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Chapel Hill – Patricia Cadle, MRE, BCC, Oncology Chaplain at UNC Health Care’s Department of Pastoral Care, was honored as the 2012 Chaplain of the Year by the North Carolina Chaplains’ Association. This award is presented annually at the Association’s spring conference in recognition of “distinguished ministry in pastoral care” to a chaplain “who serves patients, community and colleagues with grace and innovation.”

Chaplain Cadle said, “Receiving such an award is both humbling and affirming; it is an affirmation that what I’ve done here, providing spiritual support and care, makes a difference for cancer patients, families and staff.”

“The staff here is exceptional. I value our team approach and being a part of that team,” continued Chaplain Cadle. “Healing comes in different ways, and through the team approach patients are cared for not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.”

One of her nominators, a medical oncologist, said, “If a new patient is beginning treatment, this chaplain is there to walk with them through their journey,” and that “she is a great resource in helping patients face End of Life decisions.” Another nominator, an oncology nurse, noted that “this minister handles very difficult situation with a gentle calmness, keen insight, and deep respect for all beliefs and faiths.”

A cancer patient’s caregiver wrote, “The most incredible meeting of the day was with one of the chaplains. She did a most wonderful thing for me. She helped facilitate conversation and extracted from my partner and me things that needed to be said for us to get clear on some of our concerns. It was a truly emotional, spiritual and therapeutic 20 minutes. She then said a heartfelt prayer which brought much some needed peace in a time filled with angst and crisis.”

Chaplain Cadle earned her BS in therapeutic recreation from UNC-Greensboro, her master’s in religious education from Duke Divinity School and completed her chaplaincy training at Alamance Regional Medical Center. She came to UNC Hospitals in 1998 and began serving as the oncology chaplain in 2001. Chaplain Cadle has served as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) for 21 years. She is endorsed by the Western Association of the Southern Conference of the UCC to provide chaplaincy services to UNC Hospitals.

“The best part of working with patients and families is hearing their stories, being invited on their journey, and working with them to make that journey a little more joyful, a little more peaceful, a little more manageable,” Chaplain Cadle explained.

“I have found my ministry here, for the past 14 years, to be both meaningful and rewarding. I am grateful to this institution for the freedom to provide a variety of spiritual resources to an ever changing community of people.”