Mass in honor of the life and works of Mother Cabrini

Nov 12, 2023 939

BY: Frank Mazzaglia

Mass in honor of Mother Cabrini will be celebrated on Sunday Nov 12th, at 10:30am at St Leonard's in the North End, 320 Hannover St, Boston, MA.  At birth, her name was Francesca Saverio Cabrini. After her death, she is now known as Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of Immigrants. When she was canonized on July 7, 1946 by Pope Pius XII, some 122,000 people filled Soldier Field in Chicago for a Mass of thanksgiving.

This is her story. In September of 1878. Cabrini, together with six other women who had taken religious vows - went to Pope Leo XIII to seek his permission to establish a mission in China. Pope Leo III listened respectfully but suggested a different mission. He recommended that these good women consider coming to America instead.

The Pope said these new Sisters were needed “Not to the East, but to the West” where Italian immigrants were coming to the United States in great numbers. He told them how much it pained him that these Italians were living in great poverty and were in such great need.

However, first there was the need to compose a Rule and Constitution for her Religious Institute which was to become known as the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

So they finally arrived in New York City on March 31, 1889. Although, she did not initially find support from New York’s Archbishop Michael Corrigan, he did arrange housing at the convent of the Sisters of Charity where they were allowed to stay for as long as necessary.

Given Cabrini’s persistence, she managed to obtain permission from the archbishop to open an orphanage which remains open today as Saint Cabrini Home. Once the archbishop saw what she was capable of, he became a strong advocate for her work.

As it turned out, there was something special about Cabrini. She had a knack for finding people willing to donate money, time, labor, and all kinds of support. That popular assistance enabled her to organize schools, orphanages, educational programs and eventually, she even founded Columbus Hospital and Italian Hospital.

In Chicago, she opened Columbus Extension Hospital in the heart of the Italian neighborhood.

Then in 1909 she became naturalized as a United States citizen.

During her lifetime, she founded 67 institutions in New York, Chicago, and Des Plaines, Illinois. As her religious communities grew, the Sisters cared for immigrants in Seattle, New Orleans, Denver, Colorado, Los Angeles and even throughout South American and Europe.

She died on December 22, 1917 while preparing Christmas candy for local children in Columbus Hospital, Chicago at the age of 67.

After she died, the overwhelming number of pilgrims visited the room in which she died seeking spiritual comfort or personal healing. This moved Chicago’s then Cardinal Samuel Stritch to consecrate a National Shrine in her honor in 1955.

The hospital was torn down in 2002, but Cabrini’s room was preserved and remains open to pilgrims even today.   

SOURCE: Italian American Alliance

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