Photos by

Lynn Johnson

Washington Post


© dwij 2002
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herese Schroeder-Sheker, creator of the Chalice of Repose Project, is academic dean of the School of Music-Thanatology at St. Patricks Hospital in Missoula, Montana, where she brings twenty-nine years of experience in care for the dying and a wealth of musical accomplishmnts.

Music-Thanatology is a contemplative practice with a clinical application. It uses music individulized to the patient's needs and is delivered at the bedside with voice and harp. The goal of this heartfelt program is palliative care, relief of the emotional, physical and spiritual pain of the dying and their loved ones.

Therese's Chalice of Repose


Therese Schroeder-Sheker

Project provides an innovative and ground-breaking alternative to the current American response to the issues of death and dying. Chalice of Repose practitioners attend death bed vigils with live prescriptive music designed to respond to the individual needs and symptoms of each patient. The musician-clinicians then surround and anoint the dying patient with music to stimulate or soothe specific processes in the physical body.

The project's mission is to lovingly serve the physical and

spiritual needs of the dying with prescriptive music; to educate clinicians, health care providers and the public about the possibility of a blessed death and the gift that conscious dying can bring to the fullness of life; and to integrate and model these contemplative and clinical values in daily practice.

The Chalice of Repose Project does not work under the auspice of any religion. Practioners embrace the holistic notion of spirituality, and affirm the value, primacy, and wisdom of deep interfaith dialogue and ecumenical initiatives. The Chalice worker learns how to be present to another's pain when there is nothing else that can be "done," and this requires both emotional and spiritual maturity.

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