A Heritage of Loving Service: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson
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Heritage: The Story of St. Mary's Hospital, 1880-1980
By Leo G. Bryne and Sister Alberta Cammack, C.S.J

Chapter II Modern Medical Complex
Pastoral Care

With Sister Julia Mary's encouragement, a formal Department of Pastoral Care was established. The time was ripe for promoting a true ecumenical spirit with the opening of the North Wing which included an Interfaith Chapel. Within several years, Protestant Chaplains became part of Pastoral Care with Jewish Rabbis responding on call.

Today, there is a growing awareness of the need for spiritual healing, a clearing away of resentments and hurtful memories to open up the person's being to powers of natural healing within.

Over the last ten years, the staffs in the Emergency Room and in Critical Care Units have grown to appreciate the responsiveness of Pastoral Care to traumatic and crisis situations. In daily visits, the principal aims are to bring inner peace and to find areas of need which surface as a patient talks and shares anxieties and concerns. Sisters and other hospital Volunteers are given formal orientation for their work as Pastoral Visitors, along with specialized instructions in grief and crisis counseling. Patients listed as having no religious preference are visited to provide what ever support and comfort may be needed and desired. The patient's beliefs and convictions are always respected, and there is no effort toward evangelization; however, the experience of illness is often a turning point in a person's life.

Pastoral visitors, besides giving special attention to patients and their families, also respond to the needs of physicians, nurses and other employees of the hospital. A weekly publication carries a spiritual message and information on the times of Worship Services, and the Interfaith Chapel is open at all times for those who wish to pray.

Spiritual care has always been a part of St. Mary's, and, from the beginning, clergymen have always been welcome to visit their church members and to minister to their spiritual needs.

A close relationship is maintained with the local clergy who visit the hospital, and regular meetings are provided to acquaint them with hospital visiting procedures and to promote a spirit of fellowship.

Besides hospital visits, the department keeps in contact with certain elderly and needy patients through follow-up phone calls and, whenever possible, makes necessary referrals. The Sisters also send notes to the families of deceased patients. There is no human answer to suffering. It is only in going beyond the human to the realms of faith that meaning can be found. Recognition of this fact enables doctors, nurses and other health workers to appreciate the contribution of the Pastoral Visitors to total patient care.

Sister Marie Chapla took over Sister Julia Mary's duties in 1971 as Administrator (1971-1979). Sister Marie had served as Assistant Administrator and was well qualified to carry on the task of directing St. Mary's. Emergency facilities and Mental Health Services expanded and developed during Sister's early years as Administrator.

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