Ann Veyvara-Divinski, Spiritual Care ProviderOccupation: Spiritual Care Provider
From: Toronto
Years of Service to GBHS: 2
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, the outdoors, nature

Ann Veyvara-Divinski has gone from attending the sick as a healthcare practitioner to tending to their spiritual care.

The recently ordained Anglican Church priest, who is the Spiritual Care Provider in the GBHS Cancer Centre at the Owen Sound hospital, spent 25 years in a Toronto hospital as a pulmonary function technologist and respirology researcher.

Her long career in healthcare both “helps and hinders” her chaplaincy work, she said, “because I still do a full body scan of someone to see how they’re doing and look at their blood pressure and everything. I actually had to train myself not to do that because now I’m looking at their spiritual well-being. I care about their physical health, but there are nurses and physicians to do that. My job is to see how they’re doing spiritually.”

Ann sometimes joins those in the cancer unit’s waiting area to see if she can offer support. She’ll strike up a conversation and look for clues if someone wants her help.

“Many people who get a life threatening diagnosis in their lives all of a sudden find spirit. Spirit may not be God. Spirit may be the spirit of nature or the spirit of loving life. They’re also looking for something that will support them through this time of crisis,” she said. “I want to tell them that they’re not alone. That there is something, someone, an entity, that will be supportive through their journey. And if it’s me as a human being, being able to provide spiritual sustenance, awesome. But maybe it’s helping them refocus on who they are and where they’re going.”

“There’s a way to know when someone is tied in knots, you can sometimes feel the energy. And at that point I may go over and introduce myself and say ‘Hi, I’m the chaplain.'”