An elderly woman came into the Shrine last Sunday having traveled here – alone – by mass transit from New Jersey. We see her fairly regularly. She is so frail it is hard to believe she can walk across the parking lot. But the woman took a bus, a train, climbed the steps from the 190th Street subway, and slowly crossed the street to get here. From her home to upper Manhattan took her two full hours.

One of the young novices gave the woman a cup of coffee. The woman waved me over. “I have something for you,” she told me in Spanish, “Una limosna.” An alms.

From the basket on her rollator she withdrew a crumpled paper coffee cup. She motioned to me to put out my hand. Into it she poured eight quarters, a dime, a nickel, and a penny. I stared at the coins, then looked in wonder at our fragile guest. We had been given one of the most tremendous gifts I can recall receiving here: a widow’s mite.

There are many, many blessings in working at the Shrine. Each week we hear jaw-dropping stories of Mother Cabrini’s intercession. We are given the joy and privilege of teaching children about the patron saint of immigrants. We get to offer pilgrims a peaceful space where they can pray for healing or green cards, for hope or consolation.

And this week we received the great honor of being entrusted with $2.16 given in deep faith, with great love. You can be sure we will use it well, to the glory of God, in the spirit in which it was given.

St. Frances Cabrini, pray for all pilgrims to the Shrine, and for all who work here.

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