Monday, December 22, 2008

Why We Love St. Frances

December 22nd, Feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

A native of Lombardy, Italy, but the first American citizen to be canonized, Frances Xavier Cabrini is one of our family's all- time favorite saints. She is my Confirmation saint and the patron of our first daughter, Michelle Frances. The fact that this saint lived in Colorado and founded an orphanage here, is reason enough for us to love her, especially since we've visited her convent here and enjoyed the water of her miraculous spring. All the stories of her miracles, in fact, are wonderful and inspiring. But even more than the wonders God performed through her, I admire St. Frances' indomitable spirit, her unceasingly perfect faith in God, and her beautiful practicality.

Due to her special talent for obtaining properties for use as hospitals, orphanages, and schools throughout the Americas, she has been our special patron in the buying and securing of homes, and our financial advisors through economic difficulties. We highly recommend her patronage!

Here is a fabulous site detailing Mother Cabrini's Colorado mission work.

Following is a short biography forwarded to us today in a parish e-mail (I'm not sure of the original source).

SAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI
Foundress(1850-1917)

Dear to the hearts of American Catholics in many regions of the United States, Saint Frances Cabrini, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, patroness of immigrants, was the first citizen of the United States to be canonized. Born in Lombardy, Italy, the youngest of thirteen children, she was fired with missionary zeal as a little girl, through family reading of the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith. She gave up sweets because she would also be without them in China, where she aspired to go.
She earned a teacher’s certificate and applied to two Orders having missionary houses, but was rejected for reasons of health. Reluctantly, at the request of her bishop, she tried to save an orphanage and make of its staff a religious community, but after six hard years the work collapsed.

Frances, by then thirty years old, initiated her own missionary community with seven of her associates from the orphanage. Bishop Scalabrini suggested they work with Italian immigrants, especially in the United States, as the Congregation of Saint Charles which he had founded was doing; but Mother Cabrini’s heart was set on China. She asked counsel of Pope Leo XIII. “Go not to the East,” he told her, “but to the West.”

Founding schools, hospitals and charitable works of every kind, she would cross the ocean thirty times, bringing bands of young Italian Sisters to North and South America. Her amusing community letter, during her second trip to New York, gives a typical picture of these missionary voyages: “This morning all the Sisters woke up very ill. Some of them thought they were going to die... Those who trusted my words rose and tried to eat, and presently were looking quite well. The others who thought death was at hand stayed in their rooms awaiting it...”

Her letters are filled with the practical motherly instruction of a foundress who knew she was loved and imitated by her Sisters. “When you are corrected do not justify yourself. Remain silent and practice virtue, whether you are right or wrong, otherwise we may dream of perfection but will never attain it.” (Oct. 17-20, 1892) “Love is not loved, my daughters! Love is not loved!” (Aug. 21, 1890) “Renounce yourselves entirely if you wish to enjoy peace... She who is not holy will make no one holy.” (Oct. 17, 1892)

Explaining why she did not accompany some Sisters on a boat excursion she wrote, “I admit my weakness, I am afraid of the sea. And if there is no very holy motive in view, I have no courage to go where I fear danger, unless sent by obedience. For then, of course, one’s movements are blessed by God.”

Mother Cabrini died at sixty-seven, suddenly and alone in one of her Chicago hospitals, while preparing Christmas presents for 500 children.

From a sermon of Pope Pius XII at the canonization of St. Frances X. Cabrini:

Inspired by the grace of God, we join the saints in honoring the holy virgin FrancesXavier Cabrini. She was a humble woman who became outstanding not because she was famous or rich or powerful, but because she lived a virtuous life. From the tender years of her youth, she kept her innocence as white as a lily and preserved it carefully with the thorns of penitence; as the years progressed, she was moved by a certain instinct and supernatural zeal to dedicate her whole life to the service and greater glory of God.

She welcomed delinquent youths into safe homes, and taught them to live
upright and holy lives. She consoled those who were in prison, and recalled to
them the hope of eternal life. She encouraged prisoners to reform themselves,
and to live honest lives. She comforted the sick and the infirm in the
hospitals, and diligently cared for them. She extended a friendly and helping
hand especially to immigrants, and offered them necessary shelter and relief,
for having left their homeland behind, they were wandering about in a foreign
land with no place to turn for help. Because of their condition, she saw that
they were in danger of deserting the practice of Christian virtues and their
Catholic faith.

Undoubtedly she accomplished all this through the faith which was always so vibrant and alive in her heart; through the divine love which burned within her; and finally, through constant prayer by which she was so closely united with God from whom she humbly asked and obtained whatever her human weakness could not obtain. 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.

Prayer to St. Frances

Almighty and Eternal Father,Giver of all Gifts,show us Thy mercy,and grant, we beseech Thee,through the merits of Thy faithful Servant,Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini,that all who invoke her intercessionmay obtain what they desireaccording to the good pleasure of Thy Holy Will.(here name your request) St. Frances Xavier Cabrini,beloved spouse of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,intercede for usthat the favor we now ask may be granted.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Pray for us!

1 comment:

SuzyQ said...

I love Saint Frances too ever since I first read of her. Her story just brings a tear to my eye.
Thanks for sharing this.