Reflections on the Journey
Written by Philip Murray, Spiritual Health Leader and Educator, Spiritual Health / Professional Practice

Sacred spaces matter. Our hospitals, and many of our residential care facilities, have sacred spaces to help support the spiritual health of those we care for.

Marilyn Chan, spiritual health practitioner at Delta Hospital in the new office.

Recently Fraser Health joined the BC Patient Safety and Quality council and health care providers across the globe to celebrate “What Matters to You” Day, launching a campaign focused on supporting what matters to the people we care for. Asking what matters, listening to what matters, and doing what matters for our patients is a core component of providing person-centred care. It wasn’t long before significant actions, events and support was happening across Fraser Health in response to this campaign, including a remarkable moment a patient’s final wish to reconnect with horses from the Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities Association was met in the Surrey Memorial Hospital parking lot.

At Delta Hospital, “What Matters to You Day” began with a special re-dedication ceremony of their Sacred Space. The Sacred Space at Delta Hospital was originally built in 2008 in order to create a quiet and spiritual place for patients, residents, families and staff experiencing the challenges that often come with being in a hospital or residential care facility. It was built in large part out of the generosity of the Arthur-Leung and Paton families.

This past year, a small office was built within the sacred space to provide a ‘home’ for their new spiritual health practitioner Marilyn Chan, enabling her to support those who come to the space to find solace, comfort and peace in addition to her regular duties at the hospital. I was deeply honoured to participate in the re-dedication of Delta Hospital’s Sacred Space, and sensed the serendipity of this ceremony occurring on “What Matters to You Day”.

For many people, hospitals are not enjoyable places to be; they are places where people come in their darkest times. Day after day people who are experiencing profound loss, debilitating grief, and the pain that often happens when sickness and death come into our lives can be found in our hospitals and care facilities. At times like these, it matters for many people that they are able to connect with their spirituality in order to find comfort and peace. Fraser Health recognizes the important role that spiritual health plays in the lives of our patients, residents, clients, families, friends, volunteers and staff.

Our hospitals, and many of our residential care facilities, have sacred spaces to help support the spiritual health of those we care for. We understand how important it is to have a quiet space within our facilities where people can find peace and tranquility, where they can pray, reflect and meditate, a sacred space that is set apart from the rush and chaos that so often is part of the health care experience. For these purposes, sacred spaces matter.

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