What We Believe
Spirituality is that part of each individual that seeks to find meaning and purpose in life. There are a myriad of ways people may give expression to that which is centering, sacred or revered in this regard. The Spiritual Care team respectfully honours the many expressions of spirituality, religious or otherwise that patients, families and staff may draw upon in their life experience. In collaboration with other members of the healthcare team, professional Spiritual Care Providers help to integrate spiritual and religious aspects of care, as defined by the individual, into the care of the whole person - body, mind and spirit.
What We Do
Members of the Spiritual Care team at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are trained and certified professionals who follow the standards set by the Canadian Association of Pastoral Practice and Education (www.cappe.org). Within their scope of practice and in accordance with the CAPPE Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Spiritual Care Professionals:
• Provide spiritual and religious care to inpatient and outpatient populations and their attending family members and friends
• Provide twenty-four hours/seven days a week accessibility to spiritual care services
• Record spiritual care visits in inpatient charts
• Coordinate and provide services of commemoration or memorial
• Provide liaison services with community faith and spiritual tradition representatives
• Explore the spiritual significance and meaning experienced in times of sickness
• Examine the implications of one’s life, family and community as a result of the medical experience
• Support staff as they provide care to patients and families
• Provide bereavement support
• Facilitate and provide spiritual and faith based activities
How We Can Help
As a Catholic organization, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton and inspired by the life and healing mission of Jesus, our Spiritual Care Providers respect and value each person’s spiritual, religious and cultural beliefs. Among the times when a member of the Spiritual Care team can provide support to patients, families and staff are the following:
• When patients, family members or staff requests spiritual support
• When patients, family/friends or staff are in crisis and may benefit from spiritual and emotional support
• When a patient is close to death or has died
• When faith and/or spirituality is of obvious importance
• When a patient, family is struggling with impending surgery, prognosis or diagnosis; death and dying, grief and significant loss
• When life altering decisions are being made or need to be made
• When questions or concerns of a spiritual or religious nature arise
• When questions or concerns of an ethical or moral nature arise
• When prayer, spiritual reflection, or specific spiritual or religious related rituals are requested
• When the treatment team requires a religious/spiritual assessment of a patient
• When a patient is separated from or has few visible supports
• When staff struggle spiritually with workplace challenges
Questions a patient may wish to explore with a member of the Spiritual Care Team:
• How can I find the strength I need to cope with what I’m going through right now?
• My world seems to be closing in on me. What do I have to live for today?
• Why is this happening to me? Is there anything good that can come of this?
• I feel unsettled. How can I find peace and forgiveness?
• Why is it that nothing feels important anymore?
• How can looking after my spirit help my body heal?
• Where is God? Is there something I did to deserve what I’m going through?
Other Members of the Team
Spiritual Care residents, students and volunteers also contribute to the work of the Spiritual Care Department and receive the direction and supervision of the staff chaplains, educators and teaching supervisors.
Clergy and Spiritual Leaders of any faith group or spiritual tradition are welcome and are encouraged to visit patients who are members of their particular parish or congregation. Any member of the Spiritual Care Department will be happy to facilitate this connection for patients and families who request it.
Supervised Pastoral Education
The Spiritual Care Department at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton provides a robust Supervised Pastoral Education (SPE) program including Residencies that combine Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and Pastoral Counselling Education (PCE). We also offer both intensive and extended programs of CPE. To learn more, please link to the Education site on our homepage.
For information regarding Spiritual Care at each of the three campuses, please click on the appropriate link below:
Spiritual Care Office
Level 1, Dowling Wing - Rm. D127
Open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
PHONE: (905) 522-1155 Ext. 33263
Availability of Spiritual Care Services
Please contact a Spiritual Care team member or any member of your healthcare team to request spiritual care services at any time.
In the evenings and weekends, an on-call Spiritual Care Provider is available on a seven day/24-hour basis and can be contacted through the Switchboard at (905) 522-1155 Ext. 33311
The Chapel is open and available to you, your family and friends 24 hours a day for services, for prayer or spiritual reflection, or as a place of peace and quiet. It is located on Level 1, Juravinski Innovation Tower (Near the main entrance)
There are Quiet Rooms on most surgical and medical units. They are available to family and significant others of critically ill patients.
Faith-based and Spiritual Services:
Mass is celebrated in the Hospital Chapel, Level 1, Juravinski Innovation Tower,
Monday-Friday - 11:45 a.m. (including holidays)
Sunday - 9:00 a.m.
