Smudging is an important part of the healing process for many patients of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and is offered on a regular basis for anyone who needs it. To keep up with the high demand, our Hospital is looking to the community for contributions of sage.
“Smudging is a cleansing ceremony that can also be described as a different form of prayer, to either God or the Creator,” explains Michael Robinson, Spiritual Care Provider. “The smudge can help to calm and centre patients and visitors while they are here at the Hospital.”
A common tradition among many First Nations, smudging involves the burning of one or more sacred medicines gathered from the earth: tobacco, sage, cedar and sweetgrass.
Regularly scheduled smudging takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in both the morning and the afternoon and can either be performed in the specially ventilated Multi-Faith Spiritual Centre, or the Spirit Garden located in one of the Hospital’s courtyards. In addition to the regularly scheduled sessions, personal smudges can also be requested at any time. Spiritual Care provides an average of 16 individually requested smudges a week from people of all backgrounds and cultures.
Some sage is grown in the Spirit Garden, however it is not nearly enough to keep up with ever increasing demand. Because smudging can be such an important aspect of healing, we are looking to members of our community for help. Anyone who would be able to contribute gifts of sage are encouraged to bring it to the Hospital’s Spiritual Care department, or to the Information Desk at the Hospital’s main entrance. The sage doesn’t have to be on the stem, but the leaves must be whole.
“Smudging can play an important role in improving physical, mental, and spiritual health. So many patients, families and visitors appreciate the benefits that smudging has to offer, and it’s very important to us that we can continue to provide this service to anyone who requests it,” said Robinson. “We would be very grateful to anyone who can help us help our patients through sage donations.”
If you are interested in learning more about smudging, sage, or how you can contribute, please call Spiritual Care at 807-684-6235.