The Chalice of Repose Project ®

History at a Glance
Forty Years and Vibrant (1973 – 2013)

Photo: Lynn Johnson

Organizationally: In September of 2012, we began the fourth decade of our work.  Each decade has been characterized by transformational development and expansion.  The Chalice of Repose Project is the first and original music-thanatology program in the world. With forty years, our associates have a very distinguished history of clinical care, publication and pedagogical experience.

For those who are interested in more information on the Chalice of Repose Project or the history of the field of music-thanatology during the first three decades, these areas are detailed in Transitus: A Blessed Death in the Modern World.   For the purposes of the web, we have decided to encapsulate the years in broad-brush outlines, and keep readers informed of newest developments in as much detail as is possible.  The first volume of Therese Schroeder-Sheker’s long-awaited multi-volume work The Luminous Wound is now in final revisions. It is scheduled for publication in 2014.  It will provide in depth coverage and information meaningful to professionals and lay readers alike.

Most Current (December 2013): Over the decades, we have flourished in several different physical locations as well as educational, clinical and corporate structures. As the needs of the profession, the organization, the School of Music-Thanatology,  the faculty and students repeatedly, exponentially expanded and grew, we made important moves for expansion and sustainability. We relocated the national office to Mount Angel, Oregon in October of 2002 and have been able to expand the program in many ways.  Please read the brief sections below for a quick overview.

Past Overview (1973 to 2002): The nineteen pioneering years in Denver, Colorado included the original efforts at Ars Antiqua, a center for medieval musicology, followed by an undergraduate program at Regis University, and finally a master’s degree program in pastoral care at St. Thomas Theological Seminary.  In 1992, in response to a corporate invitation, I decided to relocate the Chalice of Repose Project and the School of Music-Thanatology to Missoula, Montana, a small university town in the American Northwest near the Canadian border. There, we shifted from the contained and protected world of seminary academia into the bustling and chaotic heart of corporate medicine.

While in Missoula, we were located in two different buildings over the decade.  The period from 1992 to 2002 included a fruitful alliance with St. Patrick Hospital, (founded by the Sisters of Providence), and four of the long-term geriatric care facilities of The Goodman Group/Sage Corporation.  We also covered a local hospice, and peripherally, the Community Hospital, and attended patients in hospitals and hospices in both Helena and Hamilton, Montana.

(2002 to 2013) In the Fall of 2002, we relocated the corporation, school and clinical program to Oregon, and were able to expand out work to serve in new and essential ways.  We began to offer two graduate level educational programs on-line, Contemplative Musicianship and Music-Thanatology.  For the last eleven years we have been able to make the work available nationally and internationally and also publish a good deal of new material.   During that time, we have also occasionally offered specific related courses through other institutes and universities, St. Catharine University, Duke University and The Catholic University of America among them.  However, we have always remained an independent clinical, educational and publishing institute.

In October of 2013, we completed the Contemplative Musicianship CMP15 cycle which had been offered at St. Catherine University.

The Music-Thanatology cycle designated as MTH9 is being offered by the Chalice of Repose Project and begins in February of 2014.

This means that the Chalice of Repose Project has completed twenty three separate cohorts of on-line classes. The student profile is national, international and spiritually diverse.

The Opportunity to Learn about Us: The work of music-thanatology has been imitated, at times, by efforts to simply bring harps and harpists into hospital settings. We invite you to discover more about the Chalice of Repose Project. Being the first of its kind, it is the premiere music-thanatology organization in the world.  Or associates are the leaders in the field, with maximal clinical, pedagogical and publishing experience.

The Chalice of Repose Project is the only organization able to verify the music-thanatology education of our own past or present associates. We advocate the value of formal, back-ground fact-checking because there is erroneous information on the web, and we have discovered that some individuals who have never applied to or attended our programs have misrepresented themselves to hospitals or hospices as having graduated from or completed our programs. If you would like to verify that an individual enrolled in and/or successfully completed our courses, at any time, and in any location, from 1987 to the present, please contact the Registrar by writing Our commitment is to continue grounding the field in the world with integrity, artistry, spirit and substance, and in so doing, we bring the palliative and pastoral work to hospitals, medical settings and communities throughout the world.

Photo: Lynn Johnson

The Mystery of the Human Being: Music-thanatology brings together a disciplined and very particular contemplative curriculum which, in the end, re-unites medicine, spirituality and music. Our primary focus is on the patient and on the mystery of the human being who is becoming more thoroughly human. We work towards the relief of physiological pain and spiritual suffering that may be eclipsing the quality of life at the end of life. If pain is so extreme that it prevents interiority, the palliative care team will offer every modality possible for compassionate care so that an inner life may be cultivated or protected.

Dying and Becoming: In this light, we work to facilitate conditions in which an individual may find meaning even in their diminishment. We are committed to bringing the experience of death back into the fullness of the life cycle, and of supporting the shared experience of death with loved ones and communities, thus helping to transform the personal and collective experiences of dying and becoming. We are further committed to the possibilities of a blessed, peaceful and/or conscious death, especially when lovingly and deeply supported. Our second focus is on the health of the musician-clinician (and other providers and care-givers), for how we really are affects the vulnerable patient, their loved ones, and the entire health care team. We hope that this work inspires readers from many walks of life, all of whom might be seeking new and living ways of being within the fullness of the human life cycle.

End of Life Care: The Chalice of Repose Project programs for the care of the dying take place in cities across the country, from coast to coast.  Though Oregon is the national headquarter for the corporation, Chalice has colleagues and associates in many locations.

Last updated Wednesday, 19-Mar-2014