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Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Feast Day
Nov 13, 2012
Immigrants, Hospital Administrators
<p>St. Frances was born Francesca Cabrini in Lombardy, Italy.&nbsp; She was one of eleven children from Agostino and Stella Cabrini, who were wealthy cherry tree farmers.&nbsp; Sadly only four of the eleven children survived beyond adolescence.&nbsp; She was small and weak as a child, born two months premature, and she remained delicate in her health throughout her life.&nbsp; She had a strong spirituality as a child, and that grew throughout her adolescent years. &nbsp;</p> <p>Frances took religious vows in 1877 and added Xavier to her name to honor the Jesuit saint, St. Francis Xavier.&nbsp; She soon became the Superior of the House of Providence orphanage in Codogno.&nbsp; She taught and drew a small community of women to live a religious way of life.&nbsp; In 1880, the orphanage was closed and then reopened by her.&nbsp; She and six other women who had taken religious vows with her founded the &ldquo;Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, M.S.C.&rdquo;.&nbsp; Mother Cabrini composed the rules and constitution, and she continued as its Superior until her death.&nbsp; The congregation established seven homes and a free school and nursery in its first five years.&nbsp; Her good works gained the attention of the Bishop of Piacenza, and of Pope Leo XIII.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mother Cabrini went to the Vatican to seek approval of the Pope to establish missions in China.&nbsp; He instructed her instead, to go to the United States to help the Italian immigrants who were flooding to that nation in her era, mostly in great poverty.&nbsp; &ldquo;Not to the east, but to the west&rdquo; was his advice.&nbsp; She arrived in New York City on March 31, 1889, along with her six Sisters.&nbsp; She obtained the permission of the Archbishop of New York, Archbishop Michael Corrigan to found an orphanage, which is located in West Park, NY.&nbsp; Today it is known as St. Cabrini Home, the first of 67 Institutions she founded: New York, Chicago, Des Plaines, Seattle, New Orleans, Denver, Golden, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.&nbsp; She also established homes in South America and Europe. &nbsp;</p> <p>She became a US citizen in 1909 in Seattle. &nbsp; In New York City, she founded the Columbus Hospital, and the Italian Hospital.&nbsp; In the 1980&rsquo;s they were merged into Cabrini Hospital.&nbsp; In Chicago, the Sisters opened Columbus Extension Hospital, later renamed Cabrini Hospital in the heart of the city&rsquo;s Italian neighborhood on the near west side. They both were closed up near the end of the twentieth century.&nbsp; Their foundress&rsquo; name lives on via Chicago&rsquo;s Cabrini Street.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mother Cabrini died of complications from dysentery, at the age of 67 in Columbus Hospital in Chicago, on December 22, 1917.&nbsp; She was preparing Christmas candy for the local Children.&nbsp; By that time, she had founded 67 missionary institutions to serve the sick and poor and train additional Nuns to carry on the work.&nbsp; She was originally buried at St. Cabrini Home in New York.&nbsp; In 1931 her body was exhumed, and was found to be partially incorrupt and is now enshrined under glass in that Altar at St. Frances Cabrini Shrine, in Manhattan.&nbsp; She was canonized in Rome in 1946.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mother Cabrini lived, worked, and died in Chicago so she is considered one of Chicago&rsquo;s &ldquo;Very Own&rdquo;.&nbsp; A national Shrine located in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, at the former Columbus Hospital.&nbsp; It was solemnly blessed and dedicated in an Inaugural Liturgy celebrated by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, on Sunday, September 30<sup>th</sup>, 2012.&nbsp; It opened on Monday, October 1, 2012 and the Very Reverend Fr. Theodore Poplis, Coordinator of Spiritual Services at Chicago&rsquo;s St. Joseph Hospital and a Priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, will assume duties as the first Rector of the National Shrine.&nbsp; This new worship space was dedicated with the special mission to foster devotion to the first American Citizen Saint.&nbsp; The National Shrine will play an integral role in the mission and ministry of the Religious congregation, which Mother Cabrini founded, &ldquo;The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus&rdquo;. &nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><strong>Practical Take Away&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p>St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first US citizen to be declared a Saint in the Roman Catholic Church.&nbsp; She was born in Italy, and had the desire to go to China as a Missionary, but the Pope asked her to come to the US instead, to help with the many Italian immigrants.&nbsp; She spent her time mostly in Chicago, and opened up 67 Missionary Institutions to care for the sick and the poor.&nbsp; She founded the &ldquo;Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus&rdquo;, and her National Shrine is in Lincoln Park, Illinois, just opening in October of 2012. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p>