A question of faith

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Barb Sweet
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Man raises issue of Catholic symbolism in public hospital; agreement with sisters of Mercy expires in 2015

A metro man has raised concerns with Eastern Health and the Sisters of Mercy religious order about Catholic symbols at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.

Terry Loder said while visiting a patient at the St. John’s hospital, he encountered an elderly woman from rural Newfoundland who seemed uncomfortable with the symbols, as she isn’t Catholic.

The comment from the woman prompted Loder to take note of the symbols around the hospital. They include crucifixes in various locations, including clinic areas, and a statue of St. Clare in the lobby waiting area.

Loder, who has raised his concerns with Eastern Health and has also met with officials from the Sisters of Mercy, including congregational leader Sister Elizabeth Davis, told The Telegram he will wait to see what happens when the agreement between the Sisters and the provincial government ends. The Telegram obtained that agreement — which expires in 2015 — from the Department of Health and showed it to Loder.

“I’m coming from it that in this day and age they should be a little more inclusive, because it is a public facility,” Loder said. “I learned a lot. I didn’t know there was such an agreement.”

He said he understands the heritage of the Sisters, who established St. Clare’s.

Loder also acknowledged that the Sisters say they’ve received comments from people who find the symbols comforting.

“I don’t doubt that to be very valid, but you are probably not going to get comforting comments from people who are not of that faith,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Eastern Health told The Telegram there have been no discussions about future plans to remove religious symbols at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital once the memorandum of understanding with the Sisters of Mercy expires.

Loder said he’s hoping to prompt a discussion about what should take place at the hospital once the agreement ends.

“I want this changed and I am prepared to go through routes,” Loder said.

“Across the country, hospitals are making accommodations for people of all faiths.”

Davis said the Sisters and the

St. Clare’s Advisory Council, which includes laypeople, are only beginning to discuss whether there is a desire to extend the agreement so the order can continue to be involved with the hospital.

“We’ve just begun to talk among ourselves what the possibilities might be,” Davis said, adding there have been no talks with government or Eastern Health.

“We have a good year and a half to plan.”

Davis said the Sisters have to decide whether there is value to the hospital and patients if they were to continue their involvement. She said the desire to have them stay involved was made clear by patients and staff 18 years ago.

There are two Sisters on staff at St. Clare’s and there are Sisters who are volunteers, mainly in pastoral care.

Davis is a former executive director of St. Clare’s Hospital who went on to become CEO of the Health Care Corp. of St. John’s, which has been superseded by Eastern Health.

She said the discussions years ago about regionalizing health care between voluntary hospitals and governments across the country were difficult.

But Davis said the Sisters wanted a more co-operative process with this province’s government. The agreement was signed in December 1994.

As part of the deal, 19 annual payments of $750,000 have been made to the order, with the 20th and last due on April 1, 2014.

The 20-year agreement also guaranteed that all “physical characteristics of St. Clare’s that reflect its association with the Sisters of Mercy” would remain.

Among the principles of the Sisters attached to the agreement is the banning of abortion at the hospital. The agreement also bans sterilization for the purpose of birth control.

Government also owns the convent attached to St. Clare’s, where five sisters live. They would remain if the agreement is renegotiated.

Davis said the Sisters have to also consider whether they have enough members to continue their work in the hospital — as of this week the order has 109 members, nine of whom are doing service in Peru.

The Sisters founded St. Clare’s Hospital in the 1920s. It wasn’t until the advent of Medicare that government began funding health services there, Davis noted.

As for the statue of St. Clare, an Italian saint, Davis said she had it brought up from the basement in the 1990s as a symbol to celebrate women’s contributions to society through the ages. There are a number of hospitals named for St. Clare in North America.

Davis noted Loder has suggested that the order provide some information about St. Clare of Assisi’s history.

Davis said the Sisters have been open to all religions and were among the first to bring in other religious groups to talk about pastoral care. This past year, she said, the pastoral care division at

St. Clare’s developed a book of prayers that contains not only Christian prayers, but prayers from other faiths including from the Muslim, Jewish and Baha’i traditions.

“We want every person who comes to St. Clare’s as a patient or a family member of a patient to have a resource they can use, especially when a person is dying or is very, very ill; that there is something there from their own tradition that can bring them comfort and solace at a time like that,” she said.

Davis said she told Loder she will talk to pastoral care personnel and the advisory council about continuing to ensure that other faiths are considered.

“What religion you are is immaterial. What is important is when you are most vulnerable, or your loved one is most vulnerable — that they have access to whatever resource they need — medical care yes, nursing resource yes, but also spiritual care if that’s what they need,” Davis said.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Department of Health, Mercy Hospital, Advisory Council Medicare

Geographic location: Newfoundland, North America.Davis

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  • Colin Burke
    August 12, 2013 - 20:23

    On second thought, is this a matter of government treating all religions equally or mostly of its treating equally those religions whose agencies preceded governments in founding hospitals? How many such religions are there? I believe the Anglican Church is one of them, but I've not heard of Buddhist nuns, for instance, getting together to found hospitals named for bodhisattva. As for the practice of charity by atheists, they seem to think government should simply tax everyone to provide everything for everyone, which is neither charity nor justice. Too bad Jewish hospitals in the States haven't similar agreements with governments: it might be fun trying to chivvy religious symbols out of these for the same sort of reason.

