Nuns, Monks and the 'Art of Dying Well' - Sharing Pictures of the Deceased on Instagram

In what might be one of the most bizarre stories of the year, the Catholic Church has starting encouraging Instagram users to post pictures of people close to them who are either dead or close to it. The idea is that nuns and monks will find the pictures and then be able to offer bereavement counselling.

This is all being funneled through an account page called Art of Dying Well, which they hope will turn into a kind of memorial wall for the recently deceased. Tagging any image to this account, combined with the #RememberThem hashtag will get it featured, as well as being shared to five different abbeys and convents, who will then honour and pray for the dead/dying person in question.

Photos have already started trickling in, many of them with captions about who the person was, and what they meant to the person posting. The names will be included in everything from morning prayers to group masses to prayers before the Blessed Sacrament. The account is accompanied by a full website, which seeks to educate people about grief and the notion of 'dying well'.

A photo posted by Art Of Dying Well (@artofdyingwell) on

As any good grief councillor will tell you, actively discussing death is a good way of taking the stigma off of it, and in this case it seems like that's exactly what the Catholic Church is driving at. Instagram might seem like an odd place for it, but it's an open forum, and a vastly popular one. The risk of hateful commenting on Instagram is probably a fair bit lower than Facebook or Twitter, as well. The campaign isn't just aimed at Catholics, everyone is welcome.

There's no getting away from the weirdness of posting images of your deceased dearest on a platform usually populated by plates of food and boomerangs of a cat tilting its head, but for some it might well be the difference between comfortably coping and silently suffering.

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