St Francis Xavier Cabrini, Virgin – 13 Nov
One of thirteen children raised on a farm. She received a convent education, and training as a teacher. She tried to join the order at age 18, but poor health prevented her taking the veil. A priest asked her to teach at a girl‘s school, the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadagono, Italy, which she did for six years. She took religious vows in 1877, and acquitted herself so well at her work that when the orphanage closed in 1880, her bishop asked her to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. Pope Leo XIII then sent her to the United States to carry on this mission.
She and six Sisters arrived in New York in 1889. They worked among immigrants, especially Italians. Mother Cabrini founded 67 institutions, including schools, hospitals, and orphanages in the United States, Europe and South America. Like many of the people she worked with, Mother became a United States citizen during her life, and after her death she was the first US citizen to be canonized.
She was born on 15 July 1850 at Sant’ Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, Italy and died on 22 December 1917 at Chicago, Illinois, USA of Malaria. She is interred at 701 Fort Washington Avenue, New York, New York, USA.
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. – Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
Inspired by the grace of god, we join the saints in honoring the holy virgin Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was a humble woman who became outstanding not because she was famous or rich or powerful, but because she lived a virtuous life. From the tender years of her youth, she kept her innocence as white as a lily and preserved it carefully with the thorns of penitence; as the years progressed, she was moved by a certain instinct and supernatural zeal to dedicate her whole life to the service and greater glory of God. She welcomed delinquent youths into safe homes, and taught them to live upright and holy lives. She consoled those who were in prison, and recalled to them the hope of eternal life. She encouraged prisoners to reform themselves, and to live honest lives. She comforted the sick and the infirm in the hospitals, and diligently cared for them. She extended a friendly and helping hand especially to immigrants, and offered them necessary shelter and relief, for having left their homeland behind, they were wandering about in a foreign land with no place to turn for help. Because of their condition, she saw that they were in danger of deserting the practice of Christian virtues and their Catholic faith. Undoubtedly she accomplished all this through the faith which was always so vibrant and alive in her heart; through the divine love which burned within her; and finally, through constant prayer by which she was so closely united with God from whom she humbly asked and obtained whatever her human weakness could not obtain. Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond her strength. – from a homily at the Canonization of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini by Pope Pius XII