REACH: Reflecting on Ethics and Catholic Healthcare

Quality Enhancement Plan for FranU

How does the story of St. Francis and the Leper apply to Ethics and Catholic Healthcare?

REACH centers around the example set by Saint Francis of Assisi of love and acceptance for all of creation. The Franciscan values: “love for all life, joyfulness of spirit, service, humility, and justice” form the foundation for the culture of the University. The image of saint Francis of Assisi embracing the leper tells the story of true servant leadership. Saint Francis’s hands are reaching for the leper, the most outcast of his time, as the leper reaches upward to Saint Francis. This powerful image invokes the message of the responsibility of healthcare professionals to reach out to the underserved of today’s society, to be inclusive, and to promote social justice for all of humanity and the environment.

The significance of hands in the image is very powerful because of the messages conveyed in gestures made by the hands. We use our hands to assist those who are lost, to communicate verbally or through technology, to pray, and to show appreciation. Hands conduct the everyday work of the healthcare professional whether performing complex procedures or smoothing the bedding of a patient to provide comfort. This image of Saint Francis reaching out to the leper symbolizes the care and compassion shown by healthcare providers.