Last Sunday Pecetto experienced an event well worthy of being transcribed in the annals of the town’s history. In the Church of the Holy Trinity, the memory of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was celebrated with appropriate solemnity, for whom the street facing the artistic sacred building, a jewel of Piedmontese baroque, was named.
Attended by local authorities with representatives of the Associations and diocesan OFTAL and a community that occupied every available seat in the church, from the atrium to the apse, from the youngest to the oldest, the celebration of the Holy Mass took on the true meaning of an assembly of God’s people gathering to sing the glory of the Lord and His Saints.
A festive atmosphere experienced in participation and with a heart full of joy, also highlighted by the songs masterfully performed by the parish choir “San Remigio.”
At the homily, Fr. Luciano taking his cue from the readings to the Gospel page, he emphasized the theme of the welcome one owes to Christ in the figure of the brethren, and then sketched, starting from a flight of white doves that crowded the farmyard of his father’s house that distant July 15, 1850, also with appropriate and moving words, the life and virtues of St. Frances Cabrini, a missionary to the Americas and Europe in difficult times, capable of having founded from nothing schools, hospitals, orphanages and homes for emigrants and to whose figure a street in the historic center would be named. There were many references with current events that the Apostle of Migrants delivered to human history by her example and witness.
After the Eucharist was over, messages from Bishop Msgr. Guido Gallese and Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education were read and then it was the turn of Mayor Andrea Bortoloni who pointed out the choice of naming a street after a female saint figure and explained the various steps that have, led to today’s event.
After him, Dr. Paolo Orsini, town councilor, took the floor, who with an articulate speech, represented the choice he proposed to the Administration so that the town could boast in its toponymy, the name of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, also highlighting the aspect of her human history, in which the reality of today’s world is reflected and the many affinities that “Sister Perpetual Motion” as her sisters called her, could suggest to the current issues of migration among peoples.
Teacher Elsa Porta brought greetings from the entire Pecettese community, wishing each one to appreciate the choice made.
And here we are at the outdoor ceremony where the mayor and the saint’s cousin, Lelia Cabrini who married a Pecettese man, unveiled the dedication plaque then blessed to the singing of the Salve Regina and amid applause from the many present.
Now Pecetto also adds St. Frances Xavier Cabrini to its heavenly Protectors and turns to her to watch over these brothers and sisters of his and help them fully understand the meaning of the mission to which each is called.
Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini:
Who is the saint after whom Pecetto will name a street on Sunday, October 30.
The historical events of Frances Xavier Cabrini, are known to the registry of men but the spiritual adventure of this extraordinary “Woman” is clear in God’s mind and in the hearts of those who love her, having obtained from her a light that does not allow itself to be obscured by the shadows of the sunset.
St. Cabrini was a protagonist and witness of a particularly difficult moment in the daily life of those who were seeking a solution to their existential hardship, suffering hunger, misery, loneliness, indifference and were forced albeit with enormous sacrifice to embark towards the adventure of the “Americas.” A heartbreak for those who remained on the quayside of the ports of embarkation and all they had to do was wave a frayed handkerchief to greet those who, aboard the barges of the sea or in the dark hold of a modern transatlantic liner, under the soles of elegant characters who boasted of their selfish wealth, set sail toward an unknown that in the common imagination was identified with the dream of a reality that should have been more serene, happy, useful to get some money to send to the family. These people had but hope for a livable future and little cared if it would be spent without more God, an affection or personal motivation.
These people leaving the roots of their tradition, with no more cover of that humus founded on family, would need, even if far from home, an expendable love while waiting for a ray of light capable of warming feelings now numbed by years of hardship endured with anger in their hearts.
Those people, at the end of the century of “Resurgence” found in the “Americas” a consoling Angel of the many piercings of the soul. An angel without wings who moved transported by goodness, mercy, love. A woman who embodied the slender female figure, with the strength of “a man,” as Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was so often called, and who would use that strength, which was certainly not physical, to lift, relieve, heal, caress a humanity that was in dire need of Her.
How many difficulties He had to overcome, all intrinsic to the Gospel or rather that in the Gospel found solution. How many betrayals; but was not that Heart of Christ also betrayed, which saw itself abandoned by the one whom it had chosen as “First” among all the “Friends” and by the one who dipped into the same His plate and sold it for a few denarii? Then onward again, to the school of those wounds, from time to time healed, that would become the fabric with which to sew a network of relief, of projects, of guarantees.
