Author Archives: Sig Spirituality

DID YOU KNOW . . . Maundy (Holy) Thursday

Today is the Christian holiday of Maundy or Holy Thursday, the holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the events of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the four canonical gospels.

For many Christian traditions this day initiates what is known as the Easter Triduum, the three day period which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. The liturgy in many Christian Churches involves a ceremony of the “Washing of the Feet” of designated individuals, referencing Jesus’ actions in the Gospel of John where he did such for his disciples during the Last Supper as related in the Gospel of John.

Use of the names “Maundy Thursday” versus “Holy Thursday” varies greatly according to denomination and tradition.

Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy is derived through Middle English from the Latin word “mandatum” (meaning mandate) which the first Latin word of the passage from John 13:34  where Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. Others theorize that the word arose from the Latin word “mendicare” which means to beg, referring to the beggars and the poor who were traditionally remembered in special ways on this day.



Music And Memory – Changing Lives In Memphis

The Music & Memory Program continues to grow in popularity and effectiveness in more Signature facilities!

MUSIC & MEMORY℠ is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life. By training nursing home staff and other elder care professionals, as well as family caregivers, how to create and provide personalized playlists using iPods and related digital audio systems, the Music & Memory team enable those struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.

Recently an amazing story was published telling how at SHC’s Memphis facility, the Music & Memory program enabled a mother and daughter to reconnect after severe dementia had closed off so many other communication channels for years.

You can read the entire article HERE how the Chaplain at Memphis, using Music & Memory, was able to bring connectivity back to this special relationship.



DID YOU KNOW . . . Holy Week 2015

This week marks the Christian Celebration of Holy Week, which in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter.

Although observances vary by denomination, most all Christians observe at least some events from this week in some manner. While some Protestant traditions do not have elaborate special ceremonies but conduct more informal celebrations, often including sermons about the last week of Christ’s life, and possibly some special services on certain days, many mainline Protestant denominations as well as Roman Catholics and the Orthodox faiths generally have much ceremony and multiple special services during this time.

Holy Week includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Holy or Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. The days between Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday are known as Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Holy Wednesday. The Gospels of these days recount events not all of which occurred on the corresponding days between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his Last Supper.

Holy Thursday has a special celebration of The Mass of the Lord’s Supper which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his Twelve Apostles, the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood, and the commandment of brotherly love that Jesus gave after washing the feet of his disciples. Many Protestant churches make much of the foot washing ceremony on what is termed as “Maundy Thursday”, while for others it may be the only time in the year when Holy Communion is celebrated, while still other churches may celebrate versions of the Jewish Passover at this time.

For Roman Catholics, mass is not celebrated anywhere in the world after the evening mass on Holy Thursday until the Easter Vigil, celebrated shortly after sunset on Holy Saturday. In some Anglican churches, including the Episcopal Church in the United States, there is provision for a simple liturgy of the word with readings commemorating the burial of Christ.

Easter Sunday is generally not considered to be a part of Holy Week per se as it is generally considered to be the first day of the new season of the Great Fifty Days, or Eastertide, which is marked by the fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.



Silver Angels Life Coach Program

One of the great synergies we have as the Spirituality Pillar is our utilizing the skills of our Chaplain Corps for all manner of pastoral care to many people in need, not just in our facilities themselves, but in other ways as well.

Silver Angels is our non-medical home care specialists in TN and as such they have partnered with our Chaplain Corps to provide at home spiritual care to their customers, as in the case of the “Life Coach Program. Bryan Smith, our Chaplain at Pine Ridge Care & Rehabilitation Center in Elizabethton, TN explains in the video below:

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Discover more about the Life Coach Program at


Spirituality Activated: Solutions – Chaplain’s Return To Hospital Reduction Program


Based on goal setting accomplished this year with facility administrators, the Spirituality Pillar is developing and piloting new programming to further address specific needs in our facilities.

One of the major initiatives for Signature HealthCARE of Pinellas Park was in improving its Return to Hospital numbers. With this goal in mind, their chaplain designed a program to track and measure intensified spiritual intervention efforts directed towards the areas of customer and family satisfaction in an attempt to reduce “customer experience”-related RTH cases.

