I wrote about my experience visiting a medical school anatomy lab a while ago, and I described how viewing human bodies in such intimate detail caused me to consider the spiritual and epistemological dimensions of human life. One Catholic medical school in Chicago also recognizes the spiritual dimension of dissection and reminds students of the sacrifice that once sentient beings offer to further their knowledge. From the Chicago Tribune:
Every year, first-year medical students grapple with gross anatomy, approaching their first human dissection with a mixture of anticipation, anxiety or sheer dread.
On Monday, 150 students at Loyola University Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine approached their task with reverence, reciting prayers and bowing their heads as a Roman Catholic priest offered a blessing over the 18 shrouded cadavers — silent teachers who would guide the aspiring physicians' careers.
"The cadaver keeps speaking to you even in death," said Michael Dauzvardis, director of the anatomy course. "You've got to listen to it. There are volumes of knowledge you can still learn from that person who made that ultimate gift."
During the ceremony, Salvation Army Maj. Debbie Sjogren, of Lombard, stepped up and addressed the students. Her late husband, Salvation Army Maj. Randall Sjogren, was likely under one of those sheets, she said, because he wanted to be one of the next generation's first patients.
"My husband's prayer was: 'I've always wanted my life to bring glory to God. Now I want my death to,'" Debbie Sjogren recounted. "He prayed for every medical student that learns from his body and every patient of theirs that heals from the knowledge they receive.
Read the full article here.