Kathleen Gallivan, PhD, Director,
Spiritual Care Services Department

Several times a year, the BWH Spiritual Care Services Department arranges for and often presides at weddings held in the hospital. Usually, a patient is nearing the end of his or her life and family members would like a wedding to take place while their loved one is still alive. Sometimes it is the patient who is getting married, and at other times, it is the son or daughter of a patient. Sometimes the wedding occurs in a hospital room, or if the patient is well enough, it is held in the BWH chapel.

During this past Valentine’s Day weekend, an engaged couple, Zahid and Afsaneh Rathore, made the decision to have their wedding at BWH in the presence of the father of the groom, Amin Rathore, MD, a patient.

A flurry of activities took place that weekend to prepare for the ceremony. On-call chaplain Sue Sullivan, nursing administrator Stephanie DesRoches, MSN, RN, CCRN, catering supervisor Cheryl Betew and the patient’s nurse, Sherri Lin Nobriga-Bonica, BSN, RN, filled the role of wedding planners.

On the afternoon of Feb. 15, Zahid and Afsaneh were married in the hospital chapel with a traditional Muslim ceremony. The wedding party, along with Dr. Rathore and his wife, relatives and friends, were all beautifully dressed in traditional clothing to celebrate the moving event. A family friend pre-officiated at the service and Zahid’s parents even renewed their own marriage vows. There was not a dry eye in the chapel.

A reception took place in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families, with beautiful linens, china and silverware. Dr. Rathore, a physician who completed his training at BWH, stated that this was the happiest day of his life.

Spiritual Care Services extends a special thank you to colleagues in Nursing, Catering, Patient Family Relations, Social Work and Environmental Services for working as a team to  nurture individual beliefs and practices, according to the third Caritas Process.

Zahid and Afsaneh Rathore on their wedding day

Zahid and Afsaneh Rathore on their wedding day