  • Mary
    August 12, 2013 - 19:19

    I think Loder and Penny have to much time on there hands.help the homeless feed the poor. Soon we might have to say John"s N.L. Mary

    • Anne
      August 14, 2013 - 08:43

      Who is Mr. Loder? Is he a politician?

  • Colin Burke
    August 12, 2013 - 14:24

    Brian, if government's not favouring one race over another or one gender over another means that government serves -- it ought not to serve but only rule -- all alike, doesn't applying your conclusion to religion mean that government ought to honor all religions which don't encourage lawbreaking? As for those commenters who deplore St. Clare's Hospital's "withholding medical resources" from people wanting an abortion or contraception: exactly what is the major disease which abortion heals or contraception prevents? If a surgeon at the Health Sciences refused to amputate a healthy leg of someone who had bet its removal in a wager where he might have won a million dollars, would that be "withholding medical resources"?

  • R.O.K.
    August 12, 2013 - 13:40

    I'll be awake coluntless nites now wondering when the Loders of this world will challenge the courts to rid us of our favourite venue in Newfoundland & Labrador, St. Vincent's Beach or God forbid", St. Mary's Bay.

  • Brian
    August 12, 2013 - 08:57

    It's very clear from the comments here that many religious citizens have very strong opinions about the symbols. Regardless of what religion one is, let's look at this logically and rationally. So long as the hospital has an agreement and working relationship with the Sisters, then they are perfectly within their rights. That said, once the agreement ends in 2015, things need to be looked at. As a public organization, there is an expectation of separation of church and state. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador, nor the government of Canada have any official state religion. To display large religious statues and crucifixes everywhere is contradictory, regardless of what religion the majority supposedly adheres to. Government does not favour one race over another, one gender over another. Religion is the same. We must be neutral in government-run federal buildings. If patients wish to have personal belongings that include religious symbols at their bedside, of course that's acceptable. But the hospital in general is meant to be a place of medical science, not a church.

  • Old Greybeard
    August 12, 2013 - 06:40

    Have to say, the person complaining about the imagery should probably check their bias against papacy at the door when receiving medical treatment at a hospital started by an RC order. I'm not christian but recognize the good works performed by some christians, if the complainer is of another christian faith, perhaps they should reflect on the good works any person or group regardless of religious bent. Surely if your faith is strong, exposure to images of another's faith shouldn't be too strong a threat.

  • nlgirlforever
    August 12, 2013 - 01:59

    I am not Catholic, but I find the statues and crucifixes to be comforting, especially when I am visiting very ill friends and family. If I were in a Jewish hospital, I would also be comforted by Jewish symbols, ie tablets, Star of David etc. If others are offended by it, by all means, head over to the Health Sciences Centre. I am sure with the difference in waiting times, treatment of patients and parking issues, people would get over being offended pretty quick. (note: yes I know some services are only available at one or the other, but in my experience when there have been service overlap, St. Clares has proved to be better)

  • Betty
    August 11, 2013 - 19:36

    mr Loder,if that is all you have to complain aboutyou are a lucky man these symbols are there to comfort not harm you .Iwas a patient many times and ihad clergy of different denominations visit me and I was very happy to see them, they were there to pray for me and they gave me comfort and peace ,so please show respect for the sisters who did such great work at that hospital.

  • Derm Whelan
    August 11, 2013 - 19:29

    Like Marconi and Cabot, whose contributions to human development are memorialized with monuments and buildings in Newfoundland and Labrador, Clare of Assisi was notable for her mercy, care for the sick and the poor, a precuser, if you like, of Mother Theresa. Would we seek to remove Mother Theresa's name from a hostel or her image of from such a building. The Catholic attribution and connotation arises from the fact that Clare was Catholic and was recognized for her contributions to the human family by the Catholic Church. But she was essentially a beacon of mercy, like Florence Nightengale, and a remarkable woman. A more fitting name for a hospital founded and built by a group of local women, could not have been chosen. Are we now, in the face of this lone comment, to change our history, heretage and culture? When the symbols are understood in this light, with the whole story, these comments are nothing more than a meaningless buzz. Think of the names that would need changing in Newfoundland and Labrador alone if this line of thought was pursued and validated; viz. Trinity Bay, Notre Dame Bay, Conception Bay; St. Brides, St. Catherines, St. Barb; The NL Coat of Arms, and many other names of communities, facilities and geographical features. The focus ought to highlight the quality of care, mercy, and humanity rather than accidental features that do no harm, reflect our culture and history and remind us a tat that a prayer or two does not go astray in a hospital. Will India rename its mosques becaue Christians now live there ot Thailand its Budist temples? I think not and believe Canada ought not to accommodate these jaded requests either in law or practice. Disingenuous causes alarm us rightly and remind us that prejudice and intollerance still mingle with us in the streets wearing righteous charades.

  • audrey drake
    August 11, 2013 - 19:22

    I think terry loder,should be more concerned about health issues ,rather than religious bigotry. Other religions are allowed to wear their religious symbols, even in Parliament and no one says a word nor sholuld they. St. claires is a big part of our history and avery important one at that. I think the religious symbols should stay. they give people of faith some comfort, and that offends some I say too bad.

