Thursday, November 13, 2014

Today is the feast day of the first US citizen to be canonized – St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

    Born in Italy, she was first refused admission to the religious order, the same order that educated her to be a teacher. She eventually made her vows and took the religious habit.  Since her early childhood, Frances had wanted to be a missionary in China but, at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, Frances went west instead of east.  She traveled with six sisters to New York City to work with the thousands of Italian immigrants living there.
    She found disappointment and difficulties with every step.  When she arrived in New York, the house intended to be her first orphanage in the United States was not available.  The archbishop advised her to return to Italy.  But Frances, truly a valiant woman, departed from the archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that orphanage.  And she did.
    In 35 years, Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick.  Seeing great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she organized schools and adult education classes.  She became a US citizen in 1909 and died of malaria in her own Columbus Hospital in Chicago in 1917.
    She is a saintly example that hard work and determination can change the world around us all for the greater glory of God.

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