"This is our calling: to heal wounds, to bind what is broken, to bring home those who are lost."
-- St. Francis of Assisi
Over one hundred years ago, six Franciscan Sisters set sail for America from France. They came with meager personal belongings and very little money, enduring personal hardships and cultural barriers on a mission to bring health and spiritual wholeness to the sick and needy of Louisiana. Their efforts formed the foundation for the mission of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady in the region today.
In 1923 these determined pioneers established a school of nursing to perpetuate their healing ministry. This school of nursing has grown from an initial class of nine students to become Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, formerly Our Lady of the Lake College, an institution that continues the legacy of faith and academic excellence of those founding Sisters.
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is continually blessed to have the support and leadership of the members of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady who serve as role models in their unwavering faith in God and their mission to serve those most in need. Some examples of recent news, recognitions and support given by the Sisters on behalf of the College include:
FMOL Celebrate 100 Years
September 30, 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady’s journey to the United States. In 1911, six courageous Sisters arrived in Pineville, Louisiana, to build a sanitarium. They were headed by Mother Marie de Bethanie Crowley who did not waste a single moment when she learned their plans in Pineville would not work out. The Sisters then moved to Monroe where St. Francis Sanitarium opened in 1913; followed by Our Lady of the Lake and the Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing in 1923; Our Lady of Lourdes in Lafayette in 1949; and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales in 2000.
“Throughout the years more than 150 Sisters have served in various ministries in Louisiana. These courageous women have left an indelible mark on our communities and continue to do so each day as they work in our facilities in administration, nursing, pastoral care, finance, legal and education,” said John Finan, CEO of the Franciscan Missionaries of our Lady Health System.
Each facility held a special Mass and Celebration honoring the Sisters and the incredible work they have accomplished over the years. At its Annual Luncheon in September the University also gave a special recognition of the significant impact the Sisters’ have had on the institution.
In the Fall of 2011, Sr. Martha Ann Abshire, f.m.o.l., joined Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University as Campus Minister. As the first campus minister in the University's history, Sister Martha Ann, a 1972 alumna, brought vision, purpose and faith to this role.
College’s Board of Trustees
In 2013 Sister Margarida Maria Vasques, o.s.f., joined the University’s Board of Trustees to serve in the role of Member-at-Large.
Many thanks to Sister Uyen Vu, M.S.N., R.N., f.m.o.l. (an alumna from ’99, ’06, and ’08), who has officiated on multiple occasions at a Blessing of the Hands ceremony for the University. This ceremony blesses individuals participating in Service-Learning, civic engagement, and other kinds of service for the community.
By selflessly serving others in the manner of St. Francis of Assisi, the Sisters continue to illuminate the purpose and possibility of our healthcare ministry.