Edward Bassett – From Volunteer to Chaplain

Edward Bassett Copley Hospital ChaplainIn late October, Edward Bassett, pictured, transitioned from his role as part-time volunteer Chaplain to Copley’s full-time Chaplain. Edward, who currently lives in Johnson, was born in South Carolina and has lived and worked around the world. He taught English in Iraq, worked in an AIDS hospice in San Francisco, and, eventually, landed at Vermont State University, where he worked in graduate admissions.

Edward reached out to Copley’s former chaplain, Avril Cochran, to learn more about the chaplaincy program at the hospital. At the time, Edward was a recent convert to Catholicism and was actively pursuing his M.A. in Pastoral Theology. “They weren’t sure what to do with me at first,” he said. Nevertheless, he started volunteering a few hours a week.

Edward says his chaplaincy work at Copley mostly involves going to Med-Surg rooms or to the Emergency Department, introducing himself, and asking if patients or their family members need help or would like to talk. He is not discouraged that people decline. When he does get the opportunity to sit and talk with a person, he says the conversations can go to the deepest part of who we are as human beings, including our deepest longing and our fears.

“Sometimes, it’s about helping a patient take stock of their life,” he says. “Other times, it’s just about trusting that there is something beyond the pain and fear they are currently experiencing. Sometimes, the language is explicitly religious and sometimes it is not. I try to be present with them however they need me to be.”