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Sir Peter Cosgrove opens the new wellness centre at St John of God Hospital in Richmond, NSW (The Catholic Weekly/Alphonsus Fok)

Sir Peter Cosgrove, patron of a major Catholic hospital project, has praised the spiritual element of health care as most needful, in a fast-changing society where many people are being left behind. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

The former governor-general and head of the Australian Defence Force unveiled a new wellness centre at St John of God Hospital in Richmond on August 3 for the mental health care of military veterans and first responders.

The centre is the first stage of a $65 million redevelopment and contains a gym, indoor pool, treatment rooms and a meditation or meeting room.

Seventy per cent of veterans and 85 per cent of first responders from police, ambulance and fire brigades are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder on admission to the specialist hospital.

“Part of our Australian character is what I call ‘muscular compassion’ where we identify the needs of people who would otherwise be left behind by the fast pace of Australian life and reach out to them and bring them with us,” Sir Peter said at the opening, attended by the hospital’s executives and senior leaders, board members, veterans and members of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

“We do it in all forms of healthcare but one of the most needy forms of healthcare is that which you cannot see — that which is in the spirit of the person who is feeling left behind and has been neglected.”

As a Catholic, he said he is “enormously proud” of the role of the Church’s role in healthcare. “These days it’s the ethos rather than the staffing that is so resonant with Catholicism,” he said.

“But wherever that ethos remains strong then Catholic hospitals will be an incredibly important part of the national fabric of health care. 

“I have no doubt that the core of the morality of life-saving, life-affirming care in the Catholic part of the health system is as strong as ever it was.”


Spiritual healing for wounded veterans (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)