samedi 22 décembre 2012

Sainte FRANÇOISE-XAVIER CABRINI, vierge religieuse missionnaire et fondatrice


Sainte Françoise-Xavier Cabrini

Fondatrice des Soeurs Missionnaires du Sacré-Coeur

(1850-1917)

Né à Santangelo, près de Lodi, en Lombardie, treizième enfant d'une famille de cultivateurs, la petite Marie-Françoise, de santé si frêle, ne semblait guère vouée à traverser trente fois l'océan et à établir des fondations qui essaimeraient jusqu'en Australie et en Chine.

Françoise Cabrini embrassa la profession d'institutrice. Plusieurs tentatives pour se faire religieuse échouèrent à cause de sa santé précaire. Elle désirait aussi ardemment devenir missionnaire. Le curé de Codogno qui connaissait sa force d'âme, la fit venir à l'âge de vingt-quatre ans dans la Maison de la Providence pour remettre de l'ordre dans ce couvent où quelques orphelines recevaient leur formation. Un jour, l'évêque de Lodi dit à Françoise: «Je sais que vous voulez être missionnaire. Je ne connais pas d'institution qui réponde à votre désir. Fondez-en une!» Soeur Cabrini réfléchit un instant et répondit fermement: «Je chercherai une maison.» Elle posa à Codogno les bases de l'Institut des Soeurs Missionnaires du Sacré-Coeur. La prière était l'âme de leur action; l'oraison remplissait quatre heures du jour, une cinquième s'ajoutait pour la fondatrice qui se levait une heure plus tôt que ses soeurs.

En sept ans, Mère Cabrini accomplit l'objectif désiré: l'établissement de sa congrégation à Rome et son approbation par le souverain pontife Léon XIII. De Rome, son institut s'étendit rapidement. La Sainte croyait que la Chine l'appelait, mais le pape lui demanda d'envoyer ses soeurs en Amérique pour aider les cinquante mille émigrés italiens qui attendaient un support matériel, spirituel et moral. Le Saint-Père lui dit: «Non pas l'est, mais l'ouest. Allez aux Etats-Unis où vous trouverez un large champ d'apostolat.» En effet, sans racines et sans foyer, les émigrés dépérissaient sur le plan religieux et social.

Sainte Françoise Cabrini arriva en Amérique le 31 mars 1889. Sa communauté prit bientôt un développement extraordinaire: hôpitaux, écoles, orphelinats surgirent à New-York, Brooklyn, Scranton, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Seattle et Californie. Elle fonda une école supérieure féminine à Buenos-Aires. Cette vaillante ouvrière de l'Évangile se dépensa aussi en Amérique centrale et en Amérique du Sud. Au retour de ses voyages en Europe, Mère Cabrini ramenait des milliers de soeurs pour ses hôpitaux, ses écoles et ses orphelinats.

«Travaillons, travaillons, disait-elle toujours à ses Filles, car nous avons une éternité pour nous reposer. Travaillons simplement et bien, et le Seigneur est Celui qui fera tout.» Elle établit soixante-sept maisons en huit pays. Humble devant la prospérité de son oeuvre, elle répondait aux témoignages d'admiration: «Est-ce nous qui faisons cela ou bien est-ce Notre-Seigneur?» Son inébranlable confiance dans le Coeur de Jésus fut largement récompensée.

Celle qui s'était souvent écrié: «Ou aimer ou mourir!» fit de sa mort un acte de pur amour de Dieu. Elle expira le 22 décembre 1917, à Chicago, dans l'état d'Illinois. Son corps fut transporté à New-York, dans la chapelle de l'école qui porte son nom. C'est là que ses restes sont encore vénérés. Le 7 juillet 1946, le pape Pie XII a canonisé cette dévouée servante du Christ dans Ses membres souffrants et abandonnés. Il l'a aussi constituée la patronne céleste de tous les imigrants.

Résumé O.D.M.



Françoise-Xavière Cabrini était la treizième enfant d'une famille aisée de la banlieue milanaise. Elle rêvait, comme beaucoup à l'époque, de la Chine. Elle voulait y être missionnaire. Mais en attendant, il lui fallait gagner sa vie. Elle se fit institutrice, mais elle n'oubliait pas l'Extrême-Orient. Elle se présenta dans plusieurs congrégations religieuses féminines qui toutes lui répondent : "Postulante de santé trop fragile." Alors, elle passe outre et fonde une congrégation : "Les Soeurs missionnaires du Sacré-Coeur". La Chine pense-t-elle se profile à l'horizon. Les voies de Dieu sont autres. Le Pape Léon XIII lui demande d'accompagner les émigrants italiens qui traversent l'Atlantique, misérables, déracinés, abandonnés, pauvres. Elle part avec eux. Pour eux, elle fonde des écoles et des hôpitaux. La Providence aplanit les difficultés. "La mère des émigrants" meurt d'épuisement à 67 ans. Sainte-Françoise-Xavier Cabrini est la patronne des émigrants, des orphelins et des administrateurs d’orphelinats.

