Sacred Dying Philosophy

Online Vigil Training was created by Sacred Dying Foundation . . .  but what is Sacred Dying?

The Sacred Dying Philosophy is concerned with bringing spirituality, through presence and ritual, into the physical act of dying. Sacred Dying facilitates the creation of a setting where death is experienced with honor, respect, and sacredness. This can be as simple as being present with a loved member of your family and as complicated as transforming the vision of our entire society. It is a proven approach to providing spiritual aid to the dying and their loved ones.

Sacred Dying involves both the body and the soul in the greatest transition we are ever called upon to make.

Death may be inevitable, but dying alone or in fear does not have to be. In Western society, many have lost touch with the  spiritual aspect of death and dying. Medicine and technology valiantly (and wonderfully) save lives yet treat death as a failure or an embarrassment. Our current cultural norms are not conducive to allowing  grace and dignity when it is time for a person to die; we often do little more than give a passing nod to the spiritual and religious  elements of the end-of-life experience.

The Sacred Dying Foundation

Based in San Francisco, the Sacred Dying Foundation (SDF) was created in 1996 by celebrated author, theologian, and educator Megory Anderson. Her recently revised book, Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life, is recognized as a landmark contribution on end-of-life issues. Megory developed the Sacred Dying Philosophy through her experience helping hundreds of people through the transition from life to death. Her work provides the basis for the Foundation’s mission and programming.

SDF is dedicated to changing the way our society experiences death and dying. The Foundation’s primary goal is to return the sacred to the act of dying by serving those who are at the end-of-life. SDF wants to change the model of how we approach death as a whole through educating the public on new models of death and dying for our society.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Megory Anderson

At the time of death, each person must face the extraordinary journey from this life to whatever is next. SDF is committed to transforming the dying experience by reintegrating spiritual and religious practices into the end-of-life process. Returning the sacred to the act of dying can and oftentimes must be a one-on-one act. Each individual death must be honored as a life. SDF is unique in its service to individuals and families facing the death of a loved one. Our highest priority is to reclaim death and dying with respect, honor, and sacredness. We believe that no one should have to die alone.

On the larger level, we educate people about the sacredness of this event and what it will take to transform our understanding of death and dying. This education must be targeted to the medical and technological community, the health care industry, and also to the religious community.

A not-for-profit educational organization, SDF seeks to change the way our society understands death and dying.

Outreach & Education

In addressing the multi-religious and multi-cultural practices and beliefs of our society as well as topical ethics issues, the Foundation is an educational organization that provides information, training, resources, counsel, and an international network for those engaged in end-of-life issues.

We consult with:

  • Hospices
  • Medical Centers
  • Religious Congregations
  • Ethics Committees

On topics that include:

  • Changing how our culture perceives death and dying
  • Incorporating multi-cultural and religious components into the end-of-life transition
  • Ethics
  • Implementing Sacred Dying Philosophy within an existing organization
  • Pastoral care of the dying

For detailed information on programs, please view our Vigil Training page.

“The process of dying is a difficult one, with many fears

and anxieties,

but it is also a very mysterious and wondrous process.

It involves both the body and soul in the greatest transition we

are ever called to make.”

~ Megory Anderson ~

excerpt from

Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life


    Sacred Dying Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.