Working at Our Lady of Lourdes Health runs in the family for Catherine Woods.
Woods, nutritional service manager at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, has served in our ministry for 25 years in a number of roles.
“I was always inspired to work at Lourdes by my mom, Drusilla Landry,” Woods says. Her mom has worked as a licensed practical nurse in the Endoscopy Department for more than 30 years, and her uncle Oran Washington Jr. was also a team member for more than 20 years. “They enjoyed working for an organization with a passion to help those most in need and that was centered around God, which led me to pursue a career at Lourdes.”
Woods began in the laundry department, moving to food services after the birth of her second child in 1999.
“I was eager to learn new things to enhance my attributes and find my purpose,” she says. Her willingness to learn and do more led to career advancement and higher education.
Her then team leader offered to send her to a Microsoft Excel class at South Louisiana Community College.
“I attended the classes not knowing that was the kick-off to my future,” Woods recalls. In 2005 she was promoted to administrative assistant for the food service department, and her new journey began. “I worked in that position for nine years and learned so much about finances, how to be a successful leader and how to lead with compassion, which came from the guidance of my director.”
A Life-Changing Trip
Woods was honored with the prestigious Franciscan Service Award, in June 2009. The award is the highest form of recognition sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, the Sisters who sponsor our health system. The following spring Woods was chosen to represent our organization on a mission trip to Assisi, Italy and Paris, France.
“That trip changed my whole entire life in a positive way,” she says, “I had a different outlook on life, my purpose and my relationship with God was being rebuilt.”
Back to School
With much prayer and family support, Woods decided to return to school for her associate’s degree in business management and later continued and earned her bachelor’s degree.
Juggling roles as mom, wife, team member and full-time student was a challenging time in her life.
“Those challenges led me to depend totally on God and God alone,” Woods says. “I had an awesome support system that would also encourage me. Through those tough patches I always stood on Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.’”
Pursuing and continuing a career in healthcare came from a desire to help others in their time of need. “We are able to touch so many lives in a positive way,” Woods says. “This was one way I would be able to give back. My purpose is to help those most in need, seek to serve and give others the same opportunities that was given to me.”
Black History Month
Recognizing the accomplishments of Black Americans is important all year, but when Woods considers Black History Month she sees it as an opportunity to pay tribute to leaders who paved the way for the Black community.
“Black History Month symbolizes the culture of African Americans, the struggles and achievements of African-American leaders,” Woods says. “We have some of those same type of leaders here today that symbolize and represent some of those same attributes of those leaders from the past. It is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of Black excellence.”
This year in recognition of Black History Month, our health system is reflecting on The King Center’s 2023 theme to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and life: It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset.
“I cultivate my community by spending time listening to others, collaborating with other church groups and volunteering at our local pregnancy center,” Woods says.
Her favorite quote from Dr. King is “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Woods says, “We can’t go wrong if we just choose to do what is right!”
Our DEI Commitment
Our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion supports culturally competent care education for our team members all year long, including during Black History Month each February.