The case study involved two groups of residents, one which received normal levels of chaplain care with the second receiving “increased bedside attention” with the assistance and cooperation of all other departments in support. Strong emphasis was placed upon increasing stakeholder engagement through listening and encouragement with a goal of seeing whether more frequent and intensive interventions with more engaged caregivers could make a measurable impact on the rate of discharges returning to hospital.

While the effects of the study on the actual RTH levels were mixed, the exercise itself was extremely impactful in raising patient/family satisfaction and stakeholder engagement overall. The full details of the case study can be found

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Spirituality Activated: Solutions – Spiritual, Civic and Healthcare Events Calendar

CHAPLAIN SOLUITONS - Spiritual, Civic and Healthcare Calendar-page-001

In an attempt to inform everyone on important observances throughout the year, the Spirituality Pillar has created a new online tool which collects information on these major events into one online resource.

In order to better assist chaplains and other department heads in the planning process about spiritual, civic and healthcare-related events throughout the year, we are pleased to announce our new online Spirituality Calendar

The calendar is located in the Spirituality Pillar section of the Signature Corporate website and is laid out in an easy-to-read format showcasing all the important spiritual holidays observed by major religious groups in the United States. The calendar entries about each event contains clickable information as to how each is commonly celebrated by those who observe them, as well as links to further information.

The calendar also provides clickable content for all major civic holidays, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, as well as for major healthcare-related observances throughout the year, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia Staff Education Week in February or National Nurses Week National Nursing Home Week and the National Day of Prayer in May.

The calendar is internet-based, accessible worldwide, and can be found


DID YOU KNOW . . . Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is close the time of King’s actual birthday, January 15.

King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in both federal and state law. King has become a national icon for his eloquence and his successfully challenging the then-prevailing mindset of racism in the United States, effectively ending the legal codification of discrimination based on race and creating a new birth of equality for all people which still endures and grows in American Society today.

The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. United States Representative John Conyers (a Democrat from Michigan) and United States Senator Edward Brooke (a Republican from Massachusetts) introduced a bill in Congress to make King’s birthday a national holiday. The bill first came to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979. However, it fell five votes short of the number needed for passage.

Soon after this, the King Center turned to support from the corporate community and the general public. The success of this strategy was cemented when musician Stevie Wonder released the single “Happy Birthday” to popularize the campaign in 1980 and hosted the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. Six million signatures were eventually collected for a petition to Congress to pass the law, termed by some as “the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. history.”

At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill, which was proposed by Representative Katie Hall of Indiana, creating the federal holiday to honor King.  It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.

The holiday is celebrated in many different ways throughout the nation, with many schools and businesses being closed in observance of it, but one of the most popular ways of remembering King and his contribution to the freedom of all peoples is in the viewing of his “I Have A Dream” speech, which is available for viewing on YouTube HERE.

The “I Have a Dream” is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for an end to racism in the United States. The speech, delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Widely hailed as a masterpiece of rhetoric, King’s speech invoked the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, the United States Constitution and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

The part of the speech which most excited the crowd at the time, and which has now become the most famous, is the last portion where King described dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred. Perhaps the most famous line of all, a line which is now seen as a symbol for freedom and racial equality and is know by heart by millions today is the following:

“I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”





DID YOU KNOW . . . Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora in other nations of the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.

Kwanzaa was created by Maulana Karenga in 1966 as a specifically African-American holiday, “an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history” as he termed it. The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. Many African Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa do so in addition to observing Christmas.

Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba, which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy,” consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason.

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed, corn (Muhindi) and other crops, a candle holder kinara with seven candles (Mishumaa Saba), a communal cup for pouring libation (Kikimbe cha Umoja), gifts (Zawadi), a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles.

Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art; colorful African cloth such as kente, especially the wearing of kaftans by women; and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. Libations are shared, generally with a common chalice, Kikombe cha Umoja, passed around to all celebrants. The holiday greeting is “Joyous Kwanzaa”.