  • maureen
    August 11, 2013 - 19:15

    there are more issues in this world that need attention than a religious statue. Maybe if the children of this generation had something to believe in there would be less crime and more respect .

  • Jackso II
    August 11, 2013 - 14:53

    I have a sugestion for "that complaining patient" and Mr.Loder. One's religious beliefs (if any) aside, build a hospital! People don't like the name on your front door or what adorns the hallways, go somewhere else! Good luck with that! What would that "complaining patient" do if he/she was at "The Grace?" I've been in both. Neither the doctors nor nurses attended me wearing rosary beads or toting bibles. Get lost!

  • judy shaw
    August 11, 2013 - 13:02

    Where has society gone when one person can dictate what the majority of people can or can not do, have or listen to? Take this instance of the statute which has been there a very long time; now LODER wants it removed. The dictates of the minority has to STOP. We have to return to majority rule!!!!

  • Sylvia Eddy
    August 11, 2013 - 11:26

    I'm always amazed at how those who are most vocal in insisting on tolerance show so much intolerance themselves! Does taking down symbols of a certain religion make people more tolerant? If so, then let's ban all public displays of religious and belief symbols, including Muslim, Judaism, Baha'i, Atheism, etc. And while we're at it, let's also stamp out their history! St. Clare's Hospital was started in the 1920's by The Sisters of Mercy and much good work has been accomplished there. I believe every symbol of it's history, and the belief system that spawned the work, should remain as long as the building stands! And I'll go further and say that I believe any cross on any building started by a Christian group should remain as is. In tolerating other people and their beliefs, let's not stamp out Christianity in any of it's denominational forms! To me, having tolerance for religious freedom means being at peace with your own faith or lack thereof and caring for others no matter what country or religious belief they hold. It does NOT mean "Practice your own religion but let no displays of it be shown lest you offend someone". If certain symbols offend you, I think you need to start examining yourself and your own heart!

  • Patricia mulrooney
    August 11, 2013 - 10:56

    This is a response to Terry Loders being intimidated by religious articles at St Clare's hospital. My first reaction was, this man has too much time on his hands, if he has this much built up energy there are any number of worthwhile causes that could benefit from his time and energy, two that come to mind immediately are BIG BROTHERS,BIG SISTERS and DRUG REHAB programs that try to help young people who have had the misfortune to fall into the DRUG TRAP. But on reflection I thought no, he is creating a platform for himself, if you want to create a conflict two very controversial topics are RELIGION and POLITICS. Well I am sick of people who know little about the CATHOLIC FAITH and express very strong opinions about it, I am a practicing Catholic and very very comfortable with what it means to me. I find it very difficult to understand why some people are intimidated or uncomfortable with Religious articles, to most people they have no significance whatsoever but to Catholics it helps to remind us of the things our faith was founded on. Why would a Crucifix ,Statue, or Religious picture cause anyone any more stress than walking into someone's home and seeing a picture, a piece of art or a glass figurine. You may not like it, you may find it offensive but would you immediately create a fuss and start a campaign to have them remove it... I don't think so. No one is asking you kneel and pray in front of these "offensive" objects. I don't particularly like elevators in the hospital....I choose to pass them by and use the stairs. Let me remind you St Clare's was started by the Sisters of Mercy at a time when it was badly needed in St John's and I am sure was appreciated by all people that it served. This hospital was not created exclusively for the healthcare of Catholics, it catered to all Faiths, just as it does today. The Religious articles you see today are part of the hospital's history, They inspired the Sisters of long ago and helped keep them focused on why they were there. I am a senior citizen and have been practicing my faith for a long time. I have never seen an occasion when a crucifix, picture or statue ever hurt anybody. The religious articles in question are not designed to convert the masses or intimidate people. I simply ask you respect all Faiths. We live in a big world and we all have to practice a little tolerance of varying beliefs. You do not have to agree with my beliefs but please respect them. In closing may I suggest that if someone is so stressed by what they see at St Clare's you do have the choice to ask to go to the Health Sciences

  • Richard Browne
    August 11, 2013 - 04:59

    Aren't there bigger issues to face then what statue is displayed in the lobby. I've been there and find it comforting, there are certain times when you both need and want extra religious support in your life. I am curious however if Mr.Loder is in the habit of asking, a stranger I assume, if she's uncomfortable with the presence of a symbol of St.Claire, merely because she appeared troubled? Although not catholic, could it be possible she was merely having a moment of reflection. I am a catholic, and yes proudly so, and I believe that we have taken enough symbols of religion away from society to please people like Mr Loder and there should be a line drawn somewhere. Perhaps a time has come to reintroduce more signs of the faith.

  • Sherry
    August 11, 2013 - 00:58

    I feel that the presence of Religious Symbols in a public Hospital should stay in the Hospital always. In this World of today everyone may have their rights but it has gone out of control. For anyone who Believes in God and has Faith in God, they shouldn't have any problems with icons representing the Catholic Faith or any other Christian Faith. I'm not Catholic but I Believe in the Crucifix and the Blessed Virgin Mary amongst other Religious Symbols. Maybe If someone has a problem with it they could go to a different Hospital which may not offend them. I Believe in God. I would want the Presence of God around me in a hospital. Whatever the case, I feel the icons should stay at the St. Clare's Hospital in Newfoundland and at least The Cross and The Bible should stay at any other public Hospitals and Schools in all of Canada. Thank you.

