By Maria Hayes 

While in Chicago from Nov. 13 to 16, the Provincial Council blessed the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Provincial Archives and Library, established in August. The archives sit on the ninth and fourth floors of a building in downtown Chicago that is owned by the Claretians, with whom the friars have ministered, and occupied by several other religious archives. 

The materials in the archives span more than 175 years of Franciscan history, with items ranging from stained glass and statues to books that friars wrote to preserve the Navajo language. They tell the story not only of the Church, but also of America and the world – everywhere the friars have served. 

Bringing together collections from each province is no small task and requires careful planning. The archives currently house the entire collection from the former Assumption BVM Province, and the library from the former Our Lady of Guadalupe Province. Director Brie Martin and Librarian and Reference Archivist Jessica Blanchet are preparing to receive the library collection from the legacy Sacred Heart Province soon, with more collections on the way. 

Friars and staff are more than welcome to visit or volunteer in the archives, and Brie and Jessica hope to welcome researchers to the reading room soon. In the meantime, requests for information can be submitted via email ( 

Everyone is encouraged to contribute to the preservation of our collective history. The provincial archives are accepting any Franciscan-related possessions, such as records and correspondence of historical importance, homilies, photographs, scholarly work, and anything that shows the richness of the Franciscan narrative. Every contribution, regardless of size, helps paint a more complete picture of the shared journey of the Franciscan friars and is an opportunity to preserve and share this history with future generations.  

The repositories in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Butler, New Jersey; Cincinnati, Ohio; and St. Louis, Missouri remain open for contributions, and the new provincial archives and library in Chicago is welcoming material. If you are unsure of whether the archives are interested in your material, please contact Brie ( She is happy to answer your questions over email, phone or video call. 

The Provincial Archives and Library can be found at 205 West Monroe Street, Suite 900, Chicago, 60606.