Autre biographie:

Née à Santangelo, près de Lodi, en Lombardie, treizième enfant d'une famille de cultivateurs, la petite Marie-Françoise, de santé si frêle, ne semblait guère vouée à traverser trente fois l'océan et à établir des fondations qui essaimeraient jusqu'en Australie et en Chine.

Françoise Cabrini embrassa la profession d'institutrice. Plusieurs tentatives pour se faire religieuse échouèrent à cause de sa santé précaire. Elle désirait aussi ardemment devenir missionnaire. Le curé de Codogno qui connaissait sa force d'âme, la fit venir à l'âge de vingt-quatre ans dans la Maison de la Providence pour remettre de l'ordre dans ce couvent où quelques orphelines recevaient leur formation. Un jour, l'évêque de Lodi dit à Françoise : «Je sais que vous voulez être missionnaire. Je ne connais pas d'institution qui réponde à votre désir. Fondez-en une!» Soeur Cabrini réfléchit un instant et répondit fermement : «Je chercherai une maison.» Elle posa à Codogno les bases de l'Institut des Soeurs Missionnaires du Sacré-Coeur. La prière était l'âme de leur action; l'oraison remplissait quatre heures du jour, une cinquième s'ajoutait pour la fondatrice qui se levait une heure plus tôt que ses soeurs.

En sept ans, Mère Cabrini accomplit l'objectif désiré: l'établissement de sa congrégation à Rome et son approbation par le souverain pontife Léon XIII. De Rome, son institut s'étendit rapidement. La Sainte croyait que la Chine l'appelait, mais le pape lui demanda d'envoyer ses soeurs en Amérique pour aider les cinquante mille émigrés italiens qui attendaient un support matériel, spirituel et moral. Le Saint-Père lui dit : «Non pas l'est, mais l'ouest. Allez aux Etats-Unis où vous trouverez un large champ d'apostolat.» En effet, sans racines et sans foyer, les émigrés dépérissaient sur le plan religieux et social.

Sainte Françoise Cabrini arriva en Amérique le 31 mars 1889. Sa communauté prit bientôt un développement extraordinaire: hôpitaux, écoles, orphelinats surgirent à New-York, Brooklyn, Scranton, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Seattle et Californie. Elle fonda une école supérieure féminine à Buenos-Aires. Cette vaillante ouvrière de l'Évangile se dépensa aussi en Amérique centrale et en Amérique du Sud. Au retour de ses voyages en Europe, Mère Cabrini ramenait des milliers de soeurs pour ses hôpitaux, ses écoles et ses orphelinats.

« Travaillons, travaillons, disait-elle toujours à ses Filles, car nous avons une éternité pour nous reposer. Travaillons simplement et bien, et le Seigneur est Celui qui fera tout.» Elle établit soixante-sept maisons en huit pays. Humble devant la prospérité de son oeuvre, elle répondait aux témoignages d'admiration : «Est-ce nous qui faisons cela ou bien est-ce Notre-Seigneur ?» Son inébranlable confiance dans le Cœur de Jésus fut largement récompensée. Celle qui s'était souvent écrié : «Ou aimer ou mourir !» fit de sa mort un acte de pur amour de Dieu. Elle expira le 22 décembre 1917, à Chicago, dans l'état d'Illinois. Son corps fut transporté à New-York, dans la chapelle de l'école qui porte son nom. C'est là que ses restes sont encore vénérés. Le 7 juillet 1946, le pape Pie XII a canonisé cette dévouée servante du Christ dans Ses membres souffrants et abandonnés. Il l'a aussi constituée la patronne céleste de tous les immigrants.



