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Nursing Students Receive Blessing of the Hands

January 27, 2014

Jack Morris
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

Nursing students interact with faculty members at the Blessing of the Hands ceremony. (Photo by Dao Le '15) Seventy-four nursing students received the Blessing of the Hands on Friday night as they prepared for their first day of clinical practice. The annual ceremony at the Abbey Church symbolizes a significant step for sophomore nursing students as they begin to apply their classroom studies to direct applications in the field.

Presided over by Fr. Anselm Smedile, O.S.B., the assistant director of Campus Ministry, the ceremony drew over 200 friends, family members, facult, and alumni. "Always remember that you come from a Benedictine nursing program," he said to the students. "For Saint Benedict wrote in his Holy Rule that the care of the sick in the community is an absolute priority which must come before all else so that there may be no doubt that it is Christ who is truly served in them."

Dean of the Nursing department Sharon George explained that nursing is a hands-on profession and that the nurses' hand or touch conveys a message of warmth, caring and understanding. "This ceremony should be a reminder that God has entrusted you with the care of your patients by putting their lives in your hands," said George. "Go forward into your clinical settings, knowing that the Holy Spirit is with you and works through you to heal, support, and comfort your patients and their families."

"This ceremony helps to reframe the students," said Susan Gabert, director of Campus Ministry. "It reminds them of the vulnerability of the people with whom they will encounter."

Those in attendance were also invited to the altar to have their hands blessed. Ed Cantlin '62, who came to support his friends, described the ceremony as an emotional experience. "It was spiritual, peaceful, and touching," he said.