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.

Today our Province has 99 friars serving in areas from the upper Midwest all the way into the desert Southwest.

In 2012, the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation celebrated its centennial of Conventual Friar stewardship of the Basilica and Shrine parish.

What does it mean when someone has the initials “OFM, Conv.” after his name?

The Order of Friars Minor, Conventual, is one of the three branches of the “first order” of the Franciscan family founded by St. Francis of Assisi in the early 13th century. You may also have seen the initials OFM (also 13th century) and OFM, Cap (16th century). Those are designations of the other two.

While we share many things in common – our vows, lives of service, our commitment to the poor – we are distinct in significant ways.

Father Maurice Hayes enjoys meeting the youngest member of the church

The Conventual followers of St. Francis chose to minister in the heart of the city rather than in remote hermitages; they banded together in concentrated communities rather than wandering as itinerant preachers. Hence the suffix, Conventual, as derived from the Latin convenire, “to come together.”

(Conventual Franciscans, Melnick and Wood, 1996)

Father Maurice Hayes enjoys meeting the youngest member of the church