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And today we celebrate...

Tuesday, November 13
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Patron Saint of Immigrants

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Founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1850-1917)

Her life

+ Frances was born in the Lombardy region of Italy. She tried to enter religious life on two separate occasions as a young woman, but we refused each time because of poor health.

+ After working as a school teacher, she was asked by her bishop to become a missionary. She welcomed his invitation and formed a new community of sisters. In 1887, Mother Cabrini and her Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were asked by Pope Leo XIII to travel to the United States to serve Italian immigrants.

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+ Mother Cabrini arrived in 1889 and, despite numerous setbacks and opposition from Church and civil leaders, she was able to begin the ministries of teaching and healthcare among the poor, immigrant communities.

+ In time, Mother Cabrini traveled throughout the United States, as well as Latin and South America, opening schools and hospitals. Rome granted the approval for the rule for her community in 1907 and Frances became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

+ Frances Xavier Cabrini died on December 22, 1907, after she collapsed while wrapping Christmas gifts for immigrant children. She was canonized in 1946, becoming the first United States citizen to be honored as a saint. In 1950, Mother Cabrini was proclaimed patron saint of immigrant peoples.

Spiritual bonus

Mother Cabrini’s early efforts to establish her missionary community were supported by Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini. A bishop, he was aware of the needs of Italian immigrants trying to make homes for themselves in other parts of the world. In 1887, he established a religious community for men, the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo (the Scalabrinians) to serve immigrant communities in much the same way as Mother Cabrini’s community of sisters.

For Reflection

To learn more about the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, visit: https://www.mothercabrini.org/

Prayer

God our Father,
who called Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy
to serve the immigrants of America,
by her example,
teach us to have concern for the stranger,
the sick, and all those in need,
and by her prayers help us to see Christ
in all the men and women we meet.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

Access our archives of daily saint biographies here
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