  • Sherry
    August 10, 2013 - 22:35

    I feel that the presence of Religious Symbols in a public Hospital should stay in the Hospital always. In this World of today everyone may have their rights but it has gone out of control. For anyone who Believes in God and has Faith in God, they shouldn't have any problems with icons representing the Catholic Faith or any other Christian Faith. I'm not Catholic but I Believe in the Crucifix and the Blessed Virgin Mary amongst other Religious Symbols. Maybe If someone has a problem with it they could go to a different Hospital which may not offend them. I Believe in God. I would want the Presence of God around me in a hospital. Whatever the case, I feel the icons should stay at the St. Clare's Hospital in Newfoundland and at least The Cross and The Bible should stay at any other public Hospitals and Schools in all of Canada. Thank you.

  • Jodie
    August 10, 2013 - 21:57

    I was wondering when this would come up and I completely agree. Religious symbols have no place in a hospital, or any public place. Being a non-christian, I was very concerned when I had to go for an MRI at St. Clare's and was bombarded by catholic symbols. I was there to put my faith and trust into the doctors and technicians... not some deity that certain people are intent on shoving down out throats. If I thought I could 'pray away' my health problems I would simply stay at home and do just that. I would rather see pictures of accomplished doctors, or perhaps a tribute to the nurses.... people who are real, and who actually will and can help us when we need it.

  • Pierre Neary
    August 10, 2013 - 21:05

    Well said Sister Davis.

  • Wanda White
    August 10, 2013 - 19:37

    We have become a society hell bent on destroying our expressiveness for fear of offending others. As a result our children are growing up without learning of God and the Bible, afraid to speak of fishermen, mailman and manhole covers, stay at home moms and housewives. Now I am not condemning any one race or minority but I think its high time I start getting offended at the way MY rights and beliefs are being sacrificed to accommodate others. When certain people come here they are free to wear their hajibs, turbans, ceremonial swords and daggers BUT I have to remove crosses and statues depicting my beliefs from schools, hospitals and the courtroom. Next thing you know we'll have to replace traditional sayings on currency such as 'In God We Trust' or the President/Queens photos. If we travel abroad to say Saudi Arabia, we have to cover ourselves from head to toe and are to abide by that countries rules no matter what. Why then do we, as Canadians and Americans have to stand idly by while our belief and value systems are mocked. I'm sorry if your getting medical treatment is hinging on what is or is not in the lobby!

  • disgusted
    August 10, 2013 - 19:30

    I have had the privledge of having visited a very close friend of mine over the past couple of days at st clares hospital. I have never encountered more personable and dedicated medical professionals in my lifetime from the doctors, nurses and administrative personnel. how anyone can go into this hospital started by the nuns or whoever and can get upset over a statue or whatever around the hospital blows my mind. for gods sake get a life and think how lucky we are to have these professionals to help us at our time of need, I suppose the next thing is to get the lizard removed from the geico ads. grow up, get a life and thank god that you live in this great province

  • Ed
    August 10, 2013 - 19:15

    I am not a religious person, as a matter of fact I do not believe there is a god, certainly not one as defined by the christian or muslim faiths. I however do not have a problem with people who are believers as long as they restrain themselves from actively trying to get laws passed that would impose their religious beliefs on other people. While it is true that some religions have done much good, they have also been responsible for much harm as well - all of them. Having said all that, I have absolutely no problem with the Catholic symbols as described being displayed at St Clare's Hospital. It is part of the history of that institution and their presence there does not bother me in the least. I am bothered by the fact that it is a publicly funded institution that has agreed not to provide any form of birth control services to the public who are paying the bills via their taxes. Not acceptable. If they want to set the rules they should pay the bills.

  • Sylvia J. Wilson
    August 10, 2013 - 19:11

    When little Erica Thornhill typassed away from cancer in the Janeway recently, I asked God why he wasn't there for her and her family. He replied, "I'm not allowed in hospitals".

  • Marshall Art
    August 10, 2013 - 19:07

    Mr. Loder says he encountered an elderly woman at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital who 'seemed' uncomfortable with the Catholic symbols ?. Well, excuse me, but if I'm sick enough to be in a hospital, I 've got enough on my mind than to be concerned with what religious symbols are around. Furthermore, the Catholic Sisters founded St. Clare's in the 1920's , so what religious symbols did the elderly woman expect to see at the hospital, the Free Masons or the Archbishop of Canterbury or Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ?. Perhaps Mr. Loder should take his crusade even further and ensure St. Clare's Mercy Hospital is renamed the Free Mason's Hospital, the Canterbury Hospital or the Latter Day Saints Hospital.. Then again, he may simply be suffering from Catholic aginitis, an affliction that makes one paranoid about Catholics..

