History 430: Theory and Practice
During the late 19th century the, United States was rapidly industrializing and had a growing need for coal; this area of Kansas was more than happy to dig deep into the ground to find this valuable resource. While many native-born Americans came from the east to work in the Cherokee-Crawford coalfields, the need for labor nearly outweighed the need for coal. To meet this need many of the mine owners decided to look beyond the boundaries of the United States and go to the European continent to find people willing to work in the mines. Numerous Italians, Scots, Germans, Yugoslavians, English, Welsh, French, and Belgians were brought in. With them they brought many of their customs and beliefs. Many of the Italians in the area were members of the Roman Catholic faith. In this area for many years the Catholic miners were ministered to by the Missionaries at the Osage Mission, which was located about thirty miles northwest of modern day Pittsburg in what is now St. Paul. For many years once a month a circuit rider from the mission would ride to many of the coal fields and hold mass. From 1882 to 1890 many churches were founded within and outside of the coal fields one of which is Our Lady of Lourdes church in Pittsburg.
Westhoff, Kraig, "The Foundation of Our Lady of Lourdes St. Mary's Colgan, and how it helped to define the Italian Miners of the Coal Fields" (2009). Theory and Practice: Hist 430. 2.