Sainte Françoise-Xavière Cabrini

Missionnaire italienne aux USA ( 1917)

Françoise-Xavière Cabrini était la treizième enfant d'une famille aisée de la banlieue milanaise. Elle rêvait, comme beaucoup à l'époque, de la Chine. Elle voulait y être missionnaire. Mais en attendant, il lui fallait gagner sa vie. Elle se fit institutrice, mais elle n'oubliait pas l'Extrême-Orient. Elle se présenta dans plusieurs congrégations religieuses féminines qui toutes lui répondent: "Postulante de santé trop fragile." Alors, elle passe outre et fonde une congrégation: "Les Sœurs missionnaires du Sacré-Cœur" (site en plusieurs langues). La Chine, pense-t-elle, se profile à l'horizon. Les voies de Dieu sont autres. Le Pape Léon XIII lui demande d'accompagner les émigrants italiens qui traversent l'Atlantique, misérables, déracinés, abandonnés, pauvres. Elle part avec eux. Pour eux, elle fonde des écoles et des hôpitaux. La Providence aplanit les difficultés. "La mère des émigrants" meurt d'épuisement à 67 ans.

Elle a été béatifiée le 13 novembre 1938 par Pie XI et canonisée (première sainte des États Unis) le 7 juillet 1946 à Rome par Pie XII qui l'a déclarée sainte patronne des émigrés.

À Chicago dans l’Illinois, aux États-Unis d’Amérique, en 1917, sainte Françoise-Xavière Cabrini, vierge, qui fonda l’Institut des Sœurs missionnaires du Sacré-Cœur et dépensa toutes ses forces avec une immense charité au soin des migrants.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/297/Sainte-Francoise-Xaviere-Cabrini.html




Sainte Françoise-Xavier Cabrini

(1850-1917)

Vierge et fondatrice :

« Missionnaires du Sacré-Cœur »


Née et baptisée le 15 juillet 1850 à Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, en Lombardie, treizième enfant d'une famille de cultivateurs, la petite Marie-Françoise, de santé si frêle, ne semblait guère vouée à traverser trente fois l'océan et à établir des fondations qui essaimeraient jusqu'en Australie et en Chine.

Françoise Cabrini embrassa la profession d'institutrice. Plusieurs tentatives pour se faire religieuse échouèrent à cause de sa santé précaire ; elle désirait aussi ardemment devenir missionnaire. Le curé de Codogno, qui connaissait sa force d'âme, la fit venir à l'âge de vingt-quatre ans dans la Maison de la Providence pour remettre de l'ordre dans ce couvent où quelques orphelines recevaient leur formation.

Un jour, l'évêque de Lodi dit à Françoise : « Je sais que vous voulez être missionnaire. Je ne connais pas d'institution qui réponde à votre désir. Fondez-en une ! » Sœur Cabrini réfléchit un instant et répondit fermement : « Je chercherai une maison. » Elle posa à Codogno les bases de l'Institut des Sœurs Missionnaires du Sacré-Coeur. La prière était l'âme de leur action ; l'oraison remplissait quatre heures du jour, une cinquième s'ajoutait pour la fondatrice qui se levait une heure plus tôt que ses sœurs.

En sept ans, Mère Cabrini accomplit l'objectif désiré : l'établissement de sa congrégation à Rome et son approbation par le Pp Léon XIII (Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci, 1878-1903).

De Rome, son institut s'étendit rapidement. La Françoise-Xavier croyait que la Chine l'appelait, mais le pape lui demanda d'envoyer ses sœurs en Amérique pour aider les cinquante mille émigrés italiens qui attendaient un support matériel, spirituel et moral. Le Saint-Père lui dit : « Non pas l'est, mais l'ouest. Allez aux États-Unis où vous trouverez un large champ d'apostolat. » En effet, sans racines et sans foyer, les émigrés dépérissaient sur le plan religieux et social.         

Francesca Saverio Cabrini arriva en Amérique le 31 mars 1889. Sa communauté prit bientôt un développement extraordinaire : hôpitaux, écoles, orphelinats surgirent à New-York, Brooklyn, Scranton, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Seattle et Californie.

Elle fonda une école supérieure féminine à Buenos-Aires. Cette vaillante ouvrière de l'Évangile se dépensa aussi en Amérique centrale et en Amérique du Sud. Au retour de ses voyages en Europe, Mère Cabrini ramenait des milliers de sœurs pour ses hôpitaux, ses écoles et ses orphelinats.

« Travaillons, travaillons, disait-elle toujours à ses Filles, car nous avons une éternité pour nous reposer. Travaillons simplement et bien, et le Seigneur est Celui qui fera tout. » Elle établit soixante-sept maisons en huit pays. Humble devant la prospérité de son œuvre, elle répondait aux témoignages d'admiration : « Est-ce nous qui faisons cela ou bien est-ce Notre-Seigneur ? » Son inébranlable confiance dans le Cœur de Jésus fut largement récompensée.


