St Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini) was a Catholic nun and founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
She was born on July 15 1850, in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, Italy, and died on December 22 1917 at the age of 67 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
She was the first citizen of the United States to be canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. We celebrate her feast day on November 13 every year in the Catholic Church.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is the Patron Saint of
- Hospital administrators
|St Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin Biography|
|Date of Birth||July 15 1850|
|Place of Birth||Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, Italy|
|Profession||Nun and founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus|
|Place of Work||United States of America|
|Date of Death||December 22 1917 (aged 67)|
|Place of Death||Chicago, Illinois, US|
|Feast Day||November 13|
|Beatification||By Pope Pius XI on November 13, 1938|
|Canonization||By Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946|
|Patron Saint of||
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Life History
St Frances Xavier Cabrini’s name at birth was Maria Francesca Cabrini. She was the last born of a family of thirteen children but only four of them survived beyond teenage. Her father was a farmer called Agostino Cabrini and her mother was called Stella Oldini.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini was born prematurely, two months before, and her health remained weak throughout her life.
When she was young, she would visit her uncle who was a priest who lived near a swift canal. She would make little boats with paper, place flowers on them, and act like sailing them off to other countries.
One day she tumbled into the water but was rescued quickly and from that accident, she only suffered from shock.
When St Frances Xavier Cabrini was 13 years of age, she went to a school administered by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and five years later she graduated top of her class with a teaching certificate.
In 1870, after her parents’ death, she sought admission to the congregation of Daughters of the Sacred Heart in Arluno, (her former school) but the superiors there declined her application due to her poor health.
Later, she became the headmistress of an orphanage of the House of Providence in Codogno. Here, she organized and taught a small community of women about the religious way of life.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini took her religious vows in 1877 and added the name Xavier to her other names Maria Francesca Cabrini.
This was in honour of the patron saint of missionary service, St Francis Xavier because she so much wanted to be a missionary.
In November 1880, St Frances Xavier Cabrini, together with 7 of her fellow women who had taken religious vows together, founded a new congregation and called it ‘the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus’.
She wrote the Rule of the congregation and became its superior general. They started by taking care of orphans and thereafter, to manage their expenses, opened a day school, started needlework, and sold their embroidery to earn a little cash.
In the first five years, her congregation established 7 homes and a school where they taught free of charge.
The good works of St Frances Xavier Cabrini and her institute caught the attention of the clergy including her bishop and Pope Leo XIII.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini went to the pope in September 1887, to seek permission to be allowed to establish missions in China.
The Pope agreed on the mission but not the country. He encouraged her to opt to go to the United States to help the poor Italian immigrants who were going there in droves to seek greener pastures.
On March 31 1889, St Frances Xavier Cabrini and six other sisters, arrived in New York. They were met with various difficulties including a not-really-supportive archbishop, Michael Corrigan.
Nonetheless, the archbishop found for them a shelter and also gave them permission to found the Sacred Heart Orphan Asylum in West Park, New York. Today, it is known as Saint Cabrini Home.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini taught catechism to the Italian immigrants and organized for their education as well as taking care of the orphans. Despite many hardships, she continued to establish orphanages and schools.
Through donations in terms of money, time, support, and labour, she was able to found the Columbus Hospital in New York City.
After a merger in 1973, it became Cabrini Medical Center. However, the hospital was closed in 2008 due to bankruptcy.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini also opened another Columbus Hospital and Columbus Extension Hospital (Saint Cabrini Hospital) in Lincoln Park, Chicago. However, the two hospitals closed down due to the high cost of maintenance.
Cabrini was naturalized as a United States citizen in 1909 and by the time of her death, she had founded 67 missionary institutions to serve the sick and poor and train additional sisters to carry on the work.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini died on December 22 1917 of malaria at the age of 67 in Columbus Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini’s body was preserved at Saint Cabrini Home, in West Park, Ulster County, New York (the orphanage she founded).
Later, in 1933, her body was exhumed and divided into various places as part of the sainthood process.
- Most of the rest of her body is at her shrine in New York.
- Her head was removed and is now preserved inside the chapel of the congregation’s international motherhouse in Rome.
- Her heart is preserved in Codogno, Italy where she founded her congregation.
- Her arm bone is preserved at her national shrine in Chicago.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini Feast Day
We celebrate her feast day on November 13 every year in the Catholic Church, especially in the United States.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified by Pope Pius XI on November 13 1938. The miracle that was attributed to her beatification was the restoration, through her intercessions, of the sight of Peter Smith, who was born blind.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7 1946. The miracle that was attributed to her canonization was the healing of a member of her congregation who was terminally ill.
Shrines, Hospitals, Churches and Schools Named after St Frances Xavier Cabrini
- The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado, United States
- St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine in the Hudson Heights, Upper Manhattan, New York, United States
Churches and parishes
- St Francis Cabrini Church, Coram, New York, United States
- St Francesca Cabrini Italian Church in Bedford, England
- St Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Lorain, Ohio, United States
- St Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Parish in Spring Hill, Florida, United States
- St Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church in El Paso, Texas, United States
- St Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church in Benton City, Washington, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Parish, West Bend, Wisconsin, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Parish, Springfield, Illinois, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Parish, Rome, Italy
- St Frances Cabrini Parish, Lodi, Lombardy, Italy
- St Frances Cabrini Parish, Houston, Texas, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Parish in San Jose, California, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park, Michigan, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Church, Roosevelt Island, New York, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Church, Brooklyn, New York, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Church in Savannah, Georgia, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Church in Omaha, Nebraska, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States (destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005)
- St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Paris, Missouri, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Littleton, Colorado, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Conneaut, Ohio, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, United States
- Mother Cabrini Parish in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, United States
- St Frances Cabrini School in Savannah, Georgia, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Catholic School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
- St Frances Cabrini Academy elementary school in St Louis, Missouri, United States
- Saint Frances Cabrini Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, New York, United States
- Mother Cabrini School in Caparra Heights, Puerto Rico, United States
- Mother Cabrini High School, New York City, United States
- Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania, United States
- Cabrini High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
- Cabrini High School in Allen Park, Michigan, United States
- St Frances Xavier Cabrini Hospital, in Malvern and Brighton, Melbourne, Australia
- St Frances Cabrini Medical Center and Cancer Institute in Santo Tomas City, Batangas, Philippines
- Santa Cabrini Hospital, founded in 1958 in Montreal, Canada
- Christus St Frances Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana, United States
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