If you’ve ever called Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital, you have probably spoken with Jacquelyn Carruthers at some point.
Jacquelyn served as a telecoms operatorat the hospital and recently retired after 30 years of service. Her history with Lourdes Hospital goes back even further as it is where Jaquelyn was born in 1960.
After Jacquelyn, a Paducah, Ky. native, graduated from high school, she started college at the University of Louisville but was unfortunately not able to complete her degree. That’s when Sr. Lucy Boniface, a beloved figure at Lourdes Hospital who served as the director of spiritual care, stepped in a changed Jaquelyn’s life.
“I really needed a full-time position and Sr. Lucy gave me that,” Jacquelyn explains. “I was a medical secretary and during the time l worked on the floors at Lourdes Hospital, l was part of nursing administration. It made it possible for me to go back to school and finish my degree. This time, I decided to go to University of Indiana where my daughter also attended school.”
Sr. Lucy inspired Jacquelyn and gave her the push she needed to finish her certifications and degrees.
“I now have a medical secretary certificate from Western Kentucky College, a teaching certification from Murray University, an associate of arts degree from Indiana Purdue with an emphasis on languages and communication and a bachelor’s degree in general studies with an emphasis on languages and communication,” she says. “I also speak Latin, French, Spanish and l do pretty well In Italian. I just visited Rome!”
Jacquelyn recalls that Lourdes Hospital’s diversity team got its start in 2010 when a colleague named Martha brought tacos and wore traditional Mexican dress.
“I was introduced to Martha which led to my Native American paintings being shown at the hospital,” she says. “You know it’s funny, when I was younger our house burnt down and the only thing that survived the fire was one of my Native American paintings. I should have taken it has a sign years ago.”
In addition to her work at Lourdes Hospital, Jacquelyn is an artist whose depictions of Native American women have earned praise and invitations to display them throughout the community as well as at the Kentucky State Capitol Building.
“The series is still growing. Eventually, there will be over 300 pieces,” she says. “Now that I’m retiring, I have more time to focus on my art as well as my writing. I am so excited for what is going to happen in this next chapter of my life. One of my favorite things that I have been doing is teaching at the senior center. The seniors’ art is amazing, and I feel like I am learning from them. They inspire me, and I love feeling inspired. It’s what fuels my work. Their art is like Picasso, and it makes me want to channel that. Even though my eyesight is fading, when I paint, it always comes back.”
Currently Jacquelyn is painting a series of fairies for the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
“Other doors are opening for me,” she reveals. “I’m doing illustrations for a children’s book as well as taking my writing more seriously. I don’t know which will take off, my writing career or my art. Either way, I am excited to let my creative side out.”
Something else Jacquelyn is looking forward to is traveling.
“I think first on my list is Scotland,” she shares. “When I am completely ready to settle down, I want to put a house on a lake so I can just sit and fish all day.”
Thank you, Jacquelyn, for your many years of services with our ministry! Read more stories about our team members.
Also, learn about the health care services we offer at Mercy Health.