Our Lady of Angels

Our Lady of Angels

One of the various titles of the Virgin Mary is Our Lady, Queen of Angels. When St. Francis founded the Friars Minor, he located the center of activity for the Order in a little church near Assisi dedicated to Our Lady of Angels, nicknamed the Little Portion (Portiuncula). This humble chapel became the root and home of the Franciscan movement. Ever since then, Franciscans have invoked our Lady’s help under this name.


When the Irish Capuchin Friars came to America, they named their first parish, in Hermiston, Oregon, after Our Lady of Angels. They did the same with one of their first parish in California, at Burlingame. It seemed only right, then, to name Our Lady of Angels the patroness of the new province of Capuchins in Western America in 1979. In 2010, to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the friars in the west, a pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Angels, Mother of Vocations, visited each of the friaries. The patronal statue now resides at Old Mission Santa Inés, in Solvang, California.


The icon depicted was painted by iconographer Abbot Damian Higgins of Holy Transfiguration Monastery. It was given by the friars to the Irish Capuchin Province as a gift for their vision and support of the western Americas mission which is now the Our Lady of Angels Province.

Mission Statement

As Capuchin Franciscans we follow Saint Francis of Assisi as brothers, living the Gospel in prayer, fraternity and ministry, witnessing simply to Jesus Christ and the Church as a joyful presence of hope and salvation to all, especially to those most in need.

Province History

Feb 11, 1910 - Arrival in Oregon

Capuchins Frs. Thomas Dowling and Luke Sheehan arrives in Hermiston, OR. in the newly created diocese of Baker thru the invitation of founding Bishop Charles O’Reilly.

Beginning of the Mission

Nov 1910 - First Church established

Our Lady of Angels Church at Hermiston, OR was dedicated on November 13 1910. The very first church erected by the Irish Capuchin mission in the western americas. An old two story house: Downstairs was the Church, upstairs was the rectory.


Jan 1912 - Friars at Portland Archdiocese

Frs. Camillus Killian and Ed Walsh was appointed to take over St. Joseph’s Parish in Roseburg, OR under the invitation of Archbishop Alexander Christie.

1920 - St. Francis Church Dedicated

10 years after the first Mass celebrated by the Irish Capuchins, a new church was dedicated to replace the old mission church in the city of Bend, OR. The laying of foundation and dedication was led by Bishop Joseph Francis McGrath on Nov 1920 with Fr. Luke Sheehan OFM Cap. as pastor. the aptly named St. Francis of Assisi church, is still in existence today.

June 1920 - Irish Capuchins in Mendicino, CA

The Irish friars were invited to take over the pastoral care of mission churches in along Mendicino county coastline from the English Capuchins by Archbishop Edward Hanna.

Irish Capuchins in California

Dec 1922 - Watts, Los Angeles CA

By the invitation of Archbishop John Joseph Cantwell, the friars took formal care of what was then known at Holy Redeemer Church in Watts, Los Angeles. Fr. Joseph Fenelon OFM Cap became the first pastor. The Capuchins also asked that the parish name be changed to St. Lawrence of Brindisi, after the Capuchin Saint and Doctor of the Church.

Nov 1924 - Old Mission Santa Ines

Archbishop Cantwell gives Mission Santa Ines, the 19th of the 21 missions founded by St. Junipero Serra,  to the care of the Capuchins. The first Capuchin pastor was Fr. Albert Bibby, assisted by Frs. Reginald O’Hanlon and Colmcille Cregan.

Dec 1926 - San Francisco

The Capuchins accepted Archbishop of San Francisco Edward Joseph’s invitation to set up a convent and parish in Eaton (present day Burlingame), south of the city of San Francisco. On Dec 19th, 1926 The first two Masses were celebrated at the newly found Our Lady of Angels parish by Fr. Thomas Dowling, who became its first pastor.

1937 - The Mission becomes a Custody

The Irish province chapter of 1937 also changed the status of the American mission in the west. The general definitory of Order elevated the mission into the Custody of St. Patrick. Thus a new era has begun with needs to start expanding the custody to include its own formation houses.

Mission to Custody

September 1946 - The Seraphic School

The idea of opening a seraphic school or minor seminary was one of the mandates of becoming a custody. After the war, an active search for a suitable location found an old country club in the foothills of La Cañada, California. Archbishop Cantwell of Los Angeles asked the friars if they would also open the minor seminary to other boys due to the lack of a Catholic boys high school in the area. The friars agreed and St. Francis High School, an all-boys college prep high school, came to existence.

Provincial Council

St. Francis wanted the leaders in his Order to be servants. The Province is led by the Provincial Minister and his Councilors. They are elected by the friars every three years to serve the needs of the friars and coordinate the various houses and ministries of the Province.

Therefore, the ministers, who are servants of the brothers entrusted to them and for whom they will have to account to God, shall serve them humbly, remembering that they themselves must obey God and the brothers.
Capuchin Constitutions Chapter X - Our Life in Obedience

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