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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini - November 13

"What have we to fear if the Heart of Jesus protects us?
Let us keep our gaze fixed on the wound of the Heart of Jesus
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was born July 15, 1850 about twenty miles from Milan, Italy.  Her father had the habit of reading stories about missionaries to his thirteen children which led Frances to dream if becoming a missionary in China.  But God's plans are not always ours, Frances became a missionary but she was not set to China as she had prayed, instead Frances was sent to help the Italian immigrants in the slums of New York City.

After receiving her teachers certificate at age 18 from a school run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart Frances immediately applied for admission into the convent in hopes to be sent as a teacher to the Orient. She was turned down.  Instead she was offered a substitute teaching position a mile away from her village. She accepted the position thankful to practice her profession.

At age 24 she reapplied for the convent and was again turned down.  Instead she was asked to help organize a badly run orphanage in the nearby town of Cadogno.  She accepted and spent the next six years reorganizing the orphanage. After having impressed her superiors with her performance Frances finally put on the habit of a nun at the age of 30, taking her final vows three years later.

Praying to be sent to China, Frances was instead asked to found a missionary order of women to serve in the diocese of Cadogno.  Frances accepted this request opening an orphanage and day school and starting the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. This became a success and Frances, now Mother Cabrini, went on to open another mission in Milan, but she still dreamed of being a missionary in China.

In 1887 with the hope of broadening her area of activity beyond the diocese of her home town and to receive papal approval for her order, Mother Cabrini went to Rome.  Pope Leo XIII approved her order, but instead of sending her to China, Pope Leo XIII sent her to America to help the Italian immigrants assimilate.  Mother Cabrini accepted the assignment and taking seven nuns left for New York.
When they arrived on March 31, 1889, they learned that there was no place for them to live.  They could not afford a hotel, so they spent the night in prayer.  The next morning after Mass the sisters met with the archbishop and devised a plan.  Shortly thereafter, a wealthy Italian woman contributed money for the purchase of their first house.  This house quickly filled with orphans.

They next year the order opened a school across the Hudson in West Park.  In 1892 with an initial capital of two hundred and fifty dollars, representing five contributions of fifty dollars each, Mother Cabrini opened her first hospital, Columbus Hospital on Twelfth Street in New York.

Mother Cabrini never fulfilled her dream to become a missionary to China, but she had come to terms with this writing in 1895, "Our prayers are often so imperfect that they deserve to be rejected, but the loving Heart of Jesus corrects them and turns them to noble ends. He himself asks for what is for our greater good, mercifully covering our unworthiness with His merits." 

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini died at the age of 67 in 1917.During her lifetime, she established 67 orphanages, schools, and hospitals.  In 1946, she became the first American citizen to become a Saint.

  Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini pray for us. 
For items related to the Catholic Faith
Please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures 
Mural by Gonippo Raggi in the chapel of a New York orphanage 

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