"Love is the principle that gives life to Catholic healthcare."
Bishop Emeritus Paul A. Zipfel, D.D.
Bishop of Bismarck
St. Alexius Medical Center, Sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters, is rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition of understanding the important role faith and spirituality can play in alleviating stress and promoting health and healing. That is why Chaplains are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team. They are board-certified professionals who provide supportive spiritual care. They are trained in listening skills, crisis intervention, spiritual assessment and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Chaplains respect the religious and spiritual dimensions of the person's time and space. Never imposing their own belief system, chaplains support and assist the patients and families in their situation. They help patients meet their spiritual needs, find meaning and purpose in their relationship with God, themselves, and others, and in their hopes and desires.
Chaplaincy is about healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling. Our purpose is to be present, listen, seek patient's concerns, and invite them to articulate and define what their spiritual needs and wishes may be.
Chaplains assist families and patients in ethical decisions by guiding them in ordinary or crisis situations and helping families and individuals to make decisions about extraordinary or disproportional means of preserving life. We are advocates who help patients make the best possible morally legitimate choices available to them. Chaplains are challenged and encouraged to reach out and seek new and innovative ways of helping our patients with spiritual needs, illness, and death and dying.
Chaplains offer more than professional skills, they offer themselves. Our Chaplains provide a unique focus on the ministry of Christ through sacraments, prayer, and presence.
Every patient's basic right is to have access to pastoral/spiritual care. This premise is based on respect for the sanctity of life and regard for human dignity and God who has created each person for eternal life. It is because of this that the Chaplain has the right and responsibility to be present to each patient in the Medical Center. Because of this basic right for each patient to have access to pastoral/spiritual care it takes a team approach to assist in providing for these needs.
One way to do this is by recognizing some of these symptoms of Spiritual distress:
Our heritage of healing emphasizes care and concern for the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. Chaplains represent the heart and soul of health care.
The patients and their family members, the professional healthcare staff,
The organization itself, and the community within which it resides."