Interfaith Health Care Association of Manitoba

Spiritual Health Awareness Week (SHAW) provides an opportunity to recognize the value and dedication of spiritual and religious service providers of all faiths who work in specialized settings such as, hospitals, long-term care facilities, mental health centers and correctional facilities.

Tansi my friends,

Welcome to you all as we enter this sacred space of sharing for Spiritual Health Awareness Week. I offer tobacco to Creator to honour all of you, your time, energy, gifts, as we begin this week’s journey together with all our Ancestors from the Sacred Directions and All our Relations. It is important for us to take a moment and reflect upon the journey we each take as an individual and collectively as a family, team, and society.

The Medicine Wheel teaching is foundational for us because of its emphasis upon reflection towards the four quadrants in connection to each other. This week is an opportunity to focus our energy through the Spiritual quadrant of our Medicine Wheel seeking the wisdom that will reveal itself to us in our daily meditation and reflection. And so I start with a question, ‘What is Spirituality?’

Interesting question. Many of us will have a different answer, depending upon what part of Mother Earth we come from. If you will allow me, I would like to share a teaching with you. It is the Stubbed Toe teaching via the Indigenous Medicine Wheel.

This teaching is meant to illustrate the importance of connection, relationship, and reliance upon all that is around us as we proceed to a space of acceptance and understanding when we ask why.


You are awakened in the middle of the night, by a sound, difficulty sleeping, or simply the need to go to the bathroom. On your way, you stumble and stub your toe on the bed, doorway, or an object in the dark – what happens?

  1. Physical from the Eastern Direction of this journey – most likely severe pain radiates up your body and you begin to jump around grabbing for your toe.
  2. Mental as we move quickly to the Southern Direction for understanding – you acknowledge the reality of what has happened and prepare yourself…
  3. Emotional Direction of the West – most likely will scream, swear, cry, and so forth.
  4. Spiritual arriving in the Northern Direction of Wisdom – We begin to ask ourselves ‘Why did this or does this happen to me?’

Asking the question “why” is part of the human condition. We try to make sense of that which we perceive beyond our control or is happening to us. It is a necessary part of the healing and accepting reality of our lives. This “why” focuses our mind and spirit to see our current situation in a different light – to explore our sources of strength around us to support us along our journey.

Beginning today, seek the space and time to rest, reflect on where you are along your personal and professional journey. What strengths can you draw upon to explore the question WHY?


Michael Thibert
Spiritual Cultural Care Provider
Indigenous Health


From Moral Distress to Moral Imagination


Winnipeg Free Press Article:

Compassion the calling card for spiritual health practitioners

Co-written by Deborah Martens and Doug Koop



Manitoba Proclamation for Spiritual Health Awareness Week

Provincial Proclamation