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Did you know Colorado honors Mother Cabrini with a holiday?


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Sœur Cabrini.

J-P Mauro - published on 03/06/24

Mother Cabrini Day is the first paid state holiday (in any state) to honor the contributions of a woman, and a Catholic saint no less!

Those who do not live in the great state of Colorado may be unfamiliar with Mother Cabrini Day, but it has been celebrated since 2020. This is the first paid state holiday ever initiated in any US state to honor the contributions of a woman, and a Catholic saint no less. 

Nearly four years ago to the day, the Colorado State Legislature met on March 10, 2020, to vote on the Frances Xavier Cabrini House Bill 20-1031, which was meant to replace Columbus Day as a state holiday. After its passage, the bill was sent to the desk of Governor Jared Polis, who signed it into law on March 20. Mother Cabrini Day has been celebrated on the first Monday of October ever since.

The holiday’s dedicated webpage explains that supporters of Mother Cabrini Day “believe in its power to uplift and unite Colorado through kindness, compassion, and community centered activities.” The website further offers printable fliers so that awareness of the holiday can be spread through communities. It also lists five worthy reasons to celebrate the life of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini.

Honoring a humanitarian

Mother Cabrini is perhaps best remembered for her steadfast dedication to improving the lives of the impoverished and underserved of society. Her people-centered work stands as an example for the many organizations, both national and international, that bear her name. Even today, over 100 years after her passing, Mother Cabrini’s example still drives charity work in the fields of health, nutrition, education, protection, as well as mental and spiritual well being.

Acknowledging the impact of a woman

Mother Cabrini Day is a historic holiday in the US, as it is the first paid state holiday – in any of the 50 states – that celebrates the accomplishments and legacy of a woman. The Mother Cabrini Day website suggests that the day off is the perfect time to celebrate the important women in our lives as well. The authors of the website write: 

“We recommend you celebrate yourself and the women in your life; those who came before you and those present today whose lives have afforded you opportunities and choices unparalleled just a generation ago.”

Showing gratitude

The website notes that the majority of Americans can trace their roots back to immigration at one era or another, with some of us descending from immigrants whom St. Francis Xavier Cabrini herself aided. Today the communities she served are home to new cultures and diverse social and economic backgrounds, including new immigrants to the US. “Let Cabrini Day be an opportunity to give back to individuals and communities in need.”

Let differences unite

The United States was built on a multi-ethnic foundation and Mother Cabrini Day gives us a chance to celebrate those differences that form a whole. The holiday puts in focus that, despite these differences, we are all human and deserving of dignity and respect. The holiday is dedicated to finding common ground, and a calling to act with kindness and compassion, as Mother Cabrini did, in our community.

Small actions, big impact

Mother Cabrini’s body of work was not the completion of one large task, but rather a dizzying list of small actions that each worked to change the world around her. Just as ripples in the water can produce waves on distant shores, every act of kindness and charity has the propensity to change hearts and minds. The website writes: 

“Let us all take a cue from Frances Xavier Cabrini and be kinder, more compassionate, and seek ways to improve the communities we live in!”

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