In the early 1950s, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, a congregation of Catholic sisters, received repeated requests from Kentucky residents to open a hospital. In 1953 a group of concerned citizens approached the Most Reverend William T. Malloy, Bishop of Covington, and asked for his help in creating a new hospital called Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH). Construction started in 1952 on a 31-acre tract, four miles from downtown Ashland. At the time, the tract only was accessible by a small dirt road. The official dedication of the hospital took place July 14, 1953 and included a reading of a cablegram from Pope Pius XII. It read, "Our Holy Father deeply grateful, learned forthcoming inauguration, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland, Kentucky, sends cordial felicitations. Invokes God's special blessings, praiseworthy project. Imparts Your Excellency, priests, religious, faithful, and hospital staff, fraternal Apostolic Benediction."