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.”
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.
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 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.
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.”
Have a story to share about health care? An idea for an article? We value all contributions.