Franciscans of the Immaculate

Fr. Louis, Bp. Burke, Fr. Peter, Br. Joseph

In 2007, then-Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke approached the Franciscans of the Immaculate to request their direction of pastoral care and spiritual assistance at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On July 13, 2008, three Franciscans of the Immaculate arrived in La Crosse to begin their residence at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The Friary is dedicated to Franciscan theologian Blessed John Duns Scotus.

The Franciscans of the Immaculate provide spiritual assistance and pastoral care for pilgrims in the form of preaching, celebration of the Sacraments, and delivering talks to groups of pilgrims upon request. The Friars also assist in the spiritual and doctrinal formation of members of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, the altar-boys Guild, Our Lady’s Knights of the Altarand the Troops of Saint George.

Father Peter Damian M. Fehlner was the first Rector of the Shrine Church until 2014.  Father Fehlner passed away on May 8, 2018.

Father Jacinto M. Chapin became the second Rector. 


Father Elias Mills  is the Third Rector of the Shrine on December 11, 2016.

Also serving the Shrine are Fr. Joachim Mudd and Br. John.

The Franciscans of the Immaculate were founded by two Conventual Franciscan friars, Father Stefano Maria Manelli and Father Gabriel Maria Pellettieri. Together they outlined a form of life for the friars, sisters and the laity after the example of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, giving the fullest expression to the Marian dimension of Saint Francis‘ ideal and Rule.

The Franciscans of the Immaculate was established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1990 as a diocesan institute. The Institute was erected as a pontifical institute of religious life by Pope Saint John Paul II on January 1, 1998, the Solemnity of the Mother of God.

The Miraculous Medal is worn as part of their habit. To learn more about the Miraculous Medal and Our Lady’s apparitions to Saint Catherine Labouré, click here.  Video of a talk given by Father Elias at a parish mission, click here.

Like the Seraphic Father Saint Francis, the Franciscans of the Immaculate strive to be perfectly conformed to the poor, humble, crucified Jesus through a life of obedience, supernatural charity and poverty. They are totally consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of her Immaculate Conception after the recent example offered by Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe.

For more information about the Franciscans of the Immaculate, please visit

Saints and Blesseds associated with the Franciscans of the Immaculate

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