Acadiana Priest Receives National Award
The Jefferson Awards are a national system of recognition to honor community and public service. They're presented on two levels: national and local. The awards were established in 1972 as a "Nobel Prize" for public service.
Fr. Louis Richard's beloved grandmother passed away on the day of his graduation from college in 1977. She was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and passed away seven months later.
The following month, Fr. Richard attended a symposium on "Death and Dying" in Belgium by a British physician named Dr. Ciceley Saunders. Dr. Saunders is the founder of the modern day Hospice movement. She invited Fr. Richard to come spend his next summer working at St. Christopher's Hospice in suburban London. Dr. Saunders said when people are diagnosed with a terminal disease, they are often "given up on." She went on to say that's when "care must truly take over."
The experience moved Fr. Richard to care for the dying. He returned to the US, and set about the work to establish a similar program in the Lafayette community. Fr. Richard helped to found Hospice of Acadiana in 1983.
Hospice of Acadiana is the oldest program in Louisiana and one of only two non-profit Hospice programs that accept all patients, regardless of ability to pay.
Fr. Richard is currently pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Broussard. He also serves as Chancellor of St. Thomas More Catholic High School and St. Cecilia School. He has been the chaplain for Acadian Ambulance Service for 30 years.
He was born and raised in Abbeville. Fr. Richard Attended Mt. Carmel Elementary, and Immaculata Minor Seminary in Lafayette. He was ordained August 7, 1981 in St. Mary Magdalen Church, Abbeville.