In 1983, Sister Angela Murdaugh along with Sisters Mary Thompson, Damien Francois, and Ann Wojtowicz, founded Holy Family Services. Sister Angela was a Certified Nurse-Midwife at a community clinic in the Rio Grande Valley when she discovered that more than 1,000 pregnant women in Hidalgo county still lacked prenatal care. Holy Family Services was established to provide maternity care for these women.
The initial grant for Holy Family was given by the Meadows Foundation, under the umbrella of Catholic Charities in the diocese of Brownsville. Seven years later, Holy Family became separately incorporated as a non-profit organization in its own right.
Through volunteer efforts and the generous donations of its supporters, Holy Family has grown and continues to serve families that still lack access to adequate health care in addition to those that desire to have an out of hospital birth.
What started here as a small clinic is now a "model birth center", the oldest one in Texas, and comprises a range of facilities: three birthing suites, a clinic, a classroom, a chapel, medical storage rooms, and housing for the many resident staff, volunteers, students, and visitors.
Since its inception, Holy Family has been staffed exclusively by certified nurse-midwives and registered nurses. It has also become an important clinical learning site for many student nurses and midwives. Holy Family offers students a chance to experience midwifery at its best — in a family-centered, culturally sensitive, holistic environment that provides thorough, individualized care and teaching to its patients.
Sister Angela Murdaugh retired from her work at Holy Family Services in 2008 yet her legacy lives on in the many volunteer midwives and nurses that are inspired by her example to continue the mission of Holy Family. She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of her leadership to remove barriers to midwifery practice, her efforts to create regulations for birth centers in Texas, and her innovative service to the impoverished families in the border region.
She wrote this article about Holy Family which was published in the Houston Chronicle March 28, 2010