ON 7 JULY, the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, the Holiness of Our Lord the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII proceeded, in the Vatican Basilica, to the solemn Canonisation of Blessed Francesca Xavier Cabrini, Foundress of the Institute of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
The sacred rite began at 7.30am, the time when the large procession of Rome’s regular and secular clergy, with their banners and badges, passed through the Scala Regia and the Portico di Costantino, and made their way to the Basilica through the main door.
The procession was opened by the representatives of the Mendicant Orders: Discalced Augustinians, Capuchins, Mercedarians, Minims of St. Francis of Paola, Regular Franciscan Tertiaries, Conventual Franciscans, Friars Minor, Shodded Augustinians, Servants of Mary, Dominicans; followed by those of the Monastic Orders: Olivetans, Cistercians, Vallombrosians, Camaldolese, Cassinesians and lastly the Canons Regular of the Most Holy Saviour. Then, behind the Cross flanked by two acolytes and followed by the students of the Pontifical Roman Seminary, came the Venetian College of Parish Priests of Rome and the Chapters of the Collegiate Churches, the Minor Basilicas, the Patriarchal Basilicas: Santa Maria Maggiore, San Pietro in Vaticano and, lastly, the Lateran Archbasilica. The representatives of the Patriarchal Basilicas were all preceded by their own Musical Chapels which sang Ave Maris Stella and, at the entrance to the Basilica, the Antiphon Regina Coeli laetare: the Chapter of the Papal Archbasilica Lateranense was also accompanied by the ancient, historical and precious processional crosses made by Nicola da Guardiagrele.
After entering the church, all the participants in the procession, together with the people, joined in singing the Litany of the Saints, proposed by a special Schola Cantorum which had preceded the procession of the regular and secular Clergy and had stopped at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
After the clergy came the members of the Sacred Congregation of Rites: After the Clergy came the members of the Sacred Congregation of Rites: Consultors and officials, the Promoter General of the Faith Monsignor Natucci: the members of the Tribunal of the Vicariate with the Vicegerent His Excellency Most Reverend Monsignor Luigi Traglia, Titular Archbishop of Caesarea of Palestine; then, supported by the Confreres of the Archconfraternity of San Michele in Borgo, the banner of the new Saint, which was preceded by six clerics from the Lombardy Seminary with torches, and accompanied by the lll. Monsignors Giuseppe De Gennaro, Chaplain of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Via Sicilia; Aristeo Simoni, Vice Postulator in America; Gaetano Gentileschi, of the Catechetical Commission of Rome; and the Most Reverend Don Giovanni Della Cioppa, Advocate of the Cause.
The banner depicts on one side the Saint, in a nimbus of glory, protecting from heaven the various works assisted by her Religious, that is, the sick, young girls, orphans, children, natives in mission lands, etc.: in the background are tall buildings of an American metropolis. On the other side, the banner recalls the significant scene of Pope Leo XIII inviting Mother Cabrini to desist from her plan to go to China, but instead to dedicate her apostolate to the western continent.
In the meantime, the clergy, having arrived in front of the Confession, turned back towards the door of the Basilica and formed several rows to await the arrival of the Holy Father.
The Supreme Pontiff came out of his private flats and was accompanied by his Noble Ecclesiastical and Secular Chamber, escorted by his Noble Guard, preceded and followed by the Swiss Guard. Cardinals were gathered and there he donned the sacred vestments: the brim, the amice, the surplice, the stole, the white papal mantle embroidered in gold with the formal and the precious mitre, heading first to the Pauline Chapel for a brief adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed there, then to the Sistine Chapel where, after a brief prayer, he intoned the hymn Ave Maris Stella. At the end of the first verse he approached His Holiness His Eminence Rev. Cardinal Carlo Salotti, Suburbicarian Bishop of Palestrina, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites and Procurator of the Canonization, presenting him with three lighted, finely illuminated candles, of which the Holy Father chose the smallest, taking it with his left hand covered with silken cloth quilted with gold, and climbed into the Gestatorial Chair, he went towards the Vatican Basilica, entering through the central door flanked by the flabelli under the rich canopy embroidered in gold.
