Saint Marys Nursing School graduates celebrate 50 year reunion t - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Saint Marys Nursing School graduates celebrate 50 year reunion this weekend

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Reporter Alanna Martella sits with (from left) Carole Whitfield Gordon, Mary Kennedy Price, Charlotte Hostert Carey, and Kathy Shaefer Dale and chats about their days at Saint Marys Nursing School. Reporter Alanna Martella sits with (from left) Carole Whitfield Gordon, Mary Kennedy Price, Charlotte Hostert Carey, and Kathy Shaefer Dale and chats about their days at Saint Marys Nursing School.
ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -

The Saint Marys School of Nursing saw 3,865 graduates during the 64 years of the schools existence from 1906 to 1970.

The school might not exist anymore, but that doesn't mean the same can be said for the friendships and bonds created among the students.

Each year, graduates come to Rochester and gather for their class reunion.

This year is a special year for the class of 1966, it's their 50th reunion!

Fifty years ago, Charlotte Hostert Carey, Kathy Shaefer Dale, Carole Whitfield Gordon, and Mary Kennedy Price began a journey that would impact their lives forever.

"We were so lucky to be accepted into Saint Marys School of Nursing in the first place, because it was one of the best schools in the country.," said Carey.

The women went to Saint Marys for an education, but they said they gained so much more.

"We went through so many things together that we are each others' family. And we are to this day!" said Gordon.

Though their careers all took different curves and paths relating to nursing (Mary even made her way to Vietnam as a war nurse!), one thing stayed straight as a rail: Their friendship.

Of her time in Vietnam, Price said, "Our patients, all the soldiers, were young. They were 17, some of them. 18, 19, years old. I rarely saw any of them that were as old as me and I was only 23 years old.”

Many memories were made at school.

There were the good times.

"Do you remember sitting in the TV room in the basement of Marian Hall watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan? Everybody was down there, we were all down there in our pajamas," said Carey.

There were tough times.

“Shortly after we started, President Kennedy was assassinated. So we all went through the grief of that,” added Carey.

And, the group remembered that the notion of “poor college students” has pretty much always been a “thing”.

"We didn't have a paycheck, we had no money. We did some babysitting for the residents and physicians families, but we lived very poorly," said Dale, as she laughed.

Dale added, “We worked the hours we weren't there for education, we were working for our room and board. So it was a very meager existence, and what money came from home, we were lucky to get.”

The foursome said their education at Saint Marys School of Nursing was unlike any other.

"The nuns that ran that hospital were such role models to us. Their compassion and dedication to the patients was just un-excelled, un-equalled by anything we have ever seen," said Carey.

"They gave us so much, not only in the knowledge that we needed in order to practice nursing, but in the compassion and understanding it took in order to practice nursing," said Gordon.

This weekend, any and everything will be celebrated.

"To come together with all these gals, 50 years later, many of whom we haven't seen in those 50 years. And still be so excited about seeing them and sharing our stories. I can't wait! Friday night, Saturday, it's going to be wonderful!" said Gordon.

The ladies said they believe they had 103 graduates in their class of 1966, and said they're expecting about 70 to come to this weekend's festivities.

Here's to 50 more years of friendship, love, and caring to be shared among Charlotte, Carole, Kathy, and Mary, all stemming from a decision made so long ago.

The Saint Marys School of Nursing will have events going on all weekend long throughout Rochester.

Sunday is the highlight: There will be a special mass and breakfast at Saint Marys Hospital, with the current nuns who work there.

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