St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
Born in Lombardo, Italy on July 15, 1850
Died in Chicago, Illinois on December 22, 1917
A model of faith and possessor of unending energy despite her frail frame, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was a servant of God who dedicated herself to helping those in need.
At age 18 Frances desired to become a nun, but because of her health, she was not immediately able to achieve her goal. However, she never gave up on her dream and nine years later, in 1877, she took her formal religious vows.
Mother Cabrini, as she became known, started her ministry as a teacher in an all girls’ school in Italy. Her influence grew immensely when, in 1880, she founded the Missionary Sisters of Sacred Heart, focusing on providing for children in schools and hospitals.
Saint Frances’ greatest challenge came when she was approached by Pope Leo XIII to join six other nuns in starting a ministry to immigrants in New York City in 1889. It was through this work that she has become known as the “Patron Saint of Immigrants”. While working for the Lord in America, Frances Cabrini became a citizen of the United States. Pope Leo XIII called her “A woman of marvelous intuition and of great sanctity”.
During her 35 years of service to Christ and His Church, the scope of her ministry took her all over the world. At various times, she directed 67 institutions staffed by 1,500 nuns, establishing hospitals, orphanages and schools in South America, Panama, Spain, France and England as well as America.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, whose feast day is November 13, was the first American citizen canonized by the Roman Catholic Church on July 7, 1946. Pope Pius II remarked at her canonization, “Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman.”
Prayer to Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
O Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, who found in the Divine Heart of Jesus the secret of sanctity and the strength to carry His message to many nations, look kindly upon me and hear my prayer.
Inspired by Christ’s charity, you went about helping many in their spiritual and temporal needs; from the glory of Heaven, where your charity is not lessened nor your power weakened, grant my petition and obtain for me the grace I so urgently desire. (Mention your request.)
From the Sacred Heart of Jesus obtain that His Kingdom may be established in this world, now divided by hatred and dissensions; secure peace among nations, conversion of the sinners, health to the sick, alleviation for the victims of war, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory, salvation for the human race redeemed by Christ Our Savior. Amen
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory, etc.
Samuel Cardinal Stritch – Archbishop of Chicago July 7, 1946