Publication Date

April 2019


Justine Quijada




English (United States)


This thesis explores spirituality’s place in end of life care through the role of the hospice chaplain. Employing tools learned both in the classroom and in the field, chaplains facilitate the process of meaning-making for terminally ill patients and their families. Increasingly, chaplains are being called upon to construct meaning out of their own work that is legible to those running the secular institutions in which they are employed. Through an analysis of terms emic to hospice chaplaincy and the multiplicity of their etic translations, I argue that hospice chaplains operate with an alternate anthropology that renders their work incompatible with the understanding of “holistic” care as it currently operates within hospice teams. As chaplains can no longer be sustained solely by their own knowledge of when they have “made a difference” and hospice programs can not ignore the existential questions patients raise at the end of life, this thesis offers the theoretical and methodological approaches of the study of religion as a starting place for making meaning-making meaningful to a diverse range of actors.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 15, 2020



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