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Reading the book, “God’s Hotel,” by physician, Victoria Sweet

I am currently reading the biography, God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet (copyright 2012)From this reading, I have learned many things not limited to but including

  1. the word, viriditas
  2. that viriditas comes from the Latin word for green, and
  3. that one meaning of viriditas that was used by Hildegard during a period of premodern medicine is “the analogous power of human beings to grow, to give birth, and to heal” (p. 86).

Today, I read a story from the book that touched me and that exemplified the importance of considering the environment that is both outside and surrounding the person, as well as within the person, when considering what might contribute to a person’s difficulties and also to what might help a person to grow, to give birth, to heal—to nourish and support the viriditas that exists in a person. I liked this quote and wanted to share it.

Watching Terry heal from Hildegard’s perspective of viriditas changed my point of view from figure to ground. Forever after, instead of focusing on my patient vaguely surrounded by his environment, I also did the opposite—I stepped back and focused on the environment surrounded by my patient. And asked myself: Is anything interfering with viriditas?  What can I do to remove it? —Victoria Sweet, God’s Hotel, p. 101

Is anything interfering with viriditas — inner things, outer things? If so, how can we try to change it? And what is the wisest way to do so?



Reference: 2012 (Sweet, V.) God’s hotel: A doctor, a hospital, and a pilgrimage to the heart of medicine. New York: Riverhead Books.

Photo by Tracy Riley, 2011.