Celle qui s'était souvent écrié : « Ou aimer ou mourir ! » fit de sa mort un acte de pur amour de Dieu. Elle expira le 22 décembre 1917, à Chicago, dans l'état d'Illinois. Son corps fut transporté à New-York, dans la chapelle de l'école qui porte son nom. C'est là que ses restes sont encore vénérés.

Francesca Saverio Cabrini a été béatifié, en 1938, par le Pp Pie XI (Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, 1922-1939) et canonisée le 7 juillet 1946 par le Vénérable Pie XII (Eugenio Pacelli, 1939-1958) qui l'a aussi constituée la Patronne céleste de tous les immigrants.


©Evangelizo.org

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2015

SOURCE : http://levangileauquotidien.org/main.php?language=FR&module=saintfeast&localdate=20141222&id=575&fd=0



St. FRANCES CABRINI

Influences in her early life

Frances Cabrini was born in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano in the province of Lombardy, northern Italy, two months prematurely, on July l5, 1850. Her father, Agostino, was a farmer and her mother, Stella, stayed at home with the children. Frances was the tenth of eleven brothers and sisters, only four of whom survived beyond adolescence. Small and weak as a child, these characteristics influenced her entire life.

Her Spirituality

Her parents’ strong faith was transmitted to her by word and example. Her father would read to the family from the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, telling stories of the great missionaries. The stories of the missions in China made a particularly strong impression on Frances and at an early age, she desired to travel there as a missionary.

At the time of her youth, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was at its peak and provided a spiritual foundation to the work of the missions.

When she was old enough she applied for, but was refused, admission to several religious orders because of her frail health.

In 1863, Frances registered as a boarding student at the Normal School in Arluno, some distance from Sant’ Angelo. Her purpose was to graduate as a school teacher. The school at Arluno was run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart who prepared and educated future teachers. Frances lived there for almost five years until 1868, the year she graduated. According to the custom of the time, boarding students lived in the convent with the religious sisters. For Frances, this was like a dream come true: for all practical purposes she was living as a religious among religious. Moreover, she shared the Christian life of a convent where the Sacred Heart was the center of devotion.

Upon completing her coursework, she petitioned to join the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. Although Mother Giovanna Francesca Grassi saw in Frances a chosen soul full of virtue, she decided not to accept her fearing that her poor health would not permit her to endure the rigors of religious life. Nonetheless, perhaps to soften the blow, or perhaps out of intuition, Mother Grassi encouraged her saying “You are called to establish another Institute that will bring new glory to the Heart of Jesus.” Her words were prophetic indeed.

In 1868, Frances received her teacher’s diploma and returned to Sant’Angelo where she taught in the private school established by her sister, Rosa, and dedicated herself to works of charity and to serving the poor. In 1871, at the request of her pastor, when a substitute teacher was needed immediately, she moved to the nearby village of Vidardo to teach in the public school.

A Crucial Move

In 1874, the diocesan authorities asked Frances to move to Codogno, a larger town further away from home to take over the direction of the House of Providence, a girls' orphanage, being unsuccessfully administered by Antonia Tondini and Maria Calza, in order to organize it with the structure and spirit of a religious institute. In complying with this request, Frances renounced forever the position of public school teacher and entered on a path of consecration to God. Five young women who were teaching at the House of Providence wanted to become religious sisters. She and the five women began their novitiate with Frances Cabrini as their novice mistress.

At the age of 27, in 1877, when she and her companions made their profession of religious vows, Frances added Xavier to her name, in tribute to the Jesuit, Francis Xavier, who evangelized the Orient. The bishop named her superior of the community. In 1880, due to many difficulties, the diocesan authorities recognized that the House of Providence could not be formed into a religious community.

Founding of the Institute

At this same time, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, as she was now known, received a mandate from the bishop to found a new religious institute with the help and support of the young women who had professed their vows with her. In a short time, she found an ancient Franciscan convent in Codogno. This is where the Institute of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was founded on November 14, 1880. It was established as a diocesan congregation in 1881, with a simple Rule written by Mother Cabrini, and approved by the bishop. There were some objections to the term missionaries, which implied a mission abroad. The bishop thought primarily of a service within the diocese, or at most, in the Province of Lombardy. However, Mother Cabrini, the 30 year old foundress, had no intention of restricting the congregation to the boundaries of Lombardy.

