Chapel relocated at Misericordia Community Hospital

After 50 years, a community gave thanks and bid farewell to the chapel at the Misericordia Community Hospital.

The chapel needed to be relocated to make space for the construction of a new Emergency department at the busy west Edmonton hospital. The chapel closed its doors on Feb. 7.

An interim location for the chapel, located in B-016 by the cafeteria, opened on Feb. 11. This space will help meet the needs of patients, staff and visitors until a new chapel is built on the second floor of the main building.

“The chapel is the spiritual heartbeat of the hospital,” says Vera Atkinson, Chaplain at the Misericordia. “It is a place of gathering to share the fullness of life, in times of joy and in times of grief and sadness.”

Leo Klug lights the Candle of Thanksgiving during a ceremony to celebrate and share gratitude to the chapel and many memories of its service. The chapel has served the west Edmonton community and busy hospital for the past 50 years.

The chapel was designed, built and paid for by the Sisters of the Misericordia in 1969. Though it was initially a private sanctuary, the Sisters soon opened its doors to the nursing students and community. Since then, it has served many generations, including patients, families and hospital staff.

Even for people who do not consider themselves religious, many find it an important space, says Vera. 

Vera Atkinson, Chaplain at the Misericordia Community Hospital

“The chapel is a place of stillness for patients and families to process the changes that are happening in their lives,” says Vera. “It also provides counterbalance in the daily chaos of work and pressure for staff.” 

The sacred space is an inclusive one for all faiths and all people seeking peace or comfort. 

“It holds Roman Catholic Mass and smudging ceremonies, and has a designated area for Muslim prayer,” says Vera. “It also welcomes non-religious spiritual practices such as loving kindness meditation, integrative drum circles and labyrinth walks.” 

The chapel at the Misericordia Community Hospital is an inclusive space for all faiths. The space provides safe sanctuary for Muslim prayer as well as smudging ceremonies, loving kindness meditation and drum circles.

The needs of patients, families and staff will continue to be met as the chapel moves to its interim space. All spiritual services will remain available in the interim location, which will be open 24/7 to visitors seeking quiet sanctuary.

Patients, families and staff were invited to come forward and share a personal reflection about the chapel at the Misericordia Community Hospital during the candle-lighting ceremony. The chapel will be relocated in the hospital to make space for the construction of a new Emergency department.

A new Emergency department will be constructed on top of the land where the chapel currently resides, says Vera.

“My hope is that the spirit of the chapel will live on in the new Emergency department, where people will find safety, dignity and compassion,” says Vera. “The chapel’s energy—that spiritual heart—will carry forward and help provide deeper healing.”

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