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Little clinic run by Order of Malta close to serving its 25,000th patient


Dr. Vona Lorenzano and Dr. Thomas Wallace meet Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a church law expert and former head of the Vatican's highest court, March 19 at the free Order Of Malta health clinic in Oakland, Calif. Cardinal Burke visited the clinic to offer his blessing, and get a glimpse of how the uninsured are treated. (CNS photo/Michele Jurich, The Catholic Voice)

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OAKLAND, Calif. (CNS) -- The Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California is expecting to receive its 25,000th patient visit sometime in this spring.

What the clinic didn't expect this year was a visit from the patron of the Order of Malta. U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke came by on a Sunday afternoon to offer his blessing, and get a glimpse of how the uninsured are treated at the clinic at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

The cardinal, who had been to San Francisco the previous week for a canon law conference, crossed the bay March 19 to celebrate Mass at St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland before coming to the cathedral.

Members of the Order of Malta, who have nurtured the clinic through its first eight years, lined the waiting room as the cardinal arrived. The cardinal was greeted by Oakland Bishop Michael C. Barber and Father George Mockel, vicar general.

In turn, the cardinal got to greet patient Sister Magdalene Yee, a Mercy sister who is now a member of the Servants of Christ Lay Community, as she came for a follow-up visit with the clinic's medical director, Dr. Vona Lorenzano.

"Welcome," the cardinal greeted Sister Yee.

With the patient's permission, the cardinal had the chance to observe as nurse practitioner Ron Connolly took her vital signs before escorting her to one of the clinic's three exam rooms.

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