Volume 20, Issue 4, Winter 2020
Br. Columba Thomas, OP, MD
Improving Spiritual Care at the End of Life by Reclaiming the Ars moriendi
The Art of Dying as a Remedy for Souls
Ars moriendi, or The Art of Dying, was a highly influential fifteenth-century text designed to guide dying persons and their loved ones in Catholic religious practices at a time when access to priests and the sacraments was limited. Given recent challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a heightened need to offer additional forms of guidance related to death and dying. This essay examines the content of the Ars moriendi and considers how key principles from the work apply to the current context. The Ars moriendi, in its direct approach to the salvation of souls and thoughtful treatment of struggles faced by dying persons, offers a much-needed supplement to typical approaches to death and dying today.