The special joy of nature-loving boy Howard Kelly was hiking great distances and studying animals in the wild. On a walking trip, up through Northern Pennsylvania one spring, young Kelly stopped by a small farmhouse for a drink of cool spring water. A little girl answered his knock at the door, and instead of water, she brought him a glass of fresh milk. He thanked her profusely and went on his way.

After years of medical studies, he became Dr. Kelly. Dr. Howard Kelly (1858-1943) was a distinguished physician who was one of the four founding doctors of Johns Hopkins, the first medical research university in the U.S. and, arguably, one of the finest hospitals anywhere. In 1895, he established in that school the department of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

Over the course of his career, Doctor Kelly advanced the sciences of gynecology and surgery, both as a teacher and as a practitioner. Some years later, that same little girl from Northern Pennsylvania who had given him that glass of milk years ago, came to him for an operation.

Just before she left for home, fearful of a huge bill, her bill was brought into the room and across its face was written in a bold hand,

“Paid in full for one glass of milk.”

That was Dr. Kelly’s style of showing gratitude and hospitality. While he charged the rich patients substantial fees, he provided his services free-of-charge to the less fortunate. By his conservative estimate, in 75% of his cases he neither sought nor received a fee.

Today’s Scriptures challenge us to practice hospitality, seeing Christ in others.

Submitted by Fr. Joseph Dovari