Friday, 26 June 2015

10 Amazing Artifacts of NL: The Sick Call Kit

We are very pleased to announce that Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum is featured in this month's issue of Downhome Magazine. The article highlights ten interesting and unique artifacts from across the province. We are honoured to be included in this exclusive selection of amazing artifacts; each an important parts of Newfoundland's culture and history. 

Want to know a little more about the history of our featured artifact? Of course you do. 

This artifact is known as a Sick Kit, or a Sick Call Kit. Sick Kits were used by priests to administer last rites to those who were too sick to leave their homes. Roman Catholics often had Sick Kits in their homes, but priests also possessed them for any necessary occasion. They were easy to travel with, as the kit can be closed, and each item securely placed in its rightful spot. Each piece in the Sick Kit had a unique and vital role. 

The candles were lit when the priest came to the door, where he was greeted, and then led to the dying individual by candlelight. The priest brought holy water with him, which he transferred to the small bowl at the base of the crucifix, using the handled spoon to carefully transfer the holy water. The small brush was dipped into the holy water, and sprinkled on the sick person. 

The two shallow silver dishes each had an individual purpose. The first was used to hold oil - which was used to anoint the sick individual - and the second was used to hold cotton or stale bread, so that the priest could wipe the oil from his hands. 

Last rites refers to a priest's administration (usually in the following order) of Penance, Anointing and Viaticum. This ritual is meant to prepare the dying person's soul for death. Penance is the confession of one's sins in order to be absolved, and thus allows the person to get into heaven. Anointing is the act of pouring or sprinkling oil over one's head or body. This is done with the purpose of relieving suffering. Viaticum is another term for the Eucharist, and is latin for "provision for the jouney." Viaticum only takes place if the dying individual is in fact able to receive it.  

The history of this particular Sick Kit is very interesting. It is quite old, as it dates prior to 1897. It was originally owned by John and Annie Griffen who were residents of the community. It was passed down through three generations of people, and eventually was donated to the museum by Mary Kennedy in memory of her family. 

Want to read about the other amazing artifacts from across the province featured in this article? Pick up your copy of Downhome Magazine at Downhome Shoppe and Gallery on 303 Water Street. 

Check out the link below to read about one of the featured amazing artifacts. Cow Head's Murderous Axe:

-Katie Harvey

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