Emily Broussard Walker ’19 wanted to use her gifts and talents to help bring comfort during the hard times of the pandemic and came up with the idea to create Novena bracelets.
Prior to the COVID-19 quarantine, Walker volunteered at a local hospital in Lafayette. “Like all non-essential workers, we were asked to stay home for the time being in an effort to control the virus and to protect our vulnerable population at the hospital. Since my Franciscan heart is always looking for a way to help, and the best way to help is to stay home and to pray, I had an idea of how be of assistance while sharing some creative talents that I have been blessed with.
She said that she started by researching Catholic websites to find nine prayers that were relevant to the pandemics: prayers for healing, for healthcare workers, for solitude, for those seeking employment, etc. “Nine prayers are what a Novena consists of, so I combined the prayers to create a complete Novena to offer to anyone interested. In addition to the prayer, I created bracelets to wear as a reminder that we are in a Novena period of prayer.”
In just two weeks, Walker had already made 200 bracelets. “To say that the Novena bracelets were a hit is an understatement! An extra 200 Novenas were said by 200 people who believe in the power of prayer and discernment. Many groups of friends did virtual Novenas together, and many families with young children started off their mornings with the Novena. The sense of community and connectivity among all bracelet-wearers provided comfort and support, making this time of isolation a bit more serene.”
Walker stated that the intent of the gesture was about praying not paying so she did not want to charge for the bracelets but has accepted small donations to pay for supplies such as beads, string and shipping, but only from those who were able and willing.
The alumna expressed that she always identified with St. Francis as being her kindred spirit. “I was named after him and my father, my middle name at birth was Frances. I've always known that, whatever I end up doing in life, I was meant to be part of a team that helps people in need.”
In 2003, she graduated with a B.A. in History and Geography from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 2016 she studied Biology: Human Medicine at FranU and in 2019 earned her Master of Healthcare Administration from FranU.
“FranU was a perfect fit for me. Not only did I challenge myself academically by studying Human Medicine and receiving a Master of Healthcare Administration, I also vowed to challenge myself spiritually by engaging in the living scripture during my time at FranU. When virtues and values of fortitude, justice, and compassion are instilled in us, we are a natural fit as constituents of the medical community; whether we are clinicians on the frontlines or as administrators in the background. To further my Franciscan education and spirit, I have recently become a formation candidate of the Lafayette Chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order,” stated Walker.
Some of her accomplishments and affilations are: President, Franciscan Student Fellowship 2017-2019; Spearheaded Human Trafficking Art Sale in 2017-2018; Spearheaded Peace, Love, and Boudin in 2018-2019; Committee Member of REACH, FranU’s Quality Enhancement Plan in 2018; FranU Alumni Association Committee Member; Free to Breathe—Lafayette Committee Member; Honoree at 2018 Fete des Fideles; Distinguished Graduate Award 2019-2020 for Diocese of Baton Rouge; Franciscan Student Award, MHA Program 2019; Organizational Collaboration Award 2018-2019, as Franciscan Student Fellowship President; and Louisiana Volunteer Service Award 2019.