Preceding them were two officers of the Swiss Guard, a group of sedari with the Sub-Dean of the Hall, the Procurators of the College, the Confessor of the Pontifical Family with the Apostolic Preacher, the Procurators General of the ancient Religious Orders, the Bussolanti, the Pontifical Common Chaplains, the Secret Clerics, the Chaplains of Honour, the Consistorial Lawyers, the Ecclesiastical Maids of Honour and Secrets, the Voters of the Apostolic Signatura, the Auditors of the Sacred Roman Rota with the Master of the Sacred Palace, two Secret Chaplains wearing the tiara and the precious miter usual for the Supreme Pontiff, a Prelate, Monsignor Pasquazi, bearing the thurible, the Prelate Auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota Monsignor Brennan, Brennan, in sub-deacon’s robes, bearing the Papal Cross, in the midst of the seven Voting Acolytes of the Signatura with lighted candlesticks and candles, and, next to him, two Master Hosts, the Apostolic Subdeacon Minister Monsignor Alberto Canestri. Auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota, with at his sides the Greek Deacon and Subdeacon Rev. Salvatore Lipari and D. Nilo Somma of the Abbey of Grottaferrata; the Penitentiaries of the Basilica preceded by two clerics bearing long wands adorned with white flowers; the Abbots General, Abbots Nullius, Bishops and Archbishops, seventy-five in all; the Patriarch Ecc. Vicentini; the Most Eminent Cardinals: Caccia Dominioni, Ruffini, Aloisi Masella, Pizzarda, Todeschini, Fumasoni Biondi, Rossi, Lavitrano, Schuster, Verde, Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano, Micara, Sibilia, Salotti.
And here we have H.E. Prince Colonna, Assistant Prince to the Papal Throne; H.E. Monsignor Trocchi, Vice Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church; the two Apostolic Protonotaries, Monsignors Vitali and Ferretti and the two Auditors of the Rota for the flap, the Cardinal Assisting Deacons Emi. mi Canali and Mercati with in the middle the Cardinal Deacon Minister Em. Bruno; the Prefect of Apostolic Ceremonies H.E. Monsignor Respighi with the Vice Prefect Monsignor Dante; the Commander of the Palatine Guard of Honour Count Cantuti Castelvetri; the Commander of the Swiss Guard Baron de Pfyffer d’Altishofen; the Exempt of the Noble Guards; the General Superintendent of the Postal Service H.E. Prince Massimo.
Flanking the gestatorial chair were the Foriere dei SS. PP. AA. H.E. the Marquis Sacchetti; H.E. the Prince D. Fr ancesco C igi della Rovere, Commander of the Pontifical Noble Guard; the Cavallerizzo Maggiore Marchese Serlupi Crescenzi; the Exempt Major Adjutant of the Noble Guard Count Salimei; the General Officers and Exempt Officers of the same Noble Guard and the Pontifical Mazzieri. On the four sides advanced six Swiss Guards with morion, cuirass and broadswords.
They were immediately followed by the gestatorial chair, H.E. Monsignor Alberto Arborio Mella di Sant’Elia, Master of the Chamber of His Holiness; the Dean of the Sacred Roman Rota, Minister for the mitre, H.E. Monsignor Jullien; the Secret Chambermasters Participants Monsignors Callori di Vignale, Venini, Toraldo and Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano; the Papal Archaeologist Nob. Prof. Galeazzi-Lisi; the Assistant Chamberlain Cav. Uff. Stefanori; the supernumerary Apostolic Protonotaries and ad instar, the Superiors General of the Religious Orders.
As the Holy Father entered the Basilica, silver trumpets sounded from the top of the loggia and the immense multitude, gathered in the temple, burst into enthusiastic acclamations of filial affection.
The papal procession passed through the nave, turned to the right side of the Confession and stopped at the beginning of the apse. After a short prayer at the faldistorium, in front of the Papal Altar, His Holiness went to the great throne and immediately the Eminences Cardinals, the Patriarch, the Archbishops and Bishops, the Abbots and the Penitentiaries gave obedience, as is the rule.
The sacred Rite of Canonisation then began. His Eminence Cardinal Salotti, Pro-curator of the Canonisation, approached the throne for the peroration, made in his name by the Consistorial Advocate, Luigi Filippo Re.