In Pursuit of the Goal

She set out for Rome in September, 1887. Her goals were to have a universal missionary Institute with a central house in Rome and pontifical approval of the young Institute. Since the ecclesiastical authorities moved at a slow pace and with caution, it was surprising that on March 12, 1888, the Institute was granted permission to open two missions in the Eternal City. While there, she met the bishop of Piacenza, Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, who had just founded the Missionary Institute of St. Charles to minister to Italians abroad.

The Italian Immigrants in U.S.A.

Italian immigrants faced many hardships in the United States. They worked at the most menial labor and experienced discrimination. Uprooted, without pastoral care, they were as strangers in their own church and the systematic targets of Protestant proselytism. Despite all, the great majority of Italians maintained an eagerness to return again to their Catholic faith and devotions. Seeking the help of religious women, Bishop Scalabrini asked Mother Cabrini to go to New York to work with the Italian immigrants. She hesitated because she planned to go to the Orient to evangelize.

Scalabrini was persistent and showed her a letter from Archbishop Corrigan of New York, formally inviting the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to establish a house there.

Westward!

Mother Cabrini sought an audience with Pope Leo XIII and posed her missionary dilemma to him; his response was: “Not to the East, but to the West.” Exchanging her dreams of going to China for the reality of going to New York, she embarked with six of her Missionary Sisters almost immediately for New York. Upon arrival, she learned that Archbishop Corrigan did not expect her so soon. When they first met, he suggested that she return to Italy. She refused, saying that the Pope had sent her. She and her companions spent the first night in a dingy tenement in the heart of the Italian ghetto. They could not sleep and stayed awake, tired, yet peacefully engaged in prayer. Afterwards, the Sisters of Charity gave them hospitality and guided their first steps through the city.

Beginnings in America

In a new world, another culture, without contacts, not knowing the language, Mother Cabrini set out to establish her mission. She went back to Archbishop Corrigan and gained his support and friendship. He approved the house in which the Countess di Cesnola wanted the new missionaries to live. On Palm Sunday of 1890, an orphanage for Italian children was inaugurated on the property, part of which the missionaries occupied as a convent.

A free school was established in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where the poorest Italians lived. The sisters taught catechism in the Italian parish of St. Joachim. All the while, Mother Cabrini with the sisters, constantly traversed the streets of the Italian district, visiting families, trying to help and guide them, and bringing God nearer to them. To support themselves and the orphanage, the sisters had to beg for alms because the help they received from other women’s religious congregations and donations from the wealthy were not enough to support the growing number of orphans. Young women soon offered their help and some asked to join the Institute.

In July, when everything was in order in New York, Mother Cabrini went back to Italy with the first North American postulants for the novitiate in Codogno. She returned to Rome for an audience with Pope Leo XIII, who was fast becoming her good friend.

Continuing the work

At the request of Archbishop Corrigan, Cabrini founded a larger orphanage in West Park, New York, on the banks of the Hudson River. It was an ideal, healthful site for the orphans and for the North American novitiate which opened in 1891. The land was formerly owned by the Jesuits, who sold it at a very low price, because it lacked sufficient water. However, to the surprise of the Jesuits, the ever resourceful Cabrini soon discovered an underground spring on the property to that provided ample water even to this day.

In 1892, at Mother Cabrini’s direction, her Missionary Sisters traveled to New Orleans and quickly established a school and an orphanage in “Little Palermo” an Italian enclave of the French Quarter.

Back in New York, the Italian immigrants needed hospitals. Care of the sick, until this time, was not one of the ministries of the Institute nor was it an inclination of Mother Cabrini to do this type of work.

Archbishop Corrigan begged Mother Cabrini to take on hospital work. However, it wasn’t until Cabrini had a dream where she saw the Blessed Virgin Mary tending to a hospital patient, that she considered working in the healthcare field. In the dream, Cabrini asked the Virgin Mary what she was doing; the Blessed Virgin Mary responded, “I am doing the work you refuse to do.” Mother Cabrini moved quickly to establish a hospital for the Italian sick poor in New York City.. New to this work, the sisters turned out to be excellent healthcare providers and administrators. Mother Cabrini later went on to establish other hospitals in Chicago and Seattle.

Beyond the American shores

The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus had been in America only two years. They were hardly well established and yet, Mother Cabrini sought to extend their missions to Latin America. Her objective was Nicaragua and in ensuing years, Argentina, where she opened a school, Colegio Santa Rosa, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

She returned to Europe, and in 1898, she established a students’ residence in Paris and spent time exploring London with the prospect of founding a mission there. In 1899, she initiated a school in Madrid.

