St. Frances Cabrini is the first American citizen to be canonized (she was a naturalized citizen and immigrant, in fact!). She had a missionary heart and some fierce leadership abilities that helped the poor, sick, disadvantaged and the young.
Frances was born Maria Francesca in Italy at the end of the 19th century. Many of her siblings died and she suffered from pretty poor health for most of her life. Because of this, she was denied entry into a religious order. She taught at an orphanage girl school for a time before entering religious life, and taking the name St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.
The bishop asked her and her religious sisters to found an order to care for poor children in schools and hospitals, and they called them the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Mother Cabrini (as they then called her) desired to go on mission to China, but the Pope at the time encouraged her to go to the United States to assist with the Italian immigrants there. He said she was needed there and to go “not to the East, but to the West“.
She came to New York with some of her sisters in 1889. However, it was tough going when they first arrived. Once things settled, she founded her first institution, an orphanage known as Saint Cabrini Home in New York, and established 67 institutions (schools, hospitals, and orphanages) throughout the United States during her lifetime. She died in 1917 and her remains are scattered in the United States and in Rome.
Why a bow?
St. Frances Cabrini was an Italian woman and a Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart who immigrated to the United States in 1889 in order to help the mass amount of Italian immigrants. She cared for orphans in New York City at a home she founded and became the first American citizen to be canonized a saint. Her traditional habit as a sister included a bow tied under her neck.
Who would be friends with St. Frances Cabrini?
- Immigrants (she was one and cared for them!)
- Those suffering from poor health
- Those who have lost a sibling
- New Yorkers
Let Mother Cabrini remind and inspire you by wearing her medal found here!