The Art of Death Midwifery: An Introduction and Beginner's Guide

ABOUT Joellyn St. Pierre

Joellyn St. Pierre
I'm an ordained interfaith minister with a doctorate in divinity focused on Death as a Transition. For 25 years I enjoyed a professional career in theatre appearing 7 Broadway shows including “A Chorus Line,” and “Pippin,” as well as teaching, directing and choreographing natio More...



National "Best Books 2009" Awards winner for best book in the death and dying category!

Our society does not do death well. Past civilizations and cultures engaged highly developed systems designed around caring for the terminally ill and easing them through the process of dying, whereas modern cultures tend to hide from death and sequester the dying. In Joellyn St. Pierre’s beautifully crafted The Art of Death Midwifery: An Introduction and Beginner’s Guide, the author―who left a lengthy and successful entertainment career to become an ordained minister and dedicate her life and her skills to the dying―removes the veil of mystery that has long shrouded the care of the dying. Physicians, hospice workers, social workers, families, everyone who cares for and gives support to the dying, will learn that death midwifery, a way of communing with the dying, is a balm for those transitioning from this life into what awaits them. This manual is designed to impart those skills and disciplines required to improve the ability to be a more effective guide. From the mythology of death to preparing to give support, from understanding how to create a spiritual sanctuary to being comfortable with how one  speaks to those in transition, this is an important and effective book. Through it, helpmates learn that while they may think they have great power over the dying, it is the dying who must feel empowered. With empowerment, the author reminds us, comes the peaceful sense of a life fulfilled. When this is achieved, passage becomes not a tragedy of death, but a celebration of life.
Kirkus Discoveries

MIDWIFERY: An Introduction
and Beginner’s Guide
BookSurge (272 pp.)
$18.99 paperback
April 27, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4392-2906-4

Doctor of interfaith Divinity and 18-year death midwife St. Pierre introduces the practice of
assisting the dying as they transition from the physical world to the nonphysical.
The book serves as a guide for professionals who frequently encounter death: nurses, hospice
workers, etc., as well as those preparing to serve someone close to them during the last days. St. Pierre
stresses the ability to sit with acceptance and love in the presence of pain and suffering and to honor the
choices and belief systems of the patients. She also teaches methods of matching their states of
consciousness to stay connected throughout the experience. Allowing for patients’ different
backgrounds, the author includes prayers, breathing and meditation techniques from various spiritual
traditions as proper preparation for the role as conduit for divine energy and of the creation of a sacred
space. A brief discussion of brainwave frequencies and the 13 phases of death—charted as “the Deathing Spectrum”—help to demystify the
process, as do stories from St. Pierre’s years of personal experience. Her tales of communication from beyond the grave may compromise her
credibility for some, despite the bit of scientific support she gives for communication with the unseen world. References to death guides from
myth and religion build appreciation for her profession, but it is when the author describes the intimate loss of loved ones (dogs, parents and best
friends) that she connects readers on an intimate level with gritty, nearly uncomfortable emotion.
An essential read for those ready to offer time, love and service during the big transition.