  • carogers
    August 10, 2013 - 19:04

    Not sure what the answer is but we cannot have nothing at all for the spiritual needs of family members of acutely ill patients. That seems cruel. Inclusion seems to actual cause exclusion for ALL. If the hospital was built by Muslim funds and expertise would it be unexpected to find an area dedicated to worship that faith? How can we expect a certain group to give freely of their time to believe in the benefit of their work to provide service to all members of that community but refuse them a corner of that facility for worship of the very values that put each brick in that building ??? I am not advocating zero tolerance for any religious influence ...there are four walls in the Chapel invite each to represent their faith in some way within that Chapel. I don't think one person with a dislike of one religions representation by a statue or a crucifix can take anything from a persons faith. Yes, allow other religions to be represented but lets not throw out everything because we don't know what to do about people who are offended.

  • Sylvia J. Wilson
    August 10, 2013 - 19:01

    http://cjme.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/story_image/news-image/StPaulHospital.jp St. Paul's Hospital inn Saskatoon has an image of Christ welcoming everyone right in front. Shall we smash it too because ONE person finds it offensive?

  • J
    August 10, 2013 - 18:35

    Re: Removal of Religious Symbols It's a sad commentary on humanity, when all a person has in their life is to perpetuate ill will, by talking about, destroying or removing any form of religious symbol. Why is it that the attack is always on the Catholic Faith. Why is it always the Catholics that have to remove symbols of their Religion. Whilst other sects of faith are encouraged to build, bigger and better, and are able to stop noon day traffic, in a major city, now that's tolerance. It infuriates me to see how tolerant we are, while others are seemingly, shamefully intimidated by Christian symbols. I have to wonder and to question why a person, would find something that represents and instills morals, to be so Offensive. It's No wonder children of today Feel Nothing; because nothing, not even a sense of Respect or Tolerance is instilled in them. It's not about the symbols but the values they represent. What do these people do, how do they react, Who do they turn to when someone precious to them is passing; do they resort to the almighty beer, booze, smoking, pills, or verbal diarrhea, all of which I may find offensive. I wonder why, they take such joy is trying to pass this ill will on. What has a symbol of someone's faith ever done to them, other than console someone who believes, or is in need Of consolation. It would seem to me this attack or stance on religious symbols, is to justify Not having to go to some form of church. It's always better to party, right. It certainly can't be, because a Person actually spent any great amount of time thinking about how these Christians symbols are hurting us. If you really want a cause to fight, there are thousands of projects elsewhere. Open your eyes and just look around. But first of all, Think about Some of Your Rights that I or someone else may find Offensive! As for Abortion, that's a Personal decision, and No Ones Business, it's a case of Using YOUR Own Brain to make choices for yourself, as is a Persons religion. As for being a topic for City Council Elections, they have REAL issues, they are paid to deal with. Think again and find another hobby, or go to another Hospital, Or school. Surely you must have something better to do with your time and energy than stir up unnecessary and unwelcome bad feelings. WE have Rights Too. Mr. Editor it must have been a slow news week. Sign me: Outraged !

  • Patient
    August 10, 2013 - 18:02

    I've had mixed feelings about the religious symbols at St. Clare's while using outpatient services there. I was shocked to find a crucifix visible from the desk where my hospital card was issued. It was an unwelcome intrusion into what was otherwise a reasonable pleasant visit: a reminder of the Church's homophobia and its stark sexual morality. On the other hand, stumbling across the chapel while lost in the hospital shortly afterwards was a pleasant surprise. It was empty, and nice to look at. We can recognize that some of the religious symbols and adornments at St. Clare's have their own aesthetic or historical value independent from the Church they originated in. Gathering the best items for a display on the hospital's history might be an appropriate way to preserve them while removing most of the remaining symbols from elsewhere in the hospital. Including some information on the Grace hospital and the process that led to its closure and demolition while St. Clare's remained open would also help patients and visitors understand the curious anachronism of this public hospital with a decidedly Catholic character.

  • wayne osmond
    August 10, 2013 - 17:25

    “What religion you are is immaterial. What is important is when you are most vulnerable, or your loved one is most vulnerable — that they have access to whatever resource they need — medical care yes, nursing resource yes, but also spiritual care if that’s what they need,” Davis said. Not so Sister Davis, Among the principles of the Sisters attached to the agreement is the banning of abortion at the hospital. The agreement also bans sterilization for the purpose of birth control. So that comment of yours is false. Religion plays an important part. If a woman has several children and wants to have no more then she would have to go elsewhere to be sterilized. So where is the access to the resources they seek at St. Claires by your rules?

  • muriel king
    August 10, 2013 - 16:56

    I would like to know who this man is ,he questioning a long time symbol , and tradition that has been part of this province for years ,and most of this country has been built on the very faith these symbols represent . Crufixces , statue , and other religious symbols have been part of our traditions and history , for years our christian symbols have been disappearing because someone maybe offended , its time to say no . Our symbols will remain.

  • JUST SAYING
    August 10, 2013 - 16:24

    I am not a Roman Catholic, but St. Clares is my hospital. If the symbols at the hospital offend you, then turn the other way. I have always believed that a crucifix belongs in any Christian home. It does not belong exclusively to those of the Roman Catholic faith. I have one in my home and I am an Anglican. Before you know it everything we believe in, worship and consider part of our life will be taken from us for the sake of a few heathens. God belongs to all Christians no matter what church you worship in.

