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A Catholic you want to know: Tami Ashcraft

Registered nurse from St. Louis Church prays with patients, views work as 'ministry'

Published: July 16, 2016   
Brenda Clark
Tami Ashcraft is an RN care coordinator at Ouachita Valley Family Clinic, where she prays with patients who want that additional care.

Why you want to know Tamara D’Annette Lynn “Tami” Ashcraft: Tami, raised Catholic, has been active in the Hispanic community and is a registered nurse care coordinator at Ouachita Valley Family Clinic in Camden. She is enrolled in the UAMS College of Nursing Accelerated RN to BSN/MNSc program.

Parish: St. Louis Church, Camden

City: Hampton

Age: 54

Family: Married to Tommy for nine years; three adult children and nine grandsons



Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “Grow in your Family of Faith.” What are some ways you learn about Jesus and Church teachings?

Research. A lot of the Catholic people don’t do a lot of research. They don’t study the saints, even, anymore. And so they don’t understand the gifts of the Holy Spirit the way the saints do. When I was teaching catechism, one of the most important things I would try to teach my kids is that you have to learn to be Catholic from “people being Catholic.” I can tell you this stuff all day long, but you have to go to church and you have to study the people that went before you.

Have you been Catholic all your life?

Yes. I was raised in Missouri. My mother was Catholic. My father was not anything. When my grandmother got sick, I would go out to see her. They lived in Wichita Falls with my uncle. I was lying there one night, right across from their bedroom, and I could hear them saying the rosary. It made me so sad because here is my aunt and uncle and their kids, and they are not saying the rosary. It was just my grandparents.

I thought that is horrible. Nobody says the rosary anymore and I started to cry. I thought, you know, I might not be a good person, but I can say the rosary every day. But I couldn’t remember it and I was so ashamed. It was horrible. That was my mission, I thought. At that moment, that night, that was my mission: to say the rosary, and to learn how to say the rosary again.

When did you start attending Mass in Fordyce?

Probably 25 years ago. I was in Camden. I went from St. Louis to the little mission church Good Shepard. So here we were. We were on fire. We got together every Wednesday and we said the rosary, did the Mercy chaplet. Eventually we had enough Hispanics that Father Henry Bordeux, OCD, came and said Mass for the Hispanics. Jeannie Devlin and I were asked to go and teach English in Leola. We did Sparkman and we did Leola and then we’d go to Mass.

What do you do in your capacity as a nurse?

I am an RN care coordinator. I work at Ouachita Valley Family Clinic. What I do is work with the higher risk or sicker patients to help them to better understand how to take care of themselves to the best of their ability in their world.

Is it a ministry?

It is definitely a ministry. I pray with my patients. Because I work for Baptist (Health System), I am allowed to do that. If they are open to it and they want to, we do pray. I couldn’t do that working for the government. That is one of the reasons I am still there, after 20 years.

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