How many disappointments; but didn’t that Jesus who trusted in men and saw himself denied by the many who declared that they were willing to say they loved him first? And still onward to the school and on the experience of that seeing her back turned, which instead of demoralizing her would form the perimeter of that fortress of the soul from which to throw not stones but drops of love.
So much sadness in human affairs; but had not Christ Himself relaunched that all sadness is completed in the joy that comes from the Father? Always forward then, but with a smile on His lips that would captivate with the Word of Life, so many young women to follow His example and become a relief army like a field “hospital” always ready, always open, always available with arms open to bandage the wounds of the body and especially those of the soul.
How many times must Mother Cabrini have flipped through Her Charity calendar to find a page with no commitments? I believe that if she did, she did it in vain, because on God’s calendar there are no feast days marked in red, no breaks, no moments of pause. On those pages, for each day the same word is always repeated: Charity, always written with a capital letter and always associated with those characteristics that the first among the Virtues, must have: goodness, caring, solidarity, sacrifice, rescue, joy, enthusiasm, desire for the infinite, always awake and with a basket of earthly bread to turn into a food that does not disappoint. How many shoes worn out in her life as a “Woman of God,” with feet always ready to move that body that watched over every moment without ever resting and that carried within itself the values of piety toward others, but not as a sign of pity, but rather as an indication of boundless love.
I like in this regard to quote a sentence of the Saint that made me reflect because of its simplicity and the greatness of the meaning it contains: “Trust in Jesus is our life; and therefore we must hope in Him and in the goodness of His Heart against all our hopes. It will seem that He sleeps many times over the evils we suffer, but no, He is awake, and watches over us.”
Today Pecetto dedicates a street to her, a street that, starting from a brick church, climbs toward the hill but in spirit leads upward, toward those spaces that the providence of St. Cabrini and the Hand of the Lord unite in one stupendous horizon: that of Eternity.
Luciano Orsini – Episcopal Delegate for Cultural Heritage.
Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi
I congratulate the Municipal Administration, Mayor Andrea Bortoloni and Councilor Dr. Paolo Orsini who proposed the initiative, who interpreting the good and hard-working sentiment of the people of Pecetto, intend to name a street in the municipality after St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, a missionary to America to assist Italian emigrants and for whom she worked for their dignified inclusion in the local community by fostering hospitals, welcome centers and also the numerous Catholic schools.
A testimony still valuable even in our days when the problem of migration is current, growing and problematic. The Christian spirit that animated the Saint, even amidst a thousand difficulties, was that of the evangelical Charity that makes all brothers and sisters, to build a just and supportive society in the light of the indispensable collaboration among peoples.
These are values that should also animate political and social action regardless of religious belief. I therefore gladly bless this initiative so that even publicly the memory of the Saint may encourage all the dear and esteemed population of Pecetto to imitate the example of St. Cabrini so that we can live as a peaceful and industrious community.
+ Joseph Card. Versaldi
The Bishop of Alexandria
While among the many concerns of the world, we feel the need to leave our footprint on the planet, we no longer notice the footprint left by the Saints who before us trod our same earth and found themselves in the same dust that now litters our shoes, but from which they were able to redeem themselves, inviting us to imitate them. We walk intent on looking down and have forgotten to lift our eyes to the sky. Nothing amazes us anymore because our minds are drawn to the whirlwind of time rushing by.
We no longer know how to mirror ourselves in the saints and see in them the reflection of God. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was a woman capable of transformation under the impulse imprinted in her by the hand of the Lord; she won over the dust of the world, over the infidelities of men, over the weaknesses dictated by human respect.
With Her and in Her, the Father renewed His promise to look at us face to face, to speak to us heart to heart, to make us understand that we are no longer afraid to open ourselves to others, to the distant, the unknown, the poor, the marginalized, but to lend Him our voice to cry out words of love that invite us to walk together.
St. Frances Xavier crossed impossible borders, insuperable deserts, frontiers closed to Charity and won, yes, she won because the Spirit of God was acting in her. The same one capable of carrying mountains and bridging abyssal valleys. She won with Her love, the Love that knows no boundaries.
That is why I am grateful to the Community of Pecetto that with the City Administration, decided to make living memory to the name of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini by dedicating an important street to her.
+ Guido Gallese