CHICAGO — Hospital chaplains continue to minister to the sick during the pandemic.
For Loyola Medicine chaplain Marie Coglianese, the hospital role she holds so dearly took on a new meaning when COVID-19 hit close to home.
Coglianese helps provide spiritual support to patients, family and staff.
“Chaplains do a lot of hugging and touching and smiling,” she said. “And we can’t do any of that, so our eyes become our expression and our words are so important.”
She says they do not enter patient rooms but find other ways to connect.
“The patients can see us thru the window we talk to them on the phone and it’s important they know we are here for them,” she said. “We really have had to answer the call of technology. We’ve used FaceTime, Zoom, telephone, conversations with families.”
I was involved with a patient and family where we did a prayer service and we put the family on Zoom and turned the camera so they could see their loved one. And we did prayers, they shared stories, and we blessed the patient as they continued in their transition in their journey.
Many members of Coglianese’s family have been impacted by the virus.
My mom and my dad and two brothers were COVID positive,” she said. “My dad was admitted to Loyola for eight days. … I felt fear and anxiety. And then I can honestly say I had a peace come over me.”
We’re all made of strength and struggle and I could feel my struggle and I could feel my strength.
Her father has recovered from the virus.
“He is a Loyola success story,” she said. “He survived he’s 87-years-old and he survived COVID. And my mom and two brothers are well too.”
It has been both brutal and sacred at the same time. … It’s been a privilege and it’s been really hard, too. In this time of chaos God is with us.
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