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The Catalyst

Pastoral Cares Week focuses on spiritual well-being

By Chaplain George M. Rossi
Pastoral Care Services

This year's theme, "Spiritual Well–Being," highlights nourishing the well-spring of supporting and inspiring the spiritual well-being of ourselves and others amid times of both ease and challenge.

Spiritual care providers seek to be present, mindful, compassionate and attuned, knowing that our intentions and actions have a ripple effect on the journeys of others and ourselves. While the nature of patients’ journeys may vary by the seasons of our lives, their spiritual well-being may include transcendence, meaning and purpose, reconnecting and renewing, service, sacredness, strength, harmony, hope, compassion, creativity, gratitude, forgiveness, and love.

The paragraph above gives some interpretive insights to this year’s theme “Spiritual Well–Being” for Pastoral Care Week across America’s hospitals. Spiritual well-being is the goal.
Spiritual well–being can be sometimes lost as people’s faith, beliefs, values, and core principles of life become eroded when difficult words like cancer, stroke, heart attack, brain injury, and car accident are shared in units and rooms across MUSC. Many clinicians and chaplains work together by identifying spiritual distress symptoms (loss of meaning, loss of faith connection, anger, disbelief) and working to comfort by alleviating spiritual pain, suffering and loss of meaning.  

Spiritual distress presents itself and becomes embodied in hospital patients as they  struggle to find meaning amid chronic and acute illness, life-threatening diseases, traumatic events, mental health challenges, and even routine surgeries. When spiritual distress occurs, it is common to see a loss of spiritual wellness in patients and their families. Chaplain and clinician interventions help people to rediscover purpose and connect with their caring communities such as work colleagues, church members, synagogue members, clergy, and even the recreational connections of family members and themselves.

Chaplains seek to help patients rediscover lost purpose and community. The goal is to help people experience love and hope from family, friends and support systems who are important healing agents in the health care matrix. When there is loss of spiritual wellness it is not uncommon for patients to have longer hospital stays and longer healing processes. Actions like active listening, prayers and referrals to spiritual care providers all help patients to remember that healing and wellness can be achieved. Spiritual care helps patients and families meet the core need of spiritual well-being in patients during times of ease and challenge. (Ref:

October 30, 2014



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