Since it began in July 2018, Hugs from Jesus has grown into an initiative that many are inspired to support.
This prayer shawl ministry serves our patients at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. These shawls are made by hand and are given to patients to act as a sign of love and comfort during their hospital stay.
The main individuals heading up the Hugs from Jesus efforts are St. Mary’s nurses Sophia, Lilia and Carol. Sophia and Carol’s church supplies about 20 to 25 shawls every month. At the church, about eight to 10 sisters get together on the third Thursday of each month to make Hugs from Jesus shawls.
Carol Caddel, RN, (pictured above, middle photo, left) shares that she started Hugs from Jesus as a way to let patients know they are loved.
“Their Savior knows them personally and is mindful of them,” Carol adds. “It was also something my mom, who I took care of, and I could do together. She personally contributed over 300 Hugs from Jesus shawls prior to her passing.”
Carol personally has witnessed the effect of Hugs from Jesus firsthand.
“The Hugs from Jesus have and continue to leave an amazing effect,” she tells. “When a nurse helps a dear patient up to a chair after surgery, wraps a Hug from Jesus shawls around their shoulders, or as a lap blanket, the patient is instantly reminded that Jesus loves them and is mindful of them.”
Not only do the patients feel the love and warmth from the Hugs from Jesus, but their families also experience its effects.
“The families are very appreciative as they see this as an expression of love for their loved one,” Carol explains. “The COVID-19 pandemic was hard for everyone. When the patient tells their family they received a beautiful, handmade shawl or lap blanket to keep them warm, the family is comforted, too.”
Carol shares that when a patient passes away, the Hug from Jesus can bring comfort to a patient’s family as it is something tangible that they can keep forever to remind them of their loved one.
“It’s amazing how the Lord works,” Carol says. “He keeps all those involved well supplied with materials.”
This sentiment is shown through the continued donations and efforts from our team members at St. Mary’s Hospital as well as the surrounding Richmond community. Multiple churches of various denominations continue to contribute to the cause after Hugs from Jesus impacted someone in their congregation. During one particular donation, two churches provided more than 40 Hugs from Jesus shawls. Many patients, family members and team members have also donated yarn and materials to the unit to keep this program going.
“One patient donated 17 containers of yarn,” Carol shares. “Betsy, a nurse who was previously on the unit, continues bringing yarn to this day. Overall, this program shows our patients that they are loved by their Father in heaven and by the hands of those who take care of them. The hands of nurses are an extension of His love.”