Expanding Horizons in the United States

At the turn of the 20th century, Mother Cabrini traveled to Chicago where there was a large Italian colony and established a parish school. From Chicago, she traveled to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the Italian immigrants asked for schools. From Scranton, she proceeded to Newark, New Jersey, where she accepted the task of establishing and running a parish school there.

She looked for solutions which would afford her the means to subsidize free schools. In Dobbs Ferry, New York, on the Hudson River, she founded Sacred Heart Villa a school for daughters of now well-to-do Italian families who paid tuition, monies which in turn were utilized to fund the free schools.

Cabrini headed to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where a needy colony of Italian immigrants worked mostly in the mines under very harsh conditions. Her Sisters staffed a parish school and later, an orphanage.

In 1903, Mother Cabrini traveled seven days by train from Chicago to Seattle where she founded a school and an orphanage for Italian immigrants. She dreamed of establishing missions in Alaska and had she lived longer, this may have come to pass. Her dream of going to China persisted throughout her life. Her works on the western coast of the United States brought her closer to the Far East.

She extended her educational and childcare missions to California where there were settlements of Italian as well as Mexican immigrants. By September 1905, a school and an orphanage had been opened. Later, a preventorium for tubercular children, would be started in the Santa Monica Mountains north of the city.

While in Seattle in 1909, Frances Cabrini fulfilled a long-desired plan and became a citizen of the United States of America. The ensuing years were times of constant movement: New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, Colorado, California, Washington State, Central and South America and Europe.

It was in the spring of 1917 that Mother Cabrini undertook her last mission. Her health was compromised. In spite of this, she traveled to Chicago where the now two hospitals there needed her presence. On December 22 of that year, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini died in her private room at Columbus Hospital as she was preparing Christmas candy for the local children. She was 67 years of age.

Her Legacy

For twenty-eight years of her missionary life, Mother Cabrini traveled regularly across the Atlantic Ocean. A prolific writer, it was during her second voyage, that she began the custom of writing letters to her sisters in the form of a travel diary. These letters are preserved today as valuable biographical documentation.

In conformity with the Heart of Jesus, the Institute she founded has responded compassionately and efficiently to the needs of all, immigrants, as well as the native-born worldwide. Education, pastoral ministry, and religious instruction and outreach to those in need spiritually and materially flourishes on six continents. Responses to the “signs of the times,” to needs as they presented themselves continue.

When Mother Cabrini died December 22, 1917, at the age of 67, 67 missions of the Institute had been established, ministries of healing, teaching, caring, giving and reaching out, in cities of the United States, Italy, France, England, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, and Nicaragua.

Reference sources for further information about St. Cabrini :

Andes, Sr. Mary Lou, MSC and Dority, Sr. Victoria, MSC. 2005 St. Frances Cabrini - Cecchina's Dream, Pauline Books and Media

Di Donato, Pietro. 1960 Immigrant Saint. New York: McGraw-Hill

Galileo, Segundo. 1996 In Weakness, Strength, The Life and Missionary Activity of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. Philippines: Claretian Communications

Green, Rose Basile, ed. and trans. 1984 Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. Chicago: Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Maynard, Theodore 1945 Too Small a World. Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co.

Rose, Philip M. 1975 The Italians in America. New York: Arno Press (reprint).

Rosenberg, Charles E. 1987 The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System. New York: Basic Books

Tomasi, Silvano M. and Engel, Madeline H., eds. 1970 The Italian Experience in the United States. Staten Island, NY: Center for Migration Studies

Sullivan, Sr. Mary Louise, MSC, Ph.D. 1992 Mother Cabrini - Italian Immigrant of the Century, New York: Center for Migration Studies



St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born in Lombardi, Italy in 1850, one of thirteen children. At eighteen, she desired to become a Nun, but poor health stood in her way. She helped her parents until their death, and then worked on a farm with her brothers and sisters.
One day a priest asked her to teach in a girls’ school and she stayed for six years. At the request of her Bishop, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. Then at the urging of Pope Leo XIII she came to the United States with six nuns in 1889 to work among the Italian immigrants.
Filled with a deep trust in God and endowed with a wonderful administrative ability, this remarkable woman soon founded schools, hospitals, and orphanages in this strange land and saw them flourish in the aid of Italian immigrants and children. At the time of her death, at Chicago, Illinois on December 22, 1917, her institute numbered houses in England, France, Spain, the United States, and South America. In 1946, she became the first American citizen to be canonized when she was elevated to sainthood by Pope Pius XII. St. Frances is the patroness of immigrants.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-frances-xavier-cabrini/

Frances Xavier Cabrini V (AC)

Born at Sant'Angelo Lodigiano (diocese of Lodi), Lombardy, Italy, on July 15, 1850; died in Chicago, Illinois, on December 22, 1917; beatified in 1938; canonized on July 7, 1946; feast day was December 22.


