“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 beyond [her] strength.” Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946
Frances Cabrini was born in 1850 in Italy. Her feast day is in November. She is the patron saint of immigrants and became a naturalized citizen of the USA. In addition to her achievements she can inspire us to develop a determined attitude with respect to our difficulties.
As a child she wanted to be a missionary. As a young woman she wanted to become a religious sister but was repeatedly rejected because of her frail health. Instead of languishing in her fate as a sickly person she volunteered at an orphanage. Eventually, the bishop there allowed her to found a religious order. Three years later she was named prioress over the seven young women who joined her.
In thirty-five years the sickly Frances Xavier Cabrini founded sixty-seven institutions dedicated to the care of the poor, abandoned, uneducated, and sick. “Seeing great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she [also] organized schools and adult education classes.”
An interesting tidbit about Mother Cabrini is that she was terrified of water and the fear of drowning. Yet, she crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than thirty times. In the 1800’s, it took about six weeks to make a one-way trip! What a way to face a fear!
Mental conditions are struggles that can hinder us, some would say make us chronically sick, though more the case, it comes in waves. Facing ourselves, circumstances, and illness can be frightening and disheartening but St. Cabrini shows us that whatever our problems, they don’t need to prevent us from living life a holy life.
St. Mother Cabrini, pray for us!
Reference: Saint of the Day, Sixth Revision Edition. Edited by Leaonard Foley, OFM. Revised by Pat McClosky, OFM. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2009. Pages 350 – 352.
This is a revised post from 2012. Image is public domain due to being over 70 years old.