A Lifetime of Giving: Darlene’s Volunteer Work at St. Bernadette’s

Apr 17, 2024 | About Us

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For Darlene Lovas, RN, BSN, volunteering at the St. Bernadette Community Clinic is a calling and an extension of her professional nursing career. 

The clinic, an outreach ministry supported by Our Lady of Lourdes Foundation, serves underinsured people and those experiencing homelessness by providing non-emergency medical and dental care services.

Darlene’s dedication and commitment to St. Bernadette’s and its patients has spanned more than two decades and is truly inspiring. She is a shining example of the impact volunteering can have on both the volunteer and the community.

From Staff Nurse to Volunteer

Darlene first joined Our Lady of Lourdes as a new graduate in 1972. Her career took her many places around southwest Louisiana and beyond, both in healthcare and other fields. She started working in community services as the staff nurse at St. Bernadette Community Clinic in November 2001.

“That career decision set me on the path  to advocate for the underserved in our community,” Darlene says. “It also brought my nursing career full circle.” 

When she was a new graduate, Darlene’s plan had been to work in public health, and shortly after she began volunteering realized she had accomplished that early career goal to care for the poor.

Darlene volunteers every Thursday, typically from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. She handles accounts payable, keeps up with the medication assistance program and helps with clerical tasks. 

Her commitment to the clinic’s mission goes beyond the confines of its walls. Darlene is a fervent advocate, spreading awareness and garnering support from the community.

Bonds Beyond Volunteering

Darlene says that the best part of her volunteer work is being at the clinic and experiencing the day-to-day joys and sorrows. She is grateful for the opportunity to continue to be part of the clinic and give back to her community. 

She loves the close relationships she has with the team members, other volunteers and patients. Darlene has made lifelong friends – they play games, go to the movies and travel together. Darlene says the volunteer program has become more to her: they are her family and her friends. 

Volunteers as a Bridge

The work of finding solutions to gaps in healthcare and services takes many partnerships from the entire community. Volunteers play an essential role.

“I have met so many kind and generous people who have enriched my life in so many ways, many of whom I am honored to now call friends,” Darlene says. “For this reason, I think of my time in community healthcare as a blessing to me.”

Committed to the Sisters’ Legacy

“It has been a great honor to have had the opportunity to help extend the healing ministry of the FMOL Sisters beyond the ways of our hospital and into the community both as an employee and now through my volunteer activities,” Darlene says. “I hope to continue my service to that mission for many years to come.”

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