Sacred Smoking? Cigarette Breaks and Spiritual Health

The fourth-floor terrace at St Paul’s Hospital is an interesting place that can act as metaphor for the setting of downtown Vancouver itself. It is a space of absolute natural beauty and yet also a space filled with the mundane, sometimes uncomfortable realities of life. In this space, and in the moments of connection that … Continue reading “Sacred Smoking? Cigarette Breaks and Spiritual Health”

In-between spaces and moments in acute hospitals: an unexpected geography of prayer

Everyday interaction in hospitals allows for the crossing of boundaries in unexpected ways, creating in-between spaces and moments. Many nuances emerge when looking at shared spaces and moments between categories that are often perceived as opposites or binaries, such as, for instance ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’. Secular spaces in the hospital can unexpectedly become sacred. For … Continue reading “In-between spaces and moments in acute hospitals: an unexpected geography of prayer”

Platform 5

On Saturday morning, I interviewed Martha (pseudonym), a spiritual care volunteer. As I walked to meet her, I was struck by the hospital’s peacefulness compared to during the weekdays when it is much busier. During our walking interview, Martha showed me the ward that she visits most weekends. This is where she comes to pray … Continue reading “Platform 5”

Contemplative Practices and Prayer

I recently attended an intriguing conference presentation on contemplative pedagogy that left me wondering about the relationship between the contemplative practices and prayer (thanks to my colleagues at UVic Nursing – Drs. Anne Bruce, Deborah Thoun, and Coby Tschanz — who got me thinking!).  The presenters featured the resources of CMind, the Center for Contemplative … Continue reading “Contemplative Practices and Prayer”

About sanctuaries and hospitality

Written by Christina Beardsley,  Knowledge Broker & UK Site Principal Investigator    Above the entrance an inviting sign reads ‘The Sanctuary’, but a notice on the door forbids one to enter: ‘‘Keep Out: Painting in Progress’. When the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital opened in 1994, it had two sacred spaces: the Chapel, dedicated to St … Continue reading “About sanctuaries and hospitality”

Our Father and my father

Written by Sandra Graham, MSN Research Associate As I interview participants for this project and ponder their thoughts on prayer, it is hard not to think about prayer within my own personal context.   In fact, that is a very beneficial consequence of being a part of this research! I have a father with dementia and … Continue reading “Our Father and my father”

Prayer and Violence

We express our deep sympathies to the worshippers at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Quebec City, where violence struck during prayer. We stand in solidarity with people around the world who fear violence because of their beliefs and practices.

Through a glass, colourfully: on the arts in a London hospital

Contributed by Melania Calestani, PhD Research Associate It is another busy Thursday in our London hospital. People go up and down the escalators. Behind the reception area, in the foyer on the ground floor, a rock and roll band is performing today. It does not feel like we are in a hospital; the atrium with … Continue reading “Through a glass, colourfully: on the arts in a London hospital”

Building Rapport

I recently finished a week of immersive fieldwork at our research sites in Vancouver. I parachuted in for the week, and just as I was getting comfortable, parachuted right back out. Although my visit was short, the ethnographic experiences were rich and provided me with much food for thought about the fieldwork process itself. I would … Continue reading “Building Rapport”

Prayer as transgression?

The question, ‘prayer as transgression?’, which is the title of our project, has often been read as a statement. The question itself has raised various responses including, ‘prayer is not negative’ or ‘I don’t agree that prayer is a transgression’. Several people we’ve met during our research have associated the word ‘transgression’ with The Lord’s … Continue reading “Prayer as transgression?”