The story of our Foundress, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, is the story not only of every missionary, but of every Christian. It is not what she accomplished, or how far she traveled that made her a great missionary saint. It was how she allowed God to accomplish remarkable achievements in and through her. Her immense love of God empowered her to reach out to the poor, the needy and the immigrants. We invite you to read about her life, the congregation she founded and her legacy that continues today through the Missionary Sisters and their lay collaborators.
Following the exhaustive Vatican processes of beatification and canonization, Mother Cabrini was declared Blessed on November 13, 1938, and on July 7, 1946, she became the first United States citizen to be canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
In the book, “Immigrant Saint” The Life of Mother Cabrini” by Pietro Di Donato, he writes of the canonization day, “On July 7, 1946, St. Peter’s wore a holiday appearance. It’s venerable and imposing pillars were decked with magnificent ancient damask hangings. Countless electric lights and candles were grouped around the pontifical altar…paintings depicting Mother Cabrini hung from the balconies. The activities in the Vatican began just after seven in the morning, when the Cardinals, patriarchs, Archbishops and other dignitaries who were to participate in the canonization began to arrive at the Sistine Chapel. Pope Pius XII entered the Sistine Chapel and intoned the Ave Maris Stella.
“The Pope made the following solemn declaration in Latin: “…we inscribe in the Catalogue of the Saints, the blessed Francesca Xavier Cabrini, ordaining that her memory be celebrated in the universal church on the Day of December 22, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.’”
In his homily the Pope said of Mother Cabrini, “Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed to be beyond the strength of a woman.” ~ excerpt from “Immigrant Saint” The Life of Mother Cabrini by Pietro Di Donato
“Religious leader, business administrator and spokesperson for the downtrodden, Mother Cabrini was always a woman of compassion. Despite hardship, poor health and disappointment, Mother Cabrini’s peace of soul enabled her to radiate a joy born of unfaltering trust in divine providence. This total and unabashed trust in God was her outstanding personality characteristic and was the source of an inner strength, which propelled her to remarkable accomplishments in a relatively short amount of time. Some saw in Cabrini the embodiment of immigrant aspirations: to get ahead, to excel, to prove one’s self. Others, instead, attributed her achievements to the zeal of a saint.”
~ Sr. Mary Louise Sullivan, MSC, Ph.D., Mother Cabrini, “Italian Immigrant of the Century”