Spiritual Health

Migdalia Pannullo, Director

Pastoral Care Department

Chaplain’s Office (1St Floor next to the Main Elevators)

718-960-6280 or 347-534-6247 (cellphone)

Pastoral Care at SBH

Being sick or injured can be frightening and emotionally draining.  In addition to your medical care, SBH Chaplains offer emotional and spiritual care for you and your loved ones.  Our chaplains are available to listen, to comfort, and to help you draw upon your personal strengths.

How many patients and families benefit from pastoral care services?

Healing includes the whole person, body, mind, and spirit.  With a serious illness, the body as well as the spirit may need attention, and seeking support and spiritual guidance can help you take control of the situation.  The chaplain’s goal is to ensure patients and their families receive the spiritual support they need to cope with your diagnosis and treatment.

What pastoral care services are offered at SBH/SBCCC?

Your hospital chaplain respects your religious tradition and personal experiences.  Whatever our own denomination may be, chaplains come to support rather than persuade.  We also welcome the involvement of your home clergy while you are hospitalized.  The chaplain for St. Barnabas Hospital and Rehabilitation Center may be reached Monday through Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm by calling 718-960-6280.

How can a chaplain serve you?

Chaplains follow the lead of the patient/resident and intervene in appropriate ways unique to the needs and desires of the individual.    This includes support and help in accessing the patients and/or family’s resources through compassionate listening.  Chaplains are there to be with you especially as you go through difficult moments.

What if I’m not religious or don’t have a religious affiliation?

Pastoral care services offered at SBH are non-denominational and independent of any particular religious’ affiliation.  It is not necessary to belong to a congregation or even consider yourself religious to consult a chaplain.  Pastoral care is provided with sensitivity to specific religious needs and confidentiality about your own thoughts and concerns.

What is the SBH Spiritual Room?

The Spiritual room is a nondenominational space offered to persons who may need a moment of quiet.  The only thing we ask is to respect others who may be in the room at the same time and maintain a quiet place.  The mediation room is located on the ground floor between the main elevators and the hallway leading to the exit.  The Spiritual Room is located on the Ground Floor of the hospital and is open 24/7.

How can I access pastoral care services or speak to a chaplain?

For more information about the services described in this brochure or to contact a chaplain, call this number:   718-960-6280.    You may also call the Operator (after normal business hours??) who can call the chaplain for you.  The chaplain will make every effort to meet the spiritual needs of each patient in the hospital and resident in the continuing care and rehabilitation center.


“Spirituality is a dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity through which persons seek ultimate meaning, purpose, and transcendence, and experience relationship to self, family, others, community, society, nature, and the significant or sacred. Spirituality is expressed through beliefs, values, traditions, and practices.” Puchalski, CM, Vitillo, R, Hull, S.K., Reller, N. Improving the Spiritual Dimension of Whole Person Care: Reaching National and International Consensus, Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2014: 17(6); 642-656.

“Interventions, individual or communal, that facilitate the ability to express the integration of the body, mind and spirit to achieve wholeness, health, and a sense of connection to self, others, and[/or] a higher power.” American Nurses Association and Health Ministeries Association, Faith and Community Nursing:Scope and Standards of Practice (Silver Spring,MD: American Nurses Association, 2005)

It is clear from these definitions that spiritual health is much more than having a religious faith and attending church/temple/mahjid. In fact, the importance of having meaning and purpose cannot be overstated (Victor Frankel, Man’s Search for Meaning).

What is Spiritual Distress?

  • Questions meaning/purpose of life/illness
    • Asks “Why me?”
    • Expresses hopelessness/despair
    • Withdraws
    • Grieves
    • Is not coping
    • Is not accepting
  • Expresses abandonment by God or Faith Organization
  • Feels guilty or deserving of punishment
  • Feels self to be bad, sinful or unlovable
  • Stops spiritual practices
  • Raises religious issues
  • Calls out for help from God
  • Experiences a sudden death, crisis or trauma

Spiritual Practices

There is power in having a daily spiritual practice. It can be as short as 1 minute; the power comes in doing it every day.

  • Read a daily reader – quotes, inspirational ideas.
  • Meditate
  • Do a breathing exercise.
  • Chant a mantra.
  • Do a metta meditation: May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I be safe and at ease.
  • Go through a relaxation exercises. Here is Autogenics training: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/veteran-handouts/docs/AutogenicTraining-508Final-9-5-2018.pdf
  • Instead of sun bathing try tree bathing right here in our Sycamore Grove!
  • Join a spiritual community.
  • Have a practice of gratitude, kindness or compassion.
  • Practice social justice!
  • People pray in so many ways.
  • Develop a personal relationship the Divine – whatever that means for you.
  • Sing and/or dance.
  • Listen to music.


Brene Brown, Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, 2018

Richard Davidson, The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them, 2012.

Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, 2018.

Eknath Easwaran, Meditation: A Simple Eight-Point Program for Translating Spiritual Ideals into Daily Life, 1993.

Kristen Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, 2015.

Shana Shapiro, Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain for Calm, Clarity, and Joy, 2020.

Daniel Siegel, The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them, 2010

Oren Jay Sofer, Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication, 2018.

Eckhard Tolle, Practicing the Power of Now, 2001.

Blurbs on Spirituality from Workplace

Practice of Gratitude:




Clearness Committee


Live in Love


Being with Not Knowing


Being with Wild Things and Nature


Translating Meaning









Good morning, I love you


Spectrum of Feelings




Serenity Prayer




Tips on faiths