Gov. John Bel Edwards asked in a Tweet Wednesday afternoon for the state’s residents to pray for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who is facing an incurable cancer.

Blanco, 75, told a Council for A Better Louisiana luncheon Wednesday that her cancer had spread to other parts of her body, metastasized, and that while she remains optimistic, she understands there’s “no escape. The monster is not far down the road.”

A devout Catholic who regularly attended lunchtime mass in Baton Rouge while serving as governor from 2004 to 2008, Blanco said she was at peace with the disease, which was diagnosed in 2017.

Edwards asked, “all Louisianans to join their prayers to ours for Gov. Blanco, Coach, and the entire family, so that in this very difficult and trying time they will experience peace and comfort that surpasses all human understanding.”

CABL gave Blanco, Louisiana’s first elected woman governor, its Robert B. Hamm Award for Distinguished Service.

She was elected twice to the state Legislature, twice to the Public Service Commission and twice as lieutenant governor. She made history when she was elected as the first female governor in Louisiana’s history in 2003.

Blanco said she received CABL’s recognition primarily for her work in improving education in the state. During her term, she shepherded the first pay raise in years for public school teachers and praised Edwards for promising to do the same the Louisiana Legislature convenes again in 2019.

Poverty has always been Louisiana’s most difficult problem, the reason the state ranks so low on so many health, income and quality of life surveys, she said, adding that education is the best way to raise people out of poverty.

Blanco expressed anger at political philosophies that curtails spending on education.

The University of Louisiana Lafayette in September established the new Kathleen Blanco Policy Center, which will research issues such as poverty, women in politics, ethics training, criminal justice and higher education.

Blanco is an ULL alumna and her husband, Coach Raymond Blanco, had worked at the university for years. The center is to be on the third floor of the Dupre Library and also will serve as the home of Blanco’s papers.

Acadiana business today: Arguments amplify over amendment on Saturday's ballot to split Lafayette City-Parish Council; Kathleen Blanco on her cancer: 'The monster is not far down the road'

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.