Women’s History Month: Frances Cabrini, saint

Mother Cabrini (1850-1917) was an Italian-American religious sister who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that was a major support to the Italian immigrants to the United States.  She was the first naturalized citizen of the US to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church on July 7, 1946.

In September 1877, Cabrini went to seek approval of the pope to establish missions in China. Instead, he suggested to her that she go to the United States to help the Italian immigrants who were flooding to that nation in that era, mostly in great poverty. “Not to the East, but to the West” was his advice.  She worked hard for the orphans of New York, even founding an orphanage.  She opened two hospitals.  Her mission opened 67 institutions nationwide, mostly dedicated to orphans, immigrants and the impoverished.  She died at the age of 67 from complications due to dysentery.

St Frances Cabrini Shrine is located at 701 Fort Washington Ave in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  It overlooks the Hudson River.  Her body is enshrined under glass in the alter.  The photo that is the cover for this blog was taken by me.  Below there are a few more photos that I could find on Facebook from the visit there.  In 2009, my friends came up from West Virginia.  I loved taking them to the most random non-touristy things I could find.  The mummified remains of the only saint who happened to be a naturalized citizen fell into the most non-touristy of all the things.

Looking back at it, I am kind of in awe of the fact that I saw an actual saint.  There are few people who can say they have that honor.  And, that she is the Mother of Immigrants – well, I thought she would be perfect to round out this year’s Women’s History Month.

If you would like to learn more about Mother Cabrini, below are a few links:




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