Father Eugene Doyle and neurosurgeon Mohamad Bydon, M.D., sat together in a consultation room at Mayo Clinic discussing a surgical fix for the pinched nerve that had plagued the Catholic priest's left shoulder for months. Doctor and patient soon realized they had more in common than just healer and healee. "I attended Catholic school as a child," Dr. Bydon tells us. "I have witnessed the positive impact that priests and nuns have on parishioners and broader communities. Given his status in the clergy, I said to Father Doyle, 'If you want us to say a prayer in the morning before surgery, we can do that.' What he did, however, was far better."
Back in his hotel room that night, Father Doyle composed a prayer for all those at Mayo Clinic who would be caring for him the following morning. "One of the things I wanted to convey in the prayer is that it's not just a couple of people who make Mayo Clinic work, it's everybody," Father Doyle tells us. "I also wanted to reflect that many of the people I'd encounter at Mayo do not have the same beliefs I have, but that they'd honor and respect me nonetheless. I wanted to be very inclusive because I knew what I believed religiously wasn't important to my care team. They would only see me as a human being in need of their healing."
With that in mind, Father Doyle wrote, in part:
Lord, as a new patient, I am humbled and grateful for the wisdom, collective knowledge, and expertise of these healers assigned to my care.
I entrust my well-being to them. As they have routinely done so often, they will now confidently take hold of the responsibility of Your healing touch and guiding Spirit this day for me.
For that I am grateful!
So I ask that you bless them as they will soon bless me.
After recovering from surgery and returning home to central Minnesota, Father Doyle sent the prayer to Dr. Bydon by mail along with a letter detailing his gratitude. "I'm elated at how well I feel!" Father Doyle wrote. "I have not rested so much at night in months, perhaps years. … From top to bottom, from beginning to ending, the support and care I received from so many people Mayo Clinic has been stupendous. … I now understand, first hand, why Mayo Clinic is rated number one in the nation again!"
While pleased to have had a hand in improving Father Doyle's quality of life, Dr. Bydon tells us his prayer is what he and his surgical team cherish most. "It means a lot whenever you can help a patient get better," he says. "It's particularly meaningful in this case because priests and ministers are responsible for the spiritual health of their churches. People rely on them, especially in times that are hard. By helping Father Doyle, we helped an entire community."
You can help our ever-growing online community by sharing your comments below before using the handy social media tools to share this story with others.