Anita Bouma loved whale watching on B.C.’s West Coast, and hiking the province’s many mountains and trails. Colleagues at Shuswap Lake General Hospital loved Anita, a popular long-time unit clerk who passed away three years ago.
They wanted to preserve her memory and honour those things she loved most, so they commissioned a beautiful stained glass window. This window now welcomes people to the hospital’s newly opened sacred space – a room that offers refuge and solace to Interior Health patients, families and employees in times of grieving or celebration. The stained glass window was created by local artists Judy and Dan Deboer.
“We are grateful to all the staff and physicians who contributed to this beautiful addition to the Sacred Space. It is such a lovely way to honour her memory,” said Marga Jamieson, Anita’s sister who is also a health records employee at the Salmon Arm hospital.
The sacred space is a functional, adaptable space for patients and families of any or no religious or spiritual affiliation to worship, celebrate, meditate, pray, reflect, study, or conduct any other communal or individual spiritual observance. It is ventilated to allow for traditional ceremonies involving smoke, such as smudging.
“The Shuswap is made of many different faiths and cultures, and the spiritual needs of our residents are diverse. We’re also in an area that experiences high tourist volumes in peak seasons, with visitors of varied backgrounds coming from around the globe,” said Greg Kyllo, MLA Shuswap. “If a hospital visit is needed, this wonderful new space will be a quiet place to gather, whether in mourning, celebration or reflection.”
The sacred space was created in an area that previously housed surgical booking and is located by the hospital’s main entrance, beside the gift shop on the fourth floor.
The sacred space renovation represents an investment of about $14,750, provided by the Shuswap Hospital Foundation and their donor partners.
“When people come to the hospital, their treatment and improved well-being includes not just their physical body, but often also their mind and spirit. This new sacred space will contribute to our goal of delivering high-quality care in a way that is holistic, compassionate and inclusive,” said Erwin Malzer, Interior Health Board Chair.
“The Shuswap Hospital Foundation is dedicated to helping provide for the health of our community by ensuring that resources are available to meet patients’ needs,” said Rob Marshall, Shuswap Hospital Foundation President. “We’re happy that we could contribute to this important project, which will offer a dedicated space for quiet reflection for Shuswap patients and their families.”