Wednesday, July 04, 2018


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Providential: definition

involving divine foresight or intervention.
"God's providential care for each of us"

I mentioned on the weekend that our brother-in-law, Bill, was being supported with palliative care in a new hospital in Kingston. He has been in declining health in recent months months and during the past couple of weeks his organs failed dramatically with no alternative but to make him comfortable as death approached  Remarkably, after days of unconsciousness he awakened on the morning of his 85th birthday, spoke with medical staff and his wife, Shirley, then drifted back into a sleep from which he didn't awaken. His was a peaceful death last night, and he was surrounded by family members in his final days. The end was not linear and as is so often the case there was soul-searching about the best options for care. Yet he was comforted, surrounded in prayer, and had excellent end-of-life care.

The hospital is Providence Care, on the shore of Lake Ontario. I asked a nurse about the origins of the centre and as I thought it has it is connected to the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. The Sisters of Providence have provided spiritual and health care in Kingston since the early 1860's and while they are no longer active in the way they once were ,the hope is that the ethos of compassionate care remains.

There is a worship space on the palliative floor which is very open and has a labyrinth for those who might walk it contemplatively. It is intentionally devoid of religious symbols in order to be welcoming to those of all faiths or none. Off to the side though there is a small chapel with the "holy hardware" of Roman Catholicism. I was comforted to see this. So often now hospitals which were established as places of healing for body, mind, and spirit have become government healthcare institutions without much acknowledgment of the faith component. And it seems that while concerted fund-raising takes place for hugely expensive medical technology the budgets for chaplaincy and spiritual care dwindle.

As we commend Bill to God's care, thanks to those who attended to Bill's final days with tenderness and authenticity. Christ, enfold Shirley in your love during these days of  grief and recovery. And thanks to the Sisters of Providence for their legacy in the community.


Where have all the codfish gone, long time passing? Today's Groundling blog, with thanks to Peter, Paul, and Mary.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My sister was well cared for in the older Providence facility in Kingston for 4 years. It is good to see a newer one taking its place . Sympathy for your family's loss, David and Ruth.