St. Joseph's General Hospital Health Care with Compassion  
Pastoral Care

Our Reflection

"Our distinctive vocation in Christian health care is not so much to heal better or more efficiently than anyone else; it is to bring comfort to people by giving them an experience that will strengthen their confidence in life. The ultimate goal of our care is to give those who are ill, through our care, a reason to hope."
    - Joseph Cardinal Bernadin

Pastoral Care Department

* What is Pastoral Care?
* What does it Involve?
* How does it work?
* Regular Services Provided
* When Life is Ending
* Hospice Palliative Care
* How to Contact Us

Pastoral Care at St. Joseph’s Hospital

The Holy Family

“The Holy Family”
Artist: Mary Southard, CSJ of LaGrange
Courtesy of


There is increasing awareness today that physical well-being (or good health) is more than just a biological or bodily phenomenon. Everything from the conditions in which we live to how we feel about ourselves can contribute to our health or, conversely, make us susceptible to illness. Studies have been conducted which demonstrate that a healthy spirit tends to maintain a healthy body and can aid in recovery where there is illness.

The Pastoral Care personnel are here to assist you in reaching and/or maintaining a healthy state of spiritual well-being.


For many people, their religious beliefs stand at the centre and foundation of their spirituality. Others discover spirituality outside of religious structures. We will try to work within your own belief system to help you access the strength your spirituality can offer to healing you as a person.


The Pastoral Care providers try to greet each new patient admitted to the hospital to make known to you the services which are available through the department.

The kind and style of pastoral care you receive, should you choose to avail yourself of this service, will depend greatly on you. It might be as casual and unstructured as the occasional visit and discussion about matters that concern you.

If you practice religion, formally or informally, we will structure our care in ways familiar and comfortable to you. If you prefer, we will invite a minister or spiritual leader from your own faith community to provide pastoral care.


Prayer can be an important part of this work and has demonstrated remarkably positive results in recent studies, but for some it can be a hard thing to request. The Pastoral Care providers are ready to help you with this at any time.


The Pastoral Care chaplains/visitors will not engage in proselytizing, nor will we try to draw you away from your own beliefs, but rather help you use what you already believe in for your own benefit.



This question is difficult to answer as it is not well understood how or why mind/body/spirit work together. Some things are known; for instance, studies seem to indicate that anger can lower the body's natural immunity. Personal loss or feelings of insecurity can also make a negative contribution.

In the same way, feelings of hope or self-worth, understanding that one is loved and perhaps even in a position to be of help to another - especially a loved one, can all contribute positively to good health.

Sometimes, we have feelings of guilt or regret about something we did or did not do - Pastoral Care will try to help you deal with these and similar issues. Often times, there are matters which cause anxiety because they seem to be left hanging and we don't know what, if anything, we can do about them. Pastoral Care will try to help you find resolution to such "unfinished" business.

These are just some examples, and, while religion can be a good way to approach these situations, there are other ways as well. The Pastoral Care personnel/visitors will try to help you find the way to which you are best suited and that will be of the greatest benefit to you.


  1. Visits and discussions on topics important to you upon request.
  2. Non-denominational services of prayer and/or counselling from one specializing in ministry to the sick.
  3. We can help arrange a visit from the community spiritual leader of your choosing.
  4. Catholic Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. each Thursday (except the first Thursday of the month). Lay ministers of communion from Christ the King Parish come daily with Eucharist.
  5. Anglican Eucharist: first Wednesday of the month at 10:30 a.m.
  6. Anointing of the sick is available to any who desire it - both as a Catholic sacrament or non-denominational service of anointing - upon request.
  7. Sacrament of Reconciliation is available on request to anyone who wishes it.
  8. Christian Non-denominational Sunday Service takes place each Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the Extended Care Unit.
  9. Christian Non-denominational worship service takes place each Thursday in the sunroom of the Third Floor (Acute Care) at 11:00 a.m.


It is appropriate to say a word about dying. Death is not a disease, but rather the natural conclusion to human life and an experience we all know we shall share.

Because of the nature of a hospital, we know that a certain number of illnesses, accidents and injuries, or the above in combination with advancing age or other bodily weakness, will result in death. Some of these will be more predictable than others. The Pastoral Care personnel/visitors are prepared to assist the dying and their families through this time.


Hospice Palliative Care, whose special concern is to care for the terminally ill both in hospital as well as at home, is also available and can be contacted through the hospital staff. You may contact this department directly by calling 339-5533 or 890-3000.


For Ethics Support consult your physician or program manager or contact Pastoral Care:

  • Emergency Pager: Daily 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (250) 703-7094
  • Pastoral Care and Ethics Coordinator: Steve Hill (250) 339-1474; or local 61474
  • Chaplain, Brian Ducedre (250) 339-1531 or local 61531