To the editor:
Thank you, Dale Liesch, for sharing the story of Heart of Mary Catholic School (Lagniappe Cover Story, 10/06/21). Our school has served the Mobile community for 120 years. Your article did a great job of highlighting that service.
Another impactful institution that was birthed out of Heart of Mary Catholic is Franklin Primary Health Centers. Sister Marylin Aeillo came to Mobile as a Siswanan, Dominican Nun in the late 1960s and was one of those who participated in protests for civil rights mentioned in the article.
Inspired by Heart of Mary Church member Dr. James A. Franklin, and his medical practice that charged patients based upon their ability to pay, Sister Marilyn enrolled in Medical School at the University of South Alabama. Upon graduation, Dr. Marylin Aeillo founded Franklin Primary Health Center in 1975, located in the underserved community of what was then known as Davis Ave. (now Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.). Franklin Primary now has 22 clinics across South Alabama such as in Evergreen, where Dr. Franklin opened his first practice in 1918, treating patients with the Spanish flu. His grandson, Dr. Coley Franklin (Heart of Mary Catholic alumnus), is now the resident physician at the Franklin Primary Maysville clinic.
He continues the legacy of service to the Mobile community that his grandfather started over 100 years ago, along with another of Dr. Franklin’s grandsons, Edward Franklin, who works with the Mobile County Health Department and also attended Heart of Mary Catholic. Heart of Mary Catholic is, indeed, “a special school” that continues to impact our city and South Alabama in immeasurable ways.
Karlos F. Finley
School Board Member, HOMC
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