather do something that I like to do to read about the history and there's always something new that I pick up every day," said Sister Lauren. It also doesn't hurt when big names visit the clinic like Jimmy Stewart and Danny Kaye.
But this week, Sister Lauren's job duties look a little different. "If you see, I got a lot of cards. I just got one card this morning from Guam. I don't know how they heard about it over in Guam, but I've got them from so many places," she said. "It's something else. I can't tell you."
Sister Lauren is talking about birthday cards. Her office is stacked full of cards celebrating her 100th birthday - 500 to be exact.
Sister Lauren said the important job of caring for patients is still her favorite part of the day. "That's the main thing I'm here for - to help people," she explained.
The secret to living 100-years, according to Sister Lauren, is to always stay active and love what you do.
In honor of her birthday, Sister Lauren received two big donations to go towards the Poverello Foundation. It's a ministry to help Mayo Clinic patients cope with medical expenses.