CHRISTUS Health, at a glance, is an international Catholic, faith-based, not-for-profit health system headquartered in Dallas. It is a big organization with almost 350 services and facilities stretching across parts of the South Central United States and Latin America and Mexico. Those are just the quick facts. But, there are thousands who see CHRISTUS as much more. They are the loyal individuals who experience the amazing moments that happen every day in our hospitals, clinics, and offices and through our outreach.
Kala Guidry has experienced a lot of amazing moments thanks to CHRISTUS. She grew up in the geographic center of Louisiana, just across the Red River from Alexandria in a town called Pineville, population just barely 15,000. The pretty backdrop of this small town made Kala the woman she is today as did her interactions with a health system for which that she now so proudly works.
Kala grew up listening to her grandfather, Lawrence Borderlon, talking about his days as a telephone line mechanic and the installation of telephones in Central Louisiana. This tool of communication and information exchange might be ubiquitous to all of us now, but that wasn’t the case in the mid-20th century. That’s when Borderlon was in the telephone business and when he set out to make CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini one of the first community hospitals in the area to have a telephone line in every patient room. It wasn’t just a luxury. It was an important amenity to Borderlon who hoped it would bring comfort to every family and patient during their hospital stay.
This personal history didn’t end with Kala’s grandfather. It carried on with Kala. After graduating college, Kala took her first real job in the IT department at CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini. At 22 years old, she knew CHRISTUS had taken care of her family during good times and bad and she was proud to work among so many outstanding professionals.
One of the outstanding professionals Kala became friends with was the hospital chaplain, Father Chris. She would fix his computer. He would share important spiritual guidance. He would later officiate her wedding, and a few years later visit her in the hospital after the birth of her son.
Father Chris and countless other CHRISTUS Associates were there for those really big life events. Some of them joyous like the births of her son and daughter and others tragic events like the sudden deaths of her beloved uncle just days before her wedding, and not long after, the passing of her grandparents.
There’s something to be said about the comfort one receives in a hospital that can bring about advocacy in our patients. It happened for Kala who is passionately loyal to all of CHRISTUS. As a CHRISTUS Associate, she’s experienced the changes that come in health care. She witnessed the formation of CHRISTUS Health in 1999 when the Sisters of Charity of The Incarnate Word in Houston and the Sisters of Charity of The Incarnate Word in San Antonio came together to join their health ministries.
She rode the tides of change and stayed with CHRISTUS during the move of the system offices to Irving, Texas and now holds a new title of Program Manager for Clinical Standards and Professional Development.
I feel as a CHRISTUS Associate, we all have a responsibility to work together as ‘One CHRISTUS’ That is the best way to thrive during changing times and continue to be a healthcare provider for my hometown, my family and my friends, many of whom still reside in the area.–Kala Guidry, CHRISTUS Health Associate
Kala is in the unique position of being able to understand how the work that we do every day impacts the lives of others, after all it has impacted her life, a life that is unlike no other.