This week’s #HiddenCatholicCollections takes a look at the Archives of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, Conventual Franciscan Friars in Mt. St. Francis, Indiana. The collection has over 1060 linear feet of materials documenting all aspects of their ministry in the United States. Conventual Franciscan Friars first arrived in the US in 1852 to serve German-speaking immigrants around Galveston, Texas. The Province of Our Lady of Consolation was founded in 1926 by Friars en route to Buffalo who were told to report to Carey, OH instead.
The Archive’s main stacks contain a range of collections including such diverse materials as records of missions in Zambia, India, and Honduras; Province directories, vow books, newsletters and deceased friars; documents from parishes and the Mt. Saint Francis retreat house. The Archive is digitizing its media holdings – cassettes, records, VHS. Highlights include friar’s funerals, chapters, simple vow, and solemn vow ceremonies; Fr Bonaventure Crowley’s commercially produced slide shows “Flowers Are Like People” and “Homes and Gardens.” There are also videos of Fr. Paul Faroh, whose family owned “Faroh’s Finest” (a chocolate shop in the greater Cleveland area), making giant Easter bunnies that were sold for the missions. There are videos of the present provincial, Fr. Wayne Hellmann, doing presentations on St. Bonaventure. Wayne has been involved in producing many books on St. Francis. For a complete behind-the-scenes tour of the Archive, click here.
Collections range broadly and include such treasures as a 15th century psalter, handwritten and in gold leaf, and papers related to Marian Anderson (1859-1940, later Mary Anderson de Navarro) a famous actress from Louisville whose uncle, Anthony Mueller, a Conventual Franciscan priest (1824-1878), gave her the Mount Saint Francis property, which she gave the Friars.
The Archive has not been fully digitized and an online finding aid has not yet been established, however, researchers are welcome to make an appointment to visit in person. For more info, contact Archivist Bro. Dennis Moses at [email protected]
Images courtesy of The Office of the Archives, Province of Our Lady of Consolation.
Bro. Dennis Moses
Province of Our Lady of Consolation
Conventual Franciscan Friars
101 St. Anthony Drive
Mount St. Francis, Indiana 47146