Spiritual Care

Spiritual Care

Honoring Spirituality as an Essential Component of Healing

Our chaplains offer spiritual care to patients and families, responding to each person’s unique values and beliefs. We care for persons of every faith background, including those who do not have a particular religious tradition. There is always a chaplain available to respond to spiritual needs. Chaplains are trained to help people sort through issues of meaning and value as they face crises or transitions in their lives.

Supporting Patients' Spiritual and Emotional Needs

The Spiritual Care staff at Windham Hospital work closely with other members of the healthcare team, offering spiritual care and emotional support while you or your loved one is in the hospital. Our chaplains can help people of different traditions and cultures cope with the stress of illness, injury, and being in the hospital. They are here to serve anyone at any point on their spiritual and emotional journey.

Your Spiritual Care Team

Meet Our Chaplains

Reverend Mary C. Horan graduated from the University of CT with a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and set about working in healthcare for all of her career. She returned for another graduate degree, this time to Andover Newton Theological School in Boston where she completed her Divinity Degree and then a residency in clinical pastoral education at Harford Hospital.

She was ordained in 2012 and assumed the role of chaplain at Windham Hospital and later Regional Director of Spiritual Care for HHC. Mary is board certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains and serves on the CT Hospital Association for Spiritual Care Directors.

Chaplin MaryAnn Purtill is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) denomination. A graduate of Andover Newton Theological School, she served as a full-time staff chaplain at Masonic Health Center in Wallingford CT, as Associate Pastor at the Marlborough Congregational Church, and as a per diem chaplain at Hartford Hospital.

She currently serves the Columbia Congregational Church as the settled pastor as well as serving the spiritual needs of Windham Hospital as a per diem chaplain. Through her ministry at Columbia Church she is involved in interfaith activities and initiatives in the Willimantic area, serving the needs of WAIM and the No Freeze Shelter.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Why would I want to talk with a chaplain?

A chaplain may be helpful to patients and families who are:

  • Wrestling with medical news or struggling to make sense of an illness
  • Finding it hard to hold on to hope and faith or wondering whether God is present and cares
  • Struggling with medical decisions and values
  • Desiring prayer or a religious ritual
  • Needing someone to listen to concerns
  • Preparing for a medical procedure or surgery
  • Getting information or help with an Advance Directive
  • Grieving the loss of a loved one
  • In the midst of a crisis
  • Hoping to return to spiritual practices that were once meaningful
  • Wanting to make peace with a loved one
  • Wanting to have someone reach out to your local worship leader

How do I contact Spiritual Care?

If you would like a visit from a chaplain, please let your nurse know or call 860.456.6955.

Chaplains are available Monday through Friday during the work day and weekends and evenings for emergencies. Catholic Priests are available for urgent sacrament of the sick at all hours (please make request known to your nurse).

What resources are available at Windham Hospital?

Grief and Bereavement

Grief is a normal emotional response following a loss. When we experience loss, our grief can be very powerful and cause a number of physical, emotional and spiritual symptoms. It is important to remember that each of us grieves differently and experiences our own reactions and challenges following a death.

“Our grief is that proof that another life touched ours in a profound way.”

– Tracie Barrett-Welser

Helpful Information

Arrangements for the funeral or religious services can be made after you leave the hospital.

Discuss your plans with family members and friends. After you make initial contact, the funeral home will probably contact you to find a time to help you arrange the details of the funeral.

If you are a member of a spiritual community, your faith leader may also assist you with these arrangements.

As you go through these logistics, the emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of grief may emerge. Please know this is normal and resources are available.

When You Return Home

You may wish to:

  • Contact other family members and close friends
  • Discuss the choice of funeral home with close family and friends
  • Contact your clergy (if you have one), who will assist you with funeral arrangements
  • Have a relative, friend, or neighbor answer the phone or help with phone calls if you have to notify a number of people.
  • Notify the employer of the deceased
  • Notify the employers of household members
  • Notify the school that children are attending
  • Contact your attorney (if you have one) who will be able to assist you with any legal issues
  • Have someone keep a list of all phone calls, flowers, and food donations
  • Determine if you would like donations made to an organization of charity in memory of your loved one

If you have financial concerns, call 211 for assistance or talk to the funeral home director.

Prior to Going to the Funeral Home

It may be helpful to have another family member or close friend go with you to the funeral home. The funeral home will assist with obituary writing and submission.

You may wish to take the following:

  • Name of the deceased (full name including any nicknames or other names the person might have used)
  • Date of birth of the deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Occupation
  • Parents’ name
  • If a veteran, proof of military service. If that is not accessible, the funeral home can assist you.
  • List of relatives and relationships
  • List of church, professional organizations, clubs or other organizations in which membership was held
  • The name and address of organization or charity if you wish to have memorial donations to honor the deceased
  • A list of individuals who might be available as pallbearers and/or individuals who may speak at the service
  • Clothing for burial
  • The arrangements for food or a reception after the burial service
  • Through the funeral home, obtain three copies of the death certificate
  • Contact life insurance companies
  • Contact your local Social Security Office if you are eligible for benefits
  • If you do not have an attorney, contact your bank concerning existing accounts

Make a list of others you may need to contact, including:

  • Employer
  • School
  • Bank
  • Utilities
  • Creditors

When to Seek Professional Help

While there are normal reactions to grief, persistent symptoms that interfere with your ability to engage in everyday life need to be taken seriously. If you find that any of these are true for you, we suggest you consider seeking professional help.

  • If you are always feeling exhausted, anxious, depressed, helpless, experiencing uncontrollable anger, insomnia or stressed-out
  • If you are withdrawing from family and friends, work, school, etc.
  • If you are becoming dependent on drugs or alcohol
  • If you have little desire to get involved in activities you once enjoyed

How to Seek Professional Help

  • Connect with previous therapists or mental health providers
  • Reach out to your primary care physician
  • Connect with a faith leader
  • If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, please reach out to your primary care physician or call 911 in an emergency

Local Resource for Bereavement Support

Brian Dagle Foundation