  • John Power
    August 10, 2013 - 15:34

    It is no secret the province of Newfoundland is anti Catholic. Look what happened to the Catholic Schools a few years back. Mr. Loder himself is no doubt anti Catholic. If I go to a hospital for treatment, I don't care what the religion is so long as I get proper treatment. It is getting to the point where is somebody don't like another persons' faith, they play the offended card, they want to take down the crosses from schools, no more merry Christmas, no christmas trees in public places, no more nativity displays in public places, in fact it is almost impossible to purchase the nativity display in stores. These issues will worsen as time passes and it is only a matter of time before all Christian Faiths will have to stand up for their belief's.

  • Kevin Gunn
    August 10, 2013 - 15:34

    I am highly offended with the presence of religious icons in public places, whether it crosses on schools or statues in hospitals. People are free to believe what they want, but don't try to impose those beliefs on me or anyone else in a public institution. Religious types need to respect the rights of those who do not embrace the dogma of their particular sect. Religion belongs in mosques, synagogues and churches. When it comes to healing the sick, hospitals are about science not prayer. If you need an icon to help you pray, go to a church.

  • Theresa Anne
    August 10, 2013 - 14:46

    I feel that I am limited as to what I can say without being insulting to Mr.Loder.I feel that the statue should stay as is because it is a symbol not only of women's contribution as stated in the article but as a symbol of the history of the St. Claire's hospital. St.Claires Mercy Hospital has serviced about every denomination known to Newfoundland and Labrador and this is the first time the subject has been highly brought up about the offencive signs of a statue in a hospital that has the same name. If you are in so much dire need of a hospital that services health care, I can not comprehend what the big deal is, and if it is so offensive why can't you just drive another 20 minutes to the Health Science. Not to question anyone's faith but if you are so in need of spiritual guidance at the time, won't you have your own symbol of faith with you, or if you do not believe in anything, why is it a big deal? I mean,public churches are everywhere with their own signs of recognition of its denomination and people don't complain so I don't see the need for a big commotion over a few crosses and St.Claire statue in St.Claires Mercy Hospital.

  • Mr C
    August 10, 2013 - 14:28

    Mr. Loder should moved to Tehran or Riyadh and see if other religions are treated with the same respect in their hospitals as the Sisters of Mercy treat others here. I say put up Mr Loder or move.

  • hua mulan
    August 10, 2013 - 14:28

    God help us", or will writing such in a public newsie make the youngsters among us hurt their feelings?

  • Hal
    August 10, 2013 - 14:16

    Mr. Loder is just another busy-body stick-his-face-into-others-business type. No offence intended to him. He says he understands the heritage. Really? I don't think so. I am not Catholic but am a regular visitor to St. Clare's. The nuns and symbols are part of the buildings history - they (the nuns) smile at me and I kindly return the greeting, and then am on my way. Why does a buildings history have to be sanitized for the sake of people looking for attention?

  • Angela Dyke
    August 10, 2013 - 14:09

    I am not of the catholic religion, but I personally think that if any religious group wishes to show in any shape or form an icon or sign of their faith in a public place that is their decision. I do not agree with the few and far between that want all forms of religious posters or crosses or any other displays taken down and possibly destroyed.

  • Jamie
    August 10, 2013 - 13:48

    Seems like a public hospital that thinks it is a private hospital. Public should be secular, end of story.

  • Blanche Walsh
    August 10, 2013 - 13:01

    The symbols made who feel uncomfortable? Catholic hospitals & symbols of our Catholic faith have been in effect as long as I can remember......What harm can it possibly do......Would you prefer that we have voodoo symbols in the hospitals and nursing homes? Please concentrate on something more important such as health issues....the poor, the hungry, etc.......

  • brigit walsh
    August 10, 2013 - 12:41

    if you go into hosptials in the states, and other parts of the world, there are often religious figures in them. Many even have chaples. Just watch Nurse Jackie, there is tons of religious imagery in that show and it takes place in a hospital in new York. they are not hurting anyone, and often even people who may not be religious such as myself who is an atheist, take comfort in seeing things like this when visiting a sick or dying relative. Once again they have been there for years and this one person is making an issue whereas no one else seems to take issue with it

  • Jenni
    August 10, 2013 - 12:31

    Mr. Loder I totally disagree with you. I am not Catholic and have gone to St. Clare's Mercy Hospital quite a lot in my life. I have never found the religious artifacts disconcerting in any way. It was a Catholic hospital founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1922 (read the Mustard Seed) way before government or MCP were involved. They actually gave medical care to the community. Why would you remove the artifacts of the founders and the statue of the Saint for whom the hospital was named. It's part of the history. Some people take political correctness too bloody far.

