Taboo-defying book on pastoral care
Updated: Apr 22, 2021
The next best thing to shadowing a chaplain at work is to read a book by this former prison and now hospice chaplain, Rosie Deedes.
Her work has taken her into two taboo spheres – the world of inmates others may well rather not think about and the profound experiences of those facing death.
Based on the Isle of Wight, the Revd Rosie Deedes is a priest who has dedicated her book to her late father, Canon Colin Deedes, the former Master of the St Cross, a community of elderly brothers in Winchester (the medieval Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty is described as 'England's oldest and most perfect almshouse').
Into the Depths: A chaplain's reflections on death, dying and pastoral care (Sacristy, 2019) is the fruit of a long career meeting people at their point of need. Names and identifiable details have been altered where necessary to protect anonymity. Her ministry enables her to speak with authority about different facets of pastoral care, the art of dying well, as well as disturbing deaths such as suicides.
Drawing on other writers such as Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, Gerard Hughes and Sheila Cassidy, to discuss, for instance, the importance of rituals around dying and remembering, she explains why her ministry is both a privilege and can take a personal toll. A chapter devoted to 'Caring for yourself as a pastoral carer' is especially helpful for people drawn to listening to others without, perhaps, realising how important it is to recognise and attend to one's own needs.