The life of Saint Frances is another remarkable story that teaches us the value of persistence in hope. I've seen a photograph of her--she was absolutely gorgeous with her dark hair, broad mouth, and shining, deep eyes. She was said to be small of stature and big of spirit. Naturalized in 1909, she is the first U.S. citizen to be canonized, but Francesca Maria was the Italian born 13th child of Augustine Cabrini, a farmer, and his Milanese wife Stella Oldini. On the day she was born, a flock of white doves flew down to the farm where her father was threshing grain.

Several times in her later life flocks of white birds appeared. Francesca loved them and compared them to angels or souls she would help save, or to new sisters coming to join her community.

Her parents baptized her Maria Francesca Saverio after the missionary saint Francis Xavier. Wittingly or not, it seems that her destiny was mapped out early. Because her mother's health was delicate, Francesca was taught mainly by her elder sister Rosa, a school teacher, and was encouraged by her uncle, Father Oldini, to become a foreign missionary. He knew her secret childhood game of filling paper boats with violets and setting them loose in the river as she pretended that the violets were missionaries going to convert people in far-off lands. Her parents wanted her to be a teacher, however, and sent her to a convent boarding school at Arluno.

As a child she learned to pray well by the example of her family. Her mother rose early to pray for an hour before going to Mass, and at the end of the day she prayed for another hour. Francesca would frequently steal away from her schoolmates to pray by herself in some quiet spot.

In 1863, at the age of 13, Francesca entered the convent of the Sacred Heart at Arluna, where she made a vow of virginity. When she graduated with honors at age 18, she was fully qualified as a teacher. At 20 she was orphaned, and felt called to be a nun. Like several saints before her, however, no one seemed to want her because her health was so poor that no one thought she would live very long, and rather discounted her as far as being of much use to her order.

By the time Francesca was 21, she had suffered much: in addition to the loss of her parents, 10 of her siblings died. From 1868 to 1872, she worked hard nursing the sick poor in her hometown, including a woman who died of cancer. She also had to deal with her own illness (smallpox) in 1871. These hardships combined to teach her that everyone in this world has a cross to carry.

After her recovery (1872) she began to teach in the public school of Vidardo. In 1874 after being turned down by the Sacred Heart nuns who taught her and another congregation, Don Serrati, the priest in whose school she was teaching, invited Francesca to help manage a small orphanage at Codogno in the diocese of Lodi. The House of Providence had been mismanaged by its foundress the eccentric Antonia Tondini.

Msgr. Serrati and the bishop of Todi, recognizing her intense love of God and bold holiness, and her deep love for the poor, invited her to turn the institution into a religious community. Reluctantly, she agreed. From Antonia, Francesca received only trouble and abuse, but she persisted. With seven recruits, she took her first vows in 1877. The bishop made her superioress.

Antonia's behavior became worse--she was thought to have become unbalanced--but Francesca persevered for another three years. Then the bishop himself gave up hope and closed the institution. That was according to Francesca's desires--more than anything else, she wanted to be a missionary to China. Thus, in 1880, the bishop counselled her to found a congregation of missionary sisters, since that was what she wanted to be and he didn't know of any such order. Francesca moved to an abandoned Franciscan friary at Codogno, and drew up a rule for the community. Its main object was to be the Christian education of girls in Catholic schismatic or pagan countries under the title of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

Francesca and her sisters placed their complete trust in God. When there was no money to provide food, money miraculously appeared. When there was no milk for the orphans, a formerly empty container brimmed with milk. When a nun was again sent to an empty breadbox, the box was again full. God can never be outdone in his generosity. He promised that He would provide for our needs and He does for those who trust Him.

The same year the rule was approved, a daughter house was opened at Grumello. The sisters of the Sacred Heart soon spread to Milan. Francesca was a demanding mistress. She got up very early, an hour before the sisters who also got up early. Four hours daily were spent in prayer by each sister regardless of what else needed to be done.