  • Rosalind McGrath
    August 10, 2013 - 12:18

    IN response to this Mr. Loder. Get a life and grow up. this is 2013. not 1913. Back then religion was very close knit. If you were Catholic you were not allowed to play with children from the other schools. This day and age things have changed. "Well with some people they have." The way I grew up is to respect everyone and their religion, be it whatever. Even my Grandmother who was a very religious person who read her bible every day told us never condemn anyone for their religion and my grandmother was United Church through and through. We grew up that way and still live it. I visit St. Clares every day since June 13th,2013. I've seen nuns, priests, Anglican, and United clergy . I have no problem with any. Prayers are prayers, there is only one God, just different ways to pray to him. These symbols are just symbols they are not hurting anyone. Then again according to Mr. Loder they are. I am United and I don't mind these statues and those beautiful scrolls on the wall in front of the elevators are beautiful pieces of art. The next thing you'll see is that no kind of religious personnel permitted inside. Where is this world going to. This is why there is so much hatred and violence in the world. You have to believe in something. This article really hit me today and I had to voice my opinion. If Mr. Loder has nothing else better to do than write about religious statues, oh well. I'll just leave him with this note "God Bless"

  • Martha Williams
    August 10, 2013 - 12:17

    I am not a religious person although I was raised Catholic. I have no problem with seeing religious symbols in schools, hospitals etc. My mother was in a home that was built by the United Church, it didn't bother her or our family. In fact she liked going to all services. This is Newfoundland not the US, when did we become so politically correct. The province is basically 99% Christian so I don't understand your problem, the same symbols are used by all religions unless you are attending a Mosque.

  • Let it Be
    August 10, 2013 - 11:55

    I am not Catholic but why don't people just let it be!!!!!!

  • Elizabeth Hobbs
    August 10, 2013 - 10:56

    What's important in this story is the validation by the Order that persons of all faiths are cared for and provided support they need, within their own belief system. This was evidenced by Sr. Davis. Religious symbols within the building are not intrusive. St. Clare's statue is no different then any historical statue, really. I lived in a town where the local hospital chose to hang pictures of "Newfoundland Outhouses" in the waiting area. I didn't care for them, but they didn't hurt me. We should "choose our fights", Maybe?

  • Christine
    August 10, 2013 - 10:32

    And we expect countries to get along.

  • A supporter
    August 10, 2013 - 10:24

    How silly can anyone be,no one is asking this lady or anyone else to drop to their knees and pray all day.The rooms at St Clares does not have crosses or statues there.Our children do religion in school and also French which I don't like because I think it takes away from other important subjects.I don't think loto tickets should be sold in hospitals,how about patients that are in with depression due to lack of money now they can gamble and take medication while pulling tabs on a ticket.The hospital have bigger problems then a cross.

  • Steve Callahan
    August 10, 2013 - 10:00

    Mr. Loder will be the same person who will make Issues with these Symbols of Grace but will Gladly take His Christmas & Easter Holidays!

  • Steve
    August 10, 2013 - 09:39

    I am disgusted and appalled that, in this day and age, the health care services provided by the province can be dictated be SOMEONE ELSE'S RELIGION. Leave crosses up, that's fine, but to exclude 'certain medical procedures' based on so-called Catholic ideas is appalling to the many, many residents who don't embrace Catholicism.

  • Jen
    August 10, 2013 - 09:20

    These symbols have been at St. Clares since the hospital was built. They (Sisters of Mercy) have served and cared for all faiths through the years. Those symbols in no way impede the care and dedication to the patients. If people have a problem with this they should take a trip across the city to the Health Science Center. It won't be long before they will realize it is much better to pass a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and a cross because the HSC is like a crazy institution people going everywhere, getting nowhere, and are treated like a peice of plastic. I think St. Clares has a warm welcoming atmosphere. Sad people have nothing better to do only complain, where has the faith gone in this province?

  • Ann
    August 10, 2013 - 09:15

    Terry Loder... Get over yourself.

  • geraldine flannigan
    August 10, 2013 - 09:02

    What's the world coming too? Are people afraid that these symbols at going to grab them, change them, convert them or what? This world is going stupid! Statutes won't hurt anyone and I believe lots of times they are a comfort....to know that there is someone greater than us. Maybe that's what scaring them. World, put some thought into the destruction of all that is good, holy, pure and does recognize that, "Oh, yes, there is a God, who loves, comforts, protects and can bring you peace. Wake up World Respectfully Geraldine Flannigan

  • Leave it Alone
    August 10, 2013 - 08:56

    The Sister's of Mercy not only founded St. Clare's but also continue to be valuable with their presence despite it being in a limited role. The care and comfort provided to patients and family regardless of religious following is invaluable in todays world. I have been employed at St Clare's for many years and to witness the quality of care diminish as their role becomes less is unbelievable. Why shouldn't they be left with a symbol of all their hard work and dedication to this particular site? If you could poll the hundreds of thousands of patients and family members who they have cared for and assisted you would have your answer. There are thousands of staff who work at this site from many cultures and religions. They go to work as a team to provide quality health care and have never raised an issue with those symbols Mr. Loder speaks of. From the comments it would probably be a safe bet to say that Mr. Loder has not required healthcare himself. It is easy for an individual to walk in the lobby of a building and not be happy with its contents and be critical. To see healthcare deteriorate it would probably be more suited if Mr. Loder use his time and energy more wisely and go volunteer at the hospital. The time you are wasting at meetings and reviewing documents could be used to help some elderly person who just need comfort to hold their hand or simply speak to. But then again you wouldn't get your 2 minutes of fame or your article in the newspaper. It would go unnoticed like the hard work from the Sister's of Mercy.

