Blessing of the Hands Sends Off Sophomore Nursing Students

January 29, 2018

By Hannah Harper '18

On January 26 in the Abbey Church, the nursing class of 2020 prepared with faith and encouragement for their first clinical experiences with a blessing of their hands provided by their nursing faculty.  

With great ceremony, 83 nursing students proceeded into the church wearing their designated uniforms for clinical rotations: navy blue scrubs embroidered with the Saint Anselm logo and white leather shoes. Each rising nurse was individually called to have his or her hands blessed. Afterwards, other health care professionals in the audience were also invited to receive a blessing.

 “The Blessing of the Hands was a beautiful ceremony that validated our work so far as nursing majors,” said Erin McCosh '20. She added that it put her in the “right mindset to start our clinical rotation and begin to work in [the] real world.”

A beloved tradition at the college, the Blessing of the Hands is for sophomore nursing students who are beginning clinical work for the first time.  

Nursing professor and college alumna Ann Fournier '99 (who was in charge of planning this year’s ceremony) explains that the tradition of blessing hands is long-held by Christian nursing practices. “The ceremony reminds student nurses of the work of their hands as a gift from God and as a tool for His work,” she says.

Fournier advises the nursing students to “prayerfully prepare themselves to be present with each person for whom they care,” saying, “We are very blessed to call ourselves nurses and student nurses…it is a gift and a calling.”

During the event, Maureen O’Reilly, executive director of the Nursing Department, and senior nursing student Amanda Flaherty, president of the Student Nurses’ Association, both offered encouraging words to the students as they begin their journeys into the professional world of nursing.

Abbot Matthew Leavy, O.S.B. and Fr. Stephen Lawson, O.S.B. presided over the blessing.

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