“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.” ~St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
A lot has been in the news lately regarding immigrants. From reforming legislation, to building a wall, to stricter vetting procedures, to blocking people from specific countries, there are many opinions on the issue. Regardless of where you might stand politically, as Christians we are called to welcome the stranger. To treat everyone as Christ. This certainly includes immigrants and refugees. Most of us can trace our family history back and see that at some point, our ancestors were immigrants, too. To hear the stories of immigrants, whether from history books or our own family members, whether hundreds of years ago or here and now, we know that there are many struggles they face.
The next empowered Catholic woman I want you to meet in this ECW series made a huge difference in the lives of immigrants, so much so that she is the patron Saint of immigrants!
Born in Italy in 1850, she spent most of her life battling health issues. In fact, when she first wished to join the religious congregation of Daughters of the Sacred Heart at just 18 years old, she was turned down for poor health. Instead, she was urged to teach at a girls school where she was quite influential. In 1877 she officially took her views becoming Mother Cabrini. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart with six other women. The Missionary Sisters founded seven homes, a free school and nursery to help poor children in schools and hospitals…all in the first five years!
Pope Leo XIII asked her to continue her work in New York City to help the Italian immigrants in the area in 1889. Despite facing many setbacks and even being told she should just go back to Italy, she continued on with her calling. She taught the Italian immigrants, opened homes for orphans, and founded hospitals. In fact, she founded 67 institutions including orphanages, schools, and hospitals across the United States including New York, Colorado, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as South America and Europe.
She became a citizen of the United States in 1909. In 1917 she died at the age of 67. She was canonized in 1946 and her feast day is November 13. In 1996 she was named to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Wow!
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was not wealthy, not a celebrity, not a politician. She didn’t have much in terms of earthly possessions or worldly status, but she did have the Holy Spirit guiding her and through the Lord’s guidance she found a way to live out her calling and make a tremendous difference in the lives of countless people, particularly immigrants. She was certainly not held back by being a woman!
As politics become heated and discussions on immigration become more prevalent in America, let us ask for the intercession of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, patron saint of immigrants, to guide world leaders in making policies to help those in need, and to guide us in our own lives to follow the Lord’s call. May we see by the example of this empowered Catholic woman that there is nothing we cannot do when the Holy Spirit is working within us.
+St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, pray for us+