• By Dana Sparks

In the Loop: ‘Stay with me awhile’ is a play about keeping vigil

November 28, 2017

caring hands holding each other for comfort
Mary Johnson spent more than 30 years as a hospital chaplain. The experience inspired a creative endeavor in her retirement: writing a play about what it's like to keep vigil.


Mary Johnson served as a hospital chaplain at Mayo Clinic for 31 years. During that time, she often had a front-row seat to the difficult circumstances that brought people to the hospital. "One of the things chaplains commonly do is attend vigils that families are keeping with their dying loved ones," she tells us. "A typical example is being called to the emergency room at 2 a.m. because someone had been brought in after suffering a serious heart attack … or perhaps it was a car accident. I would go to the emergency room and sit with the family."

She'd often do the same in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and the labor and delivery area at Mayo Clinic Hospital — ­Rochester. "Most of my work there was also loss-related," Chaplain Johnson tells us.

As heartbreaking as these events were to witness, she tells us it was "a privilege" to share that time with families. "I had some very memorable experiences." Read the rest of the story.
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This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog. 

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