Mass is also televised on in-hospital channel 82. (Hospital clothing acceptable at all services).
• weekly on the Continuing Care Unit, Level 5, Juravinski Innovation Tower
• regularly on the Geriatric Unit, Level 4, Sr. Mary Grace Wing.
Unit staff can provide information regarding the day and time of these services. Again, hospital clothing is acceptable at all services.
Memorial Gatherings are held for families and friends of patients and staff who have died. These are held on the fourth Thursday of January, April, July, and October at 4:00 p.m. in the hospital’s Chapel.
Pregnancy Loss & Stillbirth
Parents who have lost a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth are invited to attend these services held on the first Tuesday in June and December at 7:00 p.m. in the hospital's Chapel.
Please make requests through a member of the Spiritual Care team, or any member of your healthcare team to make arrangements for the celebration and administration of the Sacraments (Eucharist, Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Sick).
For those of the Roman Catholic faith tradition, Communion is available daily (except Saturday) on all units, upon request. For all others, arrangements can be made by speaking to the Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain assigned to your unit, or by contacting any member of the Spiritual Care team.
A New Testament and the Psalms is provided at each bedside. A complete Bible is also available by calling the Spiritual Care Department (Ext. 33263). We will endeavor to obtain sacred literature of other faith groups when a request is received.
Spiritual Care and the Mental Health Program
The Spiritual Care Department provides spiritual and emotional support for our patients and their families as well as our staff, particularly in times of crisis and loss. We advocate for the spiritual wellbeing of all our patients, of any faith or spiritual tradition and can often arrange visits from their own faith group leaders. The Spiritual Care department has information regarding the spiritual needs of a number of different faiths and spiritual traditions and can help in facilitating the religious and spiritual practices of inpatients.
Availability of a Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain
The Spiritual Care office is located in the J wing (J112). The phone extension is 35510.
A Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain is on site from Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
A Catholic priest is available on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9:00am and 3:00 pm. His office is J103B or you may call him at extension 36354.
Outside regular business hours, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on weekends, if a need for spiritual care arises or if a Catholic priest is required, please call extension 33311 and ask to have the on-call Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain paged.
Spiritual Care residents and students are also available part-time. Their office is J103A, or you may call extension 36284.
The department also has available a contract chaplain, local clergy, communion ministers and spiritual care visitors.
Referrals for Spiritual Care can also be made by outpatient departments at the West 5th Campus.
Individual Memorial Services and debriefings may be arranged with the Spiritual Care Provider/Chaplain following the death of someone from the Mental Health community. Please contact 35510. All members of the Mental Health community who have died are also remembered, collectively, at the annual Candlelight Vigil held on the first Monday of October.
Memorial Gatherings are held for families and friends of patients, volunteers and staff who have died while in St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. These are held on the fourth Thursday of January, April, July, and October at 4:00 p.m. in the hospital’s Chapel at the Charlton Campus.
Faith-Based and Spiritual Services
Unit-based ecumenical services are provided on G2 and A1, weekly. Communion is provided once per month.
The West 5th Chapel
The chapel is located in the E wing (E) and is kept locked for fire safety reasons. It is frequently open during the week from 12:30 to 1:00 pm with a member of the Spiritual Care Department present. At any other time, patients may visit accompanied by staff.
• An Ecumenical service is held on Sunday at 9:00 am. Communion is available once per month.
• Roman Catholic Mass is held Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm. Communion is also available for those unable to be physically present at the Mass. Roman Catholic patients who would like to receive communion on Sunday mornings, please call the Spiritual Care Provider/ Chaplain at ext 35510 before Friday at 5:00pm.
• A meditation group is provided on Wednesdays at 1:00 pm
Spirituality groups are provided on A2 weekly and on B2, C2 & D2 in a three-week rotation.
Members of the Spiritual Care staff provide some individual bereavement support for clients. Referrals for follow-up can also be arranged with a certified bereavement counselor.
• An annual Christmas Candlelight service
• An annual Candlelight Vigil for Mental Illness Awareness Week
• Smudging Ceremonies may be requested
• Labyrinth Walks facilitated quarterly at Summer and Winter Solstices and Spring and Autumn Equinox
The Spiritual Care Provider at the King campus offers bereavement support and counseling to individuals who have suffered a significant loss in their lives. For some people this individual support and counseling provides a needed bridge to participation in a community-based support group. Those wishing to make a referral or to inquire about this service are asked to do so by calling (905) 573 -7777 Ext. 38078.