MANCHESTER, N.H. — Three local students studying nursing at Saint Anselm College were among others who gathered Jan. 24 in the Abbey Church for a blessing before they begin their first clinical placements.

The Blessing of the Hands Ceremony is a college tradition that symbolically and literally pays honor to the hands of nursing students for clinical care.

The local students included Caroline Vigue, of Pittsfield, and Logan Granholm and Elizabeth Walker, both of West Gardiner.

A total of 97 future nurses representing eight states received the Blessing of Hands, marking the beginning of their clinical rotations of the nursing program at Saint Anselm.

To be eligible for this honor, a student must be in good academic standing and have completed three semesters of a liberal arts nursing curriculum.

The nursing students were joined by faculty, family, and friends, listening to prayer and reflection. Father Mathias Durette, O.S.B., presided over the blessing.