Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
Feast day: November 13
Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first United States citizen to be
canonized. Her deep trust in the loving care of her God gave her the
strength to be a valiant woman doing the work of Christ.
She refused admission to the religious order which had educated her to
be a teacher, and she began charitable work at the House of Providence
Orphanage in Cadogno, Italy. In September 1877, she made her vows there
and took the religious habit.
When the bishop closed the orphanage in 1880, he named Frances prioress
of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Seven young women from
the orphanage joined with her.
Since her early childhood in Italy, Frances had wanted to be a
missionary in China but, at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, Frances went
west instead of east. She traveled with six sisters to New York City to
work with the thousands of Italian immigrants living there.
She found disappointment and difficulties with every step. When she
arrived in New York City, the house intended to be her first orphanage
in the United States was not available. The archbishop advised her to
return to Italy. But Frances, truly a valiant woman, departed from the
archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that
orphanage. And she did.
In 35 years Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to
caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. Seeing
great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she
organized schools and adult education classes.
As a child, she was always frightened of water, unable to overcome her
fear of drowning. Yet, despite this fear, she traveled across the
Atlantic Ocean more than 30 times. She died of malaria in her own
Columbus Hospital in Chicago.