Class of 2020 Nursing Students Blessed in Nursing Lighting Ceremony

Nursing students hold candles, symbolic of Florence NightingaleCatherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 with a mission to serve the sick and poor. She believed, “We should be as shining lamps, giving light to all around us.” A little more than twenty years later, an Italian-born nurse carried a lamp on her nightly rounds as she tended to wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Guided by her faith and intelligence, Florence Nightingale, the “Lady with the Lamp ,” soon established standards of care and improved the living conditions of soldiers while they were hospitalized. She is hailed as­­­ the foundress of modern nursing. This same faith, care, service, and excellence imbued the Nursing Lighting Ceremony on September 24, 2017 in the gymnasium at Saint Joseph’s College as each member of committed sophomore students lit a candle and joined in prayer. 

Deacon Peter Bernier blesses Libby Pomerleau's handsIn addition to a Blessing of the Candles and the Nightingale Pledge, many years ago Sister Sylvia Comer began a tradition of a Blessing of the Hands for nursing students to signify the beginning of their care for patients. During this year’s ceremony Deacon Peter Bernier performed the blessing and nursing student Jordan Garrigan-Swett ’20 led his classmates in the Prayer of Saint Francis. “The nursing ceremony was especially important to me because it marked our class' departure from the freshman year into the sophomore year when we have started the path of clinicals, and the lifelong journey of patient-centered care. I want to become a nurse because I want to play an integral role in the healthcare community, with respect to the emphasis of direct patient outcomes. I want to adopt the roles of caregiver, teacher, and advocate to make patients’ lives the best they can possibly be, regardless of the diagnosis and prognosis,” he said.

Dr. Anthony McGuire, who serves as chair of the Nursing Department, shared insight into how nursing is both a science and an art. “It is in these clinical experiences where application of the science becomes the art of nursing, marking the beginning of lifelong learning to master this art of caring within the human condition…Let us reflect on and celebrate their commitment and willingness to transform into the role of nurse scientist and nurse artist. May they use these hands to comfort and heal all those they care for,” he said.

Jordan Garrigan-Swett lights a candle during the ceremonyClass of 2020 nursing students include: MaryClaire Attisano, Misha Barbour, Alyssa Bonin, Savannah Bouchard, Keyana Butler, Meghan Caouette, Maria Capozza, Shelby Cash, Marisa Connors, Danyel Conway, Sara Darling, Grace Dehmer, Nora Devine, Jillian Downey, Kaylah Dyer, Sarah Dyer, Cassidy Emery, Whitney Fenderson, Jordan Garrigan-Swett, Corin Geoghegan, Abigail Gummoe, Bailey Gustin, Analyse Harris, Anderson Houston, Shannon Kenny, Alyssa Kidd, Madeleine LaBrecque, Lily Lamkin, Maizie Lee, Kaialee Mercado, Gabriel Merriam, Erica Miller, Chatham Mills, Natasha Munzner, Meaghan Murphy, Brooke Noyes, Katelyn Olsen, Carly Osgood, Abigail Ouellette, Jessica Patterson, Gina Pelechowicz, Libby Pomerleau, Jessica Porter, Marisa Quirion, Emily Roberge, Courtney Ross, Emily Roy, Samantha Springer, Dayle Swasey, Amanda Tavoletti, Emily Valhos, Cody Veilleux, Lillian Wakeman, Christin Weatherbee, and Emily Williams.

Click here to view more photos from the ceremony taken by Jeff Scher. Learn more about nursing programs at Saint Joseph's College at https://www.sjcme.edu/sjcnursing.

-Article by Emma Deans, SJC Communications Officer