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Franciscan Values Demonstrated when Student Stops to Help Save Newborn Baby

Cassidy Bergeron, a pre-nursing student at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, needed to run a quick trip to Walmart.  Once there she saw people standing by the bathroom and stopped to help.  Thanks to Cassidy and other quick-thinking rescuers, a newborn infant left in a New Roads Walmart bathroom trash can survived.

From her exclusive interview with WBRZ:  

"I was going to keep walking, but then I was like, I need to go help," she explained.

That's when Walmart workers passed Bergeron a seemingly lifeless four-hour-old little girl. A store employee who found a bloody mess in the store's bathroom thought quickly enough to check the trash. Inside that garbage can the employee found the baby wrapped in a plastic bag.

"They came to me with the baby...and the first thing I could think to ask was, have y'all called 911 yet," Bergeron said.

Knowing that help was on the way, what she did next was simply instinct.

"It was turning blue, and I was like this baby is not breathing...The first thing that came to my mind was to either, start CPR or I'm going to give it a tap on the back, ya know, to see if it starts breathing," Bergeron said. "I gave it back to the woman, she was holding it and I kinda just hit it and let her hold it, and you could hear it."

Rescuers credit Bergeron's quick thinking with keeping the girl alive.

"It just kinda went, *inhale sound*, and then it started crying," Bergeron said.

Bergeron said news of the rescue quickly spread through Facebook, but humbly said she's not the only one who should be given credit for the rescue.

"You know, it's on Facebook already, and everybody was thanking me, you know which is great," Bergeron said. "But you gotta think about the cops, the fire department, the paramedics, volunteer people, everyone that was there. We all did it together."

The quick-thinking nursing student never thought about walking away from the infant when she was needed.

"When you have that baby in your arms, and you're looking into its eyes, I didn't know what it was at the time. I mean, what are you going to do, she's already been left, I'm not leaving her again," Bergeron said.

Bergeron said a trip to the store turned out to be just what she needed. She now knows for certain that nursing is exactly where she belongs.

"But if you ask me today... yes, that's what I want to do," Bergeron said. "To sum everything up, there is one word, and that's God. God put me there in that moment, and I don't know why, but you can't question why...but God put me there, baby Olivia is healthy at Woman's and that's all I could ask for is for that baby to live a healthy life."

As a Catholic Franciscan institution, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University creates an environment that emphasizes the value of service in the community.  Explains Br. Ed Violett, SM, Vice President for Academic Affairs, “We are all really proud of what Cassidy did as part of a team of emergency personnel. We challenge all our students to live the mission of serving others, especially those most in need.  Her heart is definitely in the right place.”

“The graduates of our nursing program have been equipped with the requisite skills, knowledge and education in nursing to promote health and deliver quality nursing care to individuals, families and communities,” says Phyllis Pedersen, DNP, CRNA, Dean for the School of Nursing.  “But it is more than that . . . we also facilitate the development of professional nurses within an educational climate of honesty, respect, inquiry, creativity and collaboration.” 

To see WBRZ’s exclusive interview with Cassidy follow this link.    


College Announces Name Change

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady announced on October 4, 2016 that Our Lady of the Lake College will change its name to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. The announcement was made by Sr. Barbara Arceneaux, Provincial for the Sisters. Founded in 1923, Our Lady of the Lake College is the only Catholic Franciscan institution of higher education in the southeastern United States. Supporting activities for the name change will begin with today’s announcement and full implementation of the name will be complete in 2017.

Expansion of programs in recent years, including doctoral level degree programs, has prompted the College to adopt a name change to University that reflects the advanced programs being offered at the institution. In addition, the change to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University honors both the ministry’s founding sponsors and its Franciscan ideals and values as expressed through education and formation. Curricula in all academic disciplines emphasizes Franciscan formation, a distinct experience for graduates, especially those seeking preparation for healthcare professions.

“There are a number of reasons why we are excited to announce a new name that recognizes our institutional maturity…our university status,” states Dr. Tina Holland, President.  “But I am most excited about the opportunity to declare the proud heritage entrusted to us by our Sisters, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Our new name is a clear reflection of our commitment to enhance our Franciscan identity.”

Our Lady of the Lake College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, master's, and doctorate degrees.

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University will maintain its three established comprehensive schools: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Health Professions and the Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing. Today, the University has an enrollment of 1,600 students and a full-time faculty of 76. In keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, the University is devoted both to academic excellence and service to the community and welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

The service learning program has become a nationally recognized cornerstone of the curriculum. During 2014-2015 academic year, students provided 61,587 hours of service locally. In early 2011, the College was named by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Carnegie Engaged Campus. In addition to this prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification, the College has been named seven times to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Since 2012, the College has earned the enhanced "With Distinction,” an honor bestowed on only 120 colleges and universities in the nation and the only institution in Louisiana.

Our Lady of the Lake College was initially founded as a nursing school in conjunction with the establishment of Our Lady of the Lake Sanitarium in the Capitol Lake area of downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Today ─ over ninety-three years later ─ the institution has grown to offer a broader range of programs while maintaining its focus on healthcare.

“Academics has been a growing component of our organization and the perpetual learning environment maximizes the positive impact we have on individuals and the greater community. With almost a century of ministry, we seek always to honor the past and give our best in the present in order to embrace the future and its many possibilities. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University represents that total philosophy,” said Scott Wester, President and CEO Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

The new name does not change the institution’s historic relationship with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. Rather, according to Holland, “By highlighting our university status and our Franciscan identity, we believe we are better positioned to serve and support the Sisters’ healthcare ministry within the many higher education alternatives.”

“An important impetus for the new name is that the first cohort of students will graduate with Doctor of Nursing Practice-Nurse Anesthesia (DNP) degrees in December of 2017,” she adds. 

About Our Ministry

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is a non-profit, Catholic healthcare ministry primarily serving in Louisiana through its hospitals, network of ambulatory services and physician practices, long-term care, elderly housing, health and wellness services, and a clinically integrated network, in addition to the university. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge is the flagship and largest of the health system hospitals.


Alumnus Named 2016 Nightingale Award Recipient

Congratulations to Andrea Normand, class of 1970, who was named the Registered Nurse of the Year by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation.

When Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana decided to open a pediatric ER, they chose Normand as its first nurse manager, and she remains there today, serving as a role model to everyone she makes contact with.

In 2009, Our Lady of the Lake College recognized Normand as one of its ‘85 Who Have Made a Difference.’ Her nomination stated “During the time she was Pediatric ER Manager, her unit saw exemplary patient and employee satisfaction ratings. Ms. Normand has mentored hundreds, maybe thousands, of nurses and doctors, serving as a role model to everyone she has made contact with along the way . . . She has always set the tone for nursing excellence by simply being on shift and setting an example.”


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