A Shining Saint: Five Points of Faith for Frances Cabrini
(1850-1917) Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first American citizen to become a saint. She is the Patroness of Immigrants.
Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart: Frances “Mother” Cabrini began a religious order for women in 1880. The mission of the Order is to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as a means to increase and spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some examples of this apostolate include caring for orphans, elderly, and ill. They also visit the infirmed and teach catechism. Mother Cabrini’s missions, which began in Italy, grew throughout Europe. At the invitation of the Pope, she went to America to help the immigrant Italian populations in New York. Her convents spread all over the United States from California, Colorado, New Jersey, Illinois, and more.
St. Francis Xavier: Growing up in her home, Mother Cabrini’s father read aloud to her family every night. Frances was drawn to stories about the Orient. She applied twice for admission to the Order of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart and was finally accepted. Upon taking her vows in 1877, she chose to add Xavier to her name in honor of the one of the co-founders of the Jesuit order, Francis Xavier. Francis Xavier spent most of his life as a missionary in Asia trying to eventually reach China just as Mother Cabrini wished. When Mother Cabrini asked to go to China as a missionary, she was encouraged instead to bring her work to the United States: “Not to the East but to the West”
Francis de Sales: Likewise, Mother Cabrini also drew inspiration from another St. Francis -- Francis de Sales. When she began to work on the rule for her newly created religious order, she chose both Francis de Sales and Francis Xavier as the Patrons for her institution. In the spirit of both saints, she implemented both a simple rule and simple dress for her nuns so that her sisters could easily do the tasks required of the in their apostolate. Her order became known for its humility and simplicity and attracted many new religious.
Pope Leo XIII: Pope Leo XIII personally invited Mother Cabrini to establish more convents in America in order to minister to the swelling immigrant populations of the late 19th century. Pope Leo was a visionary in this regard. Leo wrote 46 apostolic letters and encyclicals regarding marriage, family, and the state and society-- most notably Rerum Novarum. Mother’s Cabrini’s dedicated work with the poor, infirmed, and orphans in America reflected Pope Leo’s desire for justice on social issues.
St. Joseph: Joseph is the other Patron Saint of Immigrants. It is fitting that these two share the same patronage. St. Joseph humbly served as the foster-father of Jesus; Mother Cabrini was the loving and devoted foster mother to thousand of orphans, providing shelter and food to the poor both in Italy and in United States. As Joseph is loved in the Universal Church, so too was Mother Cabrini admired worldwide for her work establishing convents on several continents. Her canonization was attended by thousands of devout Catholics and dignitaries from around the world in honor of this courageous woman and first American citizen who became a Saint.
A Prayer For Peace of Mind, By Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will.