The peroration was followed, according to ancient custom, by a silent prayer, at the invitation of the Eminence Cardinal Deacon, by the Supreme Pontiff and the whole assembly. Then His Holiness himself, served by the two Presuli Assistants to the Throne, Archbishop Angelo Bartolomasi and Archbishop Alfonso Camillo de Romanis, who held the Ritual and the candle, intoned the hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus, after which he sang the Orenius of the Holy Spirit.
Immediately afterwards, the Secretary of the Brevi ad Principes, Ill.mo e Rev. Monsignor Antonio Bacci, in the name of the Holy Father, responded to the peroration as follows:
Antistes sacrorum Maximum iam in eo est, ut, christifidelium votis ultro libenter que concedens, Franciscam Xaveriam Cabrini Virginem sanctitudinis infula decoret. Idque non una de causa. Primo probatum omnino est Beatam hanc Virginem virtutum fulgore – ut christianas heroias addecet – in exemplum enituisse quod Deus ipse signis, mirandis prorsus ac supra naturales vires editis, divino quasi digito suo demonstravit. Optandum praeterea est ut in hac tanta mentium obscuratione luculenlius omnibus patescat verae sanctitatis iubar in Catholica Ecclesia nec defuisse, nec deesse umquam; utque ad eamdem sanctimoniam quam diligentissime adipiscendam omnes privatim publice, pro peculiari cuiusque suae vitae ratione, enixe excitentur ac revocentur. Quamobrem, ut dixi, iam Augustus Pontifex immutabili suae vocis oraculo, quod caelitum omnium chori laetabundi excipient, rem decreturus est. Gaudeat frequens Beatae huius Virginis soboles, quae Legiferam suam, Matrem cernet tanta dignitate auctam; gaudeat Italorum gens, quae si gravi in praesens miseriaru cumulo quasi opprimitur, vetustae tamen gloriae, et Catholica Religione partae, novum adicit decus. Nec minus habet cur gaudeat “Americanum validum iuventa genus” (Leo XlII: Ep. Enc. Longinqua oceani: Acta Leonis, 1895, p. 3), quod quidem humili huic Virgini generosa sua largitate dedit, ut tot tamque magna caritatis humanitatisque patraret incepta. Atque universa potissimum laetetur Ecclesia, quae – quemadmodum hodie in nova luce ponitur – ex Divini Conditoris sui pollicitationibus ac muneribus reapse efficit ut numquam christianae virtutis sit sterile saeculum.
Qui adstatis igitur, attendite omnes, pronaque fronte ac mente oraculum, audi tote. Petrus per Pium locuturus est; eiusque sollemne decretum homines venerabundi accipiunt, angeli mirantur, Caelum per omne aevum ratum habet.
Then the Supreme Pontiff proceeded to the solemn proclamation.
At that memorable moment, the Cardinals and all the other members of the elected assembly rose to their feet, uncovered by their miter, and the Vicar of Jesus Christ, holding his miter in his hand, from his Chair, in the fullness of his Sacred Magisterium, pronounced the following formula of Canonization:
AD HONOREM Sanctae, et lndividuae Trinitatis, ad exaltationem Fidei Catholicae et Christianae Religionis augmentum, auctoritate Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, Beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli ac Nostra, matura deliberatione praehabita et divina ope saepius implorata, ac de venerabilium, Fratrum Nostrorum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalium, Patriarcharum, Archiepiscoporum et Episcoporum in Urbe existentium consilio; Beatam Franciscam Xaveriam Cabrini Sanctam esse decernimus, et definimus ac Sanctorum Catalogo adscribimus, statuentes ab Ecclesia Universali illius memoriam quolibet anno die eius natali, nempe vicesima secunda decembris, inter sanctas Virgines non martyres pia devotione recoli debere.
In nomine Pa+tris, et Fi+lii, et Spiritus+Sancti. Amen.
After the Eminence Cardinal Procurator’s thanks to His Holiness and the request that the Apostolic Prothonotaries draw up an official document of the canonisation, pronounced by the Advocate of the Sacred Consistory, the Holy Father intoned the Te Deum, which was continued by the Chapel and the people, and at the end of the sacred rite, after the Cardinal Deacon had invoked the intercession of the new Saint, he sang the Oremus of St Frances Xavier Cabrini.
At this point, the Holy Father delivered the following venerable homily.
Thanks to Birthplace of Saint Cabrini for this document