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Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady

Over one hundred years ago, six Franciscan Sisters set sail for America from France.

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 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 moved to Monroe, Louisiana where St. Francis Sanitarium (now known as the St. Francis Medical Center) opened in 1913; followed by:

  • Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, LA in 1923
    • includes the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital which began operating as a hospital within a hospital in 2004 (transitioning to a free-standing hospital in 2019)
  • Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing, Baton Rouge, LA in 1923
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Lafayette, LA in 1949
  • Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, Bogalusa, LA in 2014 
  • Our Lady of the Lake Ascension, Gonzales, LA in 2019
  • Woman’s and Children’s Hospital, Lafayette, LA in 2019

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, former CEO of the Franciscan Missionaries of our Lady Health System. 


Sisters Steps

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, 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.  

This is our calling: to heal wounds, to bind what is broken, to bring home those who are lost."  -- St. Francis of Assisi 

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.

Martha

Vice President, Office of Mission Identity

Beginning in Fall of 2011, Sr. Martha Ann Abshire, FMOL, joined Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University as Campus Minister.  As the first campus minister in the college's history, Sister Martha Ann, a 1972 alumna, brought vision, purpose and faith to the role. She currently serves as the Vice President of Mission Identity.

Margarida

University’s Board of Trustees

In 2013 Sister Margarida Maria Vasques, FMOL, joined the University’s Board of Trustees to serve in the role of Member-at-Large. 

Blessing Of Hands

Blessing of the Hands

Many thanks to Sister Uyen Vu, FMOL, 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.

Are you called to serve others?

You may be interested in a religious vocation. In the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady ministry, Sisters pursue various career paths in medical, professional and other fields, and work in various capacities. 

Learn more