What happens inside Sacred Places in hospitals?

Hospital Sacred Places come in all shapes and sizes — from pocket parks to rooftop gardens to sprawling labyrinths, health care Sacred Places are bringing the healing power of nature to doctors, nurses, staff, patients and visitors across the country. Each day, from Portland, OR to Piedmont, AL to Washington, D.C, hundreds of folks in need of some respite from a busy day or stressful medical event find peace in our Sacred Places. 

The Sacred Place at Johns Hopkins is often utilized for various events and programs, emphasizing the benefits of nature on Healthcare campuses. Johns Hopkins may be a world-renowned medical and research institution, but did you know that it is also home to one of the largest urban labyrinths in the country? Firesouls Rev. Paula Teague and Andrea Fitz, who both work in the spiritual care department work hard to make sure that patients, staff, and visitors feel welcome and supported, especially when visiting the Sacred Place and labyrinth. 

In 2022, Nature Sacred supported a number of labyrinth events for Johns Hopkins, both at the main hospital campus in Baltimore City, but also at satellite offices around the region. With our traveling canvas labyrinth, Paula and Andrea coordinated a series of pop-up labyrinth walks and mindfulness activities at six different Hopkins locations. This program was part of a larger initiative, H.O.P.E (Honoring Our Pandemic Experience), led by the Office of Well-Being. This office brought together partners across Johns Hopkins Medicine including spiritual care and chaplaincy to help employees process their pandemic experiences using the art, creativity and reflection.

Alongside the traveling labyrinth programming, Johns Hopkins also hosted their annual Light the Labyrinth event for the first time since the pandemic began. During the event, Kelsang Gen Chogden shared a reflection on light from the Buddhist tradition, Jesus Rivera from the Hispanic tradition and The Black History Committee at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center shared the meaning of light in Kwanzaa. Attendees were also joined by Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke School Choir, musical guests from the Peabody Institute and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center leadership. 

Nature Sacred is honored to support these programs at Johns Hopkins. All of our Healthcare Firesouls work tirelessly to creatively program their space with events and activities geared towards visitors and patients, but also for staff. Unity Hospital in Portland, OR regularly uses their space for horticulture therapy, exposure therapy and recreation. They have even brought in service dogs to lift the spirits of nurses and staff who are facing intense work conditions as a result of the pandemic. Unity Hospital has also hosted other types of events such as stargazing for night nurses, farmers markets, and more.

The possibilities of ways to utilize Sacred Places on healthcare campuses are endless. Our Firesouls are resourceful and creative, and love to share resources and ideas with each other. This past May, University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center hosted a series of yoga classes supported by the Firesoul Network. They also brought in a harpist to play in the garden, an idea that Firesoul Susan Iaquinta borrowed from Andrea Fitz from Johns Hopkins. Andrea shared the idea during our Healthcare Firesouls Affinity Group meeting in February. 

The Network is a fantastic resource for Firesouls who are looking for inspiration and support, and Nature Sacred is proud to partner with these innovative institutions and incredible Firesouls to bring nature interaction to healthcare campuses, resulting in greener, healthier and happier hospital communities.

For more information about our Nature for Wellness initiative, visit our website or click on this link.

For more information about the power of healing gardens in mitigating staff burnout and quantifying the cost benefits of Sacred Places on healthcare campuses, visit the reports tab on our website, or click here