In 1887, Francesca went to Rome to gain approbation of her congregation and permission to open a house in Rome. After an initially unsuccessful interview with the cardinal vicar--the congregation was deemed too young for approval--Francesca won him over. She asked to open two houses in Rome, a free school and a children's home, and the first decree of approval of the Missionary Sisters was issued in 1888.

Bishop Scalabrini of Piacenza, who had established the Society of Saint Charles to work among Italian immigrants in America, suggested that Francesca travel there to help these priests. Francesca longed to evangelize China, but realized that Italian immigrants in the U.S.--50,000 in New York alone--needed all the help that her order could give them. Archbishop Corrigan of New York sent her a formal invitation, so she decided to consult with the pope. In 1889, Pope Leo XIII gave his blessing to the enterprise. Despite her fear of water caused by a childhood accident, she set off across the Atlantic, landing in New York in 1889 (age 39) with six of her sisters.

Things did not get off to a good start, even with the archbishop's patronage and warm welcome. Apparently, the orphanage she was to have managed was abandoned because of a dispute with the benefactress. There was much to be done: A whole nation of orphans and elderly to be comforted--a daunting task with no money and no hope of any in sight. The archbishop suggested that she return home. Francesca replied that the pope had sent her to America and so she must stay. Within a few weeks Francesca had mended the rift, found a house for the sisters, and started the orphanage.

As with every difficulty she encountered throughout her life, with each new trial she would ask, "Who is doing this? We?--or Our Lord?" Even so, she encouraged her sisters to use efficiency and business acumen in the cause of charity, which won the respect of the most hard-headed and hard-hearted Americans.

Later that year she revisited Italy, as she would almost every year to bring back new missionaries. This trip she took with her the first two Italo-American recruits to the congregation. Nine months later she returned, bringing reinforcements to take over West Park, on the Hudson, from the Society of Jesus. The orphanage was transferred to this house, which became the motherhouse and novitiate of the order in the U.S.

In addition to the 24 times she crossed the Atlantic, Francesca travelled throughout the Americas for 28 years--from coast to coast in the U.S. by train and on muleback across the Andes. First she went to Managua, Nicaragua, where under sometimes dangerous circumstances she took over an orphanage and opened a boarding house. On her way back, she visited New Orleans, and there made another new foundation.

Francesca was slow in learning English, but she had great business acumen. She was sometimes overly strict and self-righteous-- rejecting illegitimate children from her fee-paying schools, for example--and she was slow to recognize that non-Catholics could truly mean well.

In 1892 one of Francesca's greatest undertakings--Columbus Hospital--was opened in New York. After another visit to Italy, she travelled to Costa Rica, Panama, Chile, and Brazil. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, she opened a school for girls.

In 1900 Francesca visited Pope Leo XIII again. He was then 90 years old. One day he said to her, "Let us work, Cabrini, let us work, and what a heaven will be ours!" Then after he had passed, he turned around and looked at her again. "Let us work, Cabrini!" he said, his kind old face all wreathed in smiles.

After her next trip to Italy, she travelled to France, opening her first European houses outside Italy. By 1907, when the order was finally approved, there were over 1,000 members in eight countries (including Britain, Spain, and Latin America), founded more than fifty houses, and numerous free schools, high schools, fifty hospitals (including four of the greats), and other institutions. At the time of her death, the congregation had grown to 67 houses with over 4,000 sisters.

This sickly woman's health finally began to fail in 1911, but she kept going even through the war. On December 21, 1917, fearing that the children in one of her schools might miss their usual treat of candy for Christmas, Francesca began to make up little parcels with her own hands. "Let's hurry," she said to her sisters, "the time is short, and I want to be sure that the children will have their treat." The time was indeed short for she died of malaria the very next day in the Chicago convent.

At first her relics were placed at West Park, Illinois. Her body now rests in the chapel of the Mother Cabrini High School in New York City, where you can see it in a state of marvellous preservation in its glass casket. The work begun for Italian immigrants was carried on for all without distinction (including convicts in Sing-Sing prison) (Attwater, Bentley, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Girzone, Melady, Schamoni, Stanbrook, White).

Because she was open to God, He used her to fulfill His purpose. We never know how God is going to use us; therefore, we have to wait expectantly, openly to see what He has planned. We can be sure that He won't disappoint us. God has a way of turning each attentive life into an adventure that brings joy and satisfaction and peace to His servant and those around him.


In 1946, Pope Pius XII named her patroness of all emigrants and immigrants.