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Samaritan Medical Center

Spiritual Care

Samaritan Medical Center believes that spiritual care is an important part of providing care to Northern New York and the Fort Drum community. If you or someone you love is hospitalized and would like to speak to one of our spiritual/pastoral care staff, please ask your nurse to contact us or you may call us directly at 315-786-4948.

Some reasons you might call:

  • Spiritual encouragement
  • Prayer
  • Sacraments or religious rituals
  • Spiritual support in time of stress
  • Contact with your home congregation or clergy
  • Spiritual literature or materials
  • Family support
  • Help in interpreting your spiritual needs to staff

To Contact Us:

Director of Pastoral Care

phone: 315-786-4948
pager: 315-785-1577
or use our Contact Us Form

Roman Catholic Chaplain

phone: 315-785-4195
pager: 315-785-6782

Learn more about Spiritual Care

Our Staff and Spiritual Care Team
Information for Clergy

  • Worship Close

    We currently do not provide regular opportunities for community worship for those who are hospitalized at Samaritan. However, for those who are able to leave their room and floor independently or for your friends and family, there is a meditation room and chapel on the first floor of the hospital. The room is open at all times and provides a place for quiet reflection.

    If you are Roman Catholic, our Roman Catholic Chaplain is available to arrange for you to participate in the sacramental ministry of the church. Eucharistic Ministers round daily, and local Roman Catholic priests are available regularly to provide the sacrament of the sick and address other pastoral care needs.

    If you belong to another faith group, we will also be happy to assist you in locating resources to support your spiritual needs while you are hospitalized.

  • The Samaritan Medical Center Chapel is currently located on the first floor of the hospital. It is always open and available to anyone wishing to find a place for prayer or quiet spiritual reflection.

    The Pastoral Care Office is located in Room 415 on the fifth floor of the hospital. The office is shared by the Director and the Roman Catholic Chaplain and is the point of contact for area clergy who are visiting the hospital.

    The Samaritan Keep Nursing Home Chapel is located on the first floor. It is always open and available to anyone wishing to find a place for prayer or quiet spiritual reflection.

Meet our Staff

Rev. Leon (“Toby”) Schilling is Director of Pastoral Care Services. Toby has worked in the healthcare community in and around Watertown for over 40 years and at Samaritan Medical Center for the past 15 years. In 2005, he became director of the department. Toby is a graduate of State University College at Oswego with a BA in psychology and of Union Theological Seminary in New York City with a Master of Divinity. Following seminary, Toby was ordained and continued Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Luke’s Hospital where he completed a year’s internship and then went to Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn where he completed a year’s residency in pastoral care. Prior to coming to Samaritan, he served in clinical and administrative positions in psychiatry and alcoholism rehabilitation services at the former Mercy Center for Health Services in Watertown.

  • Spiritual Care Team Close

    Samaritan considers the pastors and other clergy of our community as part of our care team. We welcome their visits and support in ministering to those who come to us for care. If you are a local pastor, please remind the members of your congregation to notify you when they are hospitalized. Otherwise, we will ask them about their religious affiliation and whether they wish to have us visit them while they are here and make necessary arrangements for a visit.

  • Spiritual Care Volunteers Close

    Samaritan has been richly blessed by the gifts of the time and talents of our volunteers. Among our volunteers are Eucharistic Ministers from several of our local Roman Catholic Parishes who come daily to distribute Holy Communion. Some have been specially trained to visit patients who are assigned to them by the Director or do clerical work in the office. Other volunteers assist at our neighboring facility, Samaritan Keep Home, assisting residents wishing to attend a community worship experience held each Wednesday or perhaps coming to the Rosary Group held on Fridays. Others distribute Holy Communion and visit those unable to attend the community services at a central location.
    Interested in volunteering – contact the Director of Volunteer Services at 315-786-4948.

  • Clergy Core Group Close

    The Clergy Core Group is made up of members of our Pastoral Care staff and community clergy and serves in an advisory capacity to the Department.

    The Group meets six times a year and supports us by:

    • Identifying ways we may better identify and meet the spiritual needs of the hospital and nursing home.
    • Serving as a liaison with the larger religious community
    • Advocating for the spiritual needs of the hospital, nursing home, and larger community
    • Raise the consciousness of the community regarding the activities of the Department

    Currently serving as members of the group (in addition to Sr. Flavia and Rev. Schilling):

    • Fr. Arthur LaBaff, Dean
    • Jefferson County Roman Catholic Deanery
    • Pastor, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Parish, Clayton
    • Rev. Leon VanWie, Pastor Asbury United Methodist Church, Watertown.

Sr. Flavia D’costa is the Roman Catholic Chaplain in our department. She is a member of the order Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod and came to us in 2010 from India. Sr. Flavia rounds daily in the hospital and is available to provide spiritual care and support as well as serves as the liaison with the local Roman Catholic community.

Information For Clergy

If you are new to the community as a pastor or spiritual care provider, please call and introduce yourself to the director so that we can facilitate our work together here at the hospital. Anyone with a question or concern should feel free to contact the director at any time.

Samaritan Medical Center is very fortunate to have the support and resources of the local faith community who come and visit their parishioners who are in the hospital and residents in our long term care facility. We feel strongly that patients who are hospitalized maintain their relationship with their home parish or congregation and, with our patients’ (residents’) permission will do our best to let you know when that occurs. In addition, we provide three seminars during the year on topics related to pastoral care to which we invite area clergy. One of those occasions is also the celebration, in October each year, of Pastoral Care Week. On that day, in addition to the educational offering, we share a meal in recognition of and gratitude for the work of the spiritual caregivers who visit our patients and residents.