Conventual Franciscan Friars first arrived in the United States in 1852 to serve the German-speaking immigrants around Galveston, Texas. From there, Friars migrated into the Midwest and back toward the east coast. By 1872, the number of Friars and amount of activity in the U.S. grew to the point where a Province was established, named for the Immaculate Conception and based in New York. Eventually, other provinces were formed throughout the country.
In 1926 the Province of Our Lady of Consolation was formed to serve in the Midwest. It is centered at Mount St. Francis, located in the hills of southern Indiana across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. Because the friars in Ohio had been guardians and ministers at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio since 1912, the name Our Lady of Consolation was chosen for our province.
In 1947 the Province of Our Lady of Consolation established its first mission in the former British Colony of Northern Rhodesia, which today is the nation of Zambia. In 1970 the friars went to Honduras in Central America. More recently the Province’s mission efforts have encouraged the growth of the Catholic faith in Uzbekistan.
The year 2010 marked the 150th anniversary of the Friars’ presence in Louisville and southern Indiana. In 2012 the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation celebrated its centennial of Conventual Friar stewardship of the Basilica and Shrine parish.
Today the Province has Friars serving in areas from the upper Midwest all the way into the desert Southwest. We host friars from Central America, India, Mexico, Poland as we always look to deepen our Global Brotherhood.