Soul Support

Spiritual Encounters at Life's End

Memoir of a Hospital Chaplain

A young dancer's last hope--a bone marrow transplant--has failed. A homeless man, in the final stages of AIDS, refuses to speak. A newly retired woman has just received a terminal diagnosis and is wailing in despair. What can we learn about death, dying, and the human spirit as we journey with a hospital chaplain into sickrooms like these?

Joan’s memoir offers intimate observations of people coming to terms with their final days. She provides a unique perspective, as a hospital chaplain, of both the practical and emotional realities patients, their families and friends, and hospital staff deal with death and dying.

Buy from the Shalem Institute

Buy from Wipf and Stock Publishers


What people are saying about Soul Support

Maxwell gives word and witness to some of the most profound encounters of the human spirit and the mystery of God. Soul Support will deeply touch all who read about the sacred space of those facing their own mortality, and those who dare to journey with them.
— Jan Naylor Cope, provost, Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
Soul Support is both a thoughtful presentation and a brilliant modeling of the chaplain’s craft at its finest.
— Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal priest, author, and retreat leader
The book is beautiful and profound and courageously bare.
— Schroeder Stribling, executive director, N Street Village, Washington DC.
You give us a marvelous window into the spirituality that potentially can accompany this special time that all of us will face. Each example teaches us its own lessons and highlights how meaningful one’s involvement can be to people who listen, who pray and who begin to understand how to deal with, navigate and accept a new phase of life.
— Edward R. Laws, MD, FACS, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
This book will move you from tears to laughter, anger to acceptance, as it reminds us of the ultimate experience we have in common.
— Anne Cushman

Joan Paddock Maxwell

Joan Paddock Maxwell

About the Author

Joan Paddock Maxwell was trained and served as a chaplain in three acute-care hospitals in the Washington, DC area. During six years as the palliative care chaplain at George Washington University Hospital, she served patients with life-threatening illnesses. The co-author of two previously published books, she received a Master of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary and was endorsed as a hospital chaplain by the Episcopal Church. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband David.