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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Feast Day: November 13
Patron of immigrants

St. Frances was born in Lombardi, Italy on July 15, 1850. She was the thirteenth child of a farmer's family and was educated to be a school teacher.

In her teens, she desired to become a Nun, but poor health stood in her way. The idea however, never deserted her so she sought admission from one religious order to another only to be rejected over and over.  Finally, Monsignor Serrati, saw her potential and assigned her to a small orphanage which had been poorly managed and the funds squandered.  Despite this, Frances attracted other recruits to the community.  She made her vows  and took the religious habit in September 1877.   Eventually, at the request of her Bishop, St Frances Xavier Cabrini  founded the "Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart" to care for poor children in schools and hospitals.    Along with her are 6 other sisters from the orphanage.

St Frances Cabrini's time marked the period of great migrations to America.  In Italy, Bishop Scalabrini, spoke to her about the religious and social conditions of the Italian immigrants in the States and pleaded her to go there.

Even with her frail condition, Frances Cabrini along with other six sisters traveled to New York City to work among the thousands of Italian immigrants.  Upon arriving, they were told that the house intended to be Cabrini’s first orphanage in the United States was not available. Cabrini was advised to return, but determined to establish the orphanage and believing that this was God’s will for her, she refused to leave.  St Frances Xavier Cabrini set up  orphanages and schools for the Scalabrini Fathers; organized schools and adult education classes for the immigrants as well as put up hospitals in New York and Chicago and a mission in New Orleans. She didn’t stop there but went all the way to Nicaragua, South America, England and Spain to set up schools and hospital.  At the time of her death, on December 22, 1917, at Chicago, Illinois.  Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini founded nearly seventy institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, abandoned, uneducated and the sick.  In these institutions, she was known to have an astute business sense and fine administrative abilities.

In 1946, she was elevated to sainthood by Pope Pius XII making Frances Xavier Cabrini the first American citizen to be canonized. One of the miracles attributed to her was the complete healing of the baby accidentally blinded at birth.


Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is a woman of prayer and action.  Surely, she met disappointment and difficulties in executing these tasks but her deep trust in God gave her the strength to continue doing Christ's work.  She always accepted challenging moments in her life with patience and love. And because of her persistence and desire to give herself wholly to God she became a pioneer worker for the Italian immigrants and established orphanages, schools, and hospitals, in over eight countries in Europe, North, Central and South America.

Mother Cabrini is a source of inspiration to women of today.  She is consistent and uncompromising in her faith and values.  By balancing prayer and action whether in taking care of the children, cooking, cleaning the house or working or running an institution…..etc.  Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini proclaimed Christ not only by words, but by example and service as well.  

Please feel free to share your reflections/inputs/insights in the comment box below.  Thank you and God Bless!

1 comment:

  1. "We must pray without tiring, for the salvation of mankind does not depend on material success; nor on sciences that cloud the intellect. Neither does it depend on arms and human industries, but on Jesus alone" St. Frances Cabrini