“Love cures people-both the ones who give it and receive it.”-Dr. Karl Menninger

Hospitals are typically viewed as sterile halls filled with highly technical equipment and meticulously trained mechanics who take the form of doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians. Both are there for the purpose of “fixing” broken and ailing bodies. But what of the broken hearts and souls of those who pass through the corridors? That is often perceived as the realm of social workers and chaplains.

As a Social Worker who has spent the last 14 years providing support to those facing crises ranging from illness and death to injury and other major life transitions, I recognize the value of solid faith in the healing process. I am also an ordained Interfaith Minister and recognize that although medical professionals may be both competent and compassionate, God is truly the Master Healer.

In the past year, I have taken a step beyond my professional view of prayer in healing and crossed a threshold I never imagined would usher me inside. I became one of countless family members whose life revolved around hospital corridors, waiting rooms, cafeterias, patient rooms and chapels. In truth, each of these became “sacred space” for me. In July of 1998, my husband Michael began his journey that would flow between home and hospital numerous times while awaiting a liver transplant that would never occur.

Each time, we cast our fears into the waiting “hands” of God. There were moments when I literally would say,”Okay, God…catch.”, and despite lingering doubts, God never dropped the ball.

Early on, I still believed that this test of faith we were facing would bear itself out and Michael would receive his transplant and we would go on to live a marvelously rejuvenated life together. On November 11, 1998 the true test was commencing. Michael entered Thomas

Jefferson University Hospital in a coma and my prayers intensified, beginning each time with the words, “Dear God…You know my heart, You know my prayers.” and then I would ask God to sustain Michael and keep him strong so that he would wait for the new liver that I was certain would arrive just in time. My prayers were joined by a crescendo of voices blending from across the hall to around the world. Each time, his nurses would leave their shift, they would remind me that they were praying for us. The custodians who cleaned Michael’s room, the cashiers in the cafeteria, the respiratory therapists, the interns who tended his daily needs, and yes…the social worker and chaplains, reminded me that we were not alone in our ordeal. I asked the surgeon who was one of the members of the transplant team if he believed in prayer. He informed me that he always prayed before and during surgery. I observed that these people exuded a sense of gratitude, as if I was doing them a favor by allowing them to pray for us. This is echoed in the aforementioned quote from Karl Menninger.

The family members of those whose infirm bodies shared the MRICU (Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit)-otherwise known as “the miracle unit”, became a community joined in celestial communication. I am convinced that just as there are no atheists in foxholes, so too are there no atheists in hospital waiting rooms. Since I was there for 5 1/2 weeks, I witnessed families come and go. Unfortunately, very few left smiling with the knowledge that their loved one was going to a “step-down” unit, which was a way station on the road to recovery. As each one moved out of this temporary hospital-home following the death of their family member, they had the grace to remind those of us who remained that we would be kept in their prayers.

The morning after her brother died of liver failure, while awaiting a transplant, an amazing woman named June, surprised me with a card with the words, “A Prayer To Cheer You” scripted across the front. She and her family had gone home in the middle of the night following Jay’s passing and I awoke to find this card. I will treasure it forever.

When my family and I departed from the hospital on December 21st following Michael’s transition, we left our prayers and love with the family of a young man who had spent the previous year coming to and going from this place of healing as well. To this day, I am in touch with his family, sharing words of encouragement and the comforting reminder that Carl is still in my prayers.

Prayer is most definitely the glue that held me together throughout the ordeal and molded my perception of what a hospital can be. Although Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is not a religious institution, it is appropriately a spiritual institution, peopled by professionals that I will always view as “angels in scrubs”

Rev. Edie Weinstein-Moser


  • Rev. Edie Weinstein-Moser, MSW is a Social Worker, Interfaith Minister, writer, clown, humor therapist, speaker and mother. She is also a family caregiver who has learned from direct experience that we are stronger than we know, are surrounded by more love and support than we ever thought possible and can grow through our losses and challenges with greater Grace than we could imagine.