  • Colin Burke
    August 10, 2013 - 08:38

    A non-Catholic woman's being uncomfortable in the presence of signs of the Catholic religion in a hospital founded by Catholic nuns is not so much a "question of faith" as it is a merely emotional response to a circumstance of her current environment. Now, when a Protestant roommate objected strongly to my playing "Patience" (with cards, of course) in the old General Hospital in the 1960s, because it was a Sunday afternoon, that was a question of faith. I suspect that most of those who like Mr. Loder seek to ban religious symbols in public places are not so much concerned with questions of faith as they are assured that they have the answer, which would be that no one should be faithful to any religion; such people object less to a religion's being a specific religion than to its being religious at all. Sone of them have to do that, because objecting to the specific teachings of specific religions would require them to engage in rational argument rather than flippant dismissal based on "science and reason" -- without their even stopping to consider whether reason should judge science or the "findings" of science ought to overrule reason. (I'm thinking less now about Mr. Loder himself than about a Mr. Power who can be expected to show up sometimes in such discussions.)

  • Sheila
    August 10, 2013 - 08:37

    While I am not religious in the least and in fact believe that religion causes wars, hurt and in fact believe it should not exist. I do believe that this hospital should reflect it's founders and to expect Christians to also bow down to other religions is wrong. A cross on a wall does not affect patient care but allowing other cultures to come into Canada and tell us that our traditions are wrong while we are forced to accept their religious and cultural traditions is wrong. I gave birth to my children at the Grace because it is not a religious based hospital. I think instead of crying 'I am uncomfortable' at this hospital try thinking of the free medical care you are receiving that is being paid for my the same Christians among others that you think need to change for you. If you expect respect for youself and your customs etc., then respect others.

  • annoyed
    August 10, 2013 - 08:23

    I want to know if this man was refused healthcare because he is not catholic? if he was refused healthcare that's the one and only reason this story should have been published. Get over it he was in a catholic hospital. It is kind of like the lady who should have had more sense about wanting the cross taken down off St. Matthews school. I think she dug her own grave. I think maybe the catholics in the province should have a say about these things. I had a family member in St.Clare's this week and didn't even notice the statue. People have to get a life and stop looking for things to complain about.

  • Pat
    August 10, 2013 - 08:15

    Once again we are faced with a big kerfuffle about religious symbols, this time in one of our hospitals. St. Clare's hospital was founded by the religious Sisters of mercy and they have provided excellent health care over the years in St. John's and filled a great need for medical care to our population for many .many years. The person in question who objected the religious symbols(statues or crucifixes) could have gone to another hospital. Minorities seem to rule these days. Did the statue or the crucifix interfere with her health care or recovery!! I THINK NOT!!JUST MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.I gnore these S---disturbers. We have more important issues to be concerned about.

  • Kc
    August 10, 2013 - 08:07

    If you don't like it, head over to the health sciences centre. Seriously, Loder, go find something else to complain about.

  • No
    August 10, 2013 - 08:01

    Loder must be related to the idiot who wants the cross down at St. Matthews. It costs money to take down this stuff and dispose of it. Money that could be better spent on patient care. If you don't like it, don't look at it!!!! Is Loder running for council or something. Some people need to get a life, or do they like getting their name in the media over something stupid. The nuns ran the hospital for years and are still involved helping patients. Leave them alone.

  • Flingo
    August 10, 2013 - 07:53

    “What religion you are is immaterial. What is important is when you are most vulnerable, or your loved one is most vulnerable — that they have access to whatever resource they need — medical care yes, nursing resource yes, but also spiritual care if that’s what they need,” Davis said. I prefer Davis' attitude to Loder's: “I want this changed and I am prepared to go through routes."

  • Frank
    August 10, 2013 - 07:38

    All over the hospitals, and other government services, you find new age and eastern mythology philosophies and practices creeping in. In addition, there are Jewish and Bahá'í symbols in the Chapels. These come from a non-Catholic religious background. Then there are generic crosses which are general Christian. To be fair, there should be some Catholic symbols around, especially in a hospital that was built and opperated as a Catholic charity years before public health care. A hospital needs to provide rounded care, and this includes both the spirit and the body. A hospital void of relgious symbols is cold and uncaring. A hospital with generic spiritual symbols, especially non-Christian ones, is disturbing. A hospital with Catholic symbols is comforting. Whenever possible, I choose to get my tests and doctor visits at St. Clare's instead of another place becase of the wonderful atmosphere. If somone is going to be bigot enough to complain about Catholic symbols in the already existing mix of all others, they can look away by keeping their noses up in the air.

  • LB
    August 10, 2013 - 06:35

    Seriously!!!! Another "IDIOT" with nothing better to do with his time!!! I look at these so called Catholic symbols and other religious symbols and all I see are beautiful pieces of art/sculptures. I really couldn't care less what some people think they represent. There are tons of statues/pieces of art across this province, in "public places". Do we have to get rid of them all to please these people.

  • Graham Cracker
    August 10, 2013 - 05:47

    Another poop-disturber.

  • getoveryourself
    August 10, 2013 - 05:21

    Maybe anyone with a problem with St. Clare's should go somewhere else or stay home if that's all you have to complain about. I'm not Catholic.