The Church celebrates the feast of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini on Nov. 13. She was the first United States citizen to ever become a canonized saint!
Here are seven amazing facts that you might not know about this incredible saint!
1. She immigrated to the United States to help immigrants
Because of the terrible treatment of Italian immigrants, Bishop Scalabrini of the Diocese of Piacenza in Italy encouraged her to go to the United States. She wanted to go to China.
However, while meeting with Pope Leo XIII in 1877, he advised her to go “not to the East, but to the West.”
She arrived in New York City on March 31, 1889.
2. She was the youngest of 13 children
Born Maria Francesca Cabrini, she was the youngest in a very large family. Born two months premature, Cabrini was one of four surviving children out of the 13. The remaining nine children died at young ages.
3. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Francesca graduated with honors from a school run by the religious congregation, the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. She received her teaching certificate and wished to join this religious order after finishing school, but they told her she was “too frail” for their lifestyle.
She then decided to dedicate her life to service as a layperson. She worked at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadogno, Italy, where she took a religious habit in 1877.
She chose the name Frances Xavier Cabrini after Saint Francis Xavier, the missionary saint.
The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus devote their lives to prayer, service, and ministry. They serve the poor, marginalized, and the suffering.
4. She founded approximately 70 institutions all over the world
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini founded many institutions in several different countries dedicated to serving human needs, including the poor, abandoned, and marginalized. These facilities included orphanages, hospitals, and schools.
5. She is the patroness of immigrants
This Italian-born saint is the patroness of immigrants. Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini immigrated to the United States at age 38 and became a citizen at age 59.
She is also the patron saint of hospital administrators.
6. She is part of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in New York
Saint Frances Cabrini was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996. The women honored on this list are those who make contributions of “national or global importance and of enduring value.”
7. Three shrines in the United States are dedicated to Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini.
Here are photos from the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colo.:
“I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him.” - Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini