New York City, NY
United States
1011 1st Avenue Book of Remembrance at St. Clare's Hospital Spellman Center since 1 November 1985
Least These My Brethren [excerpt from page 2]

Starting at four with a quiet musical prelude on the chapel’s organ, the service varies little from season to season. Sister Pascal gives a brief introductory welcome, followed by a staff member’s reading of a meditative poem or short spiritual story. Then, to musical accompaniment, a procession of three or four staff marches to the altar, where they open the Book of Remembrance and light the memorial candle. Thereupon commences the heart of the service, the Reading of Names: quietly – reverently – the staff members alternate in reading aloud from the Book of Remembrance the names of the fifty or so patients who have died on the Spellman AIDS service over the prior three months. There are many names like, Jose, Yolanda, Juan, Maria, and Hector – not the names of middle-class gay white males or people listed in the Times’s obituary columns. These are society’s poor and marginalized: the prisoners and ex-prisoners, the drug users and ex-drug users, the prostitutes, the homeless, the unwanted or the forgotten… unwanted or forgotten, that is, until they came to St. Clare’s and its Spellman Center.

Text © Daniel Baxter A Harvest Book

Daniel Baxtor, New York City