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Chicago, Illinois: The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini)

About Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini:

The story of America’s first citizen saint is one of tremendous perseverance.

Refused admission to the religious order which had educated her to be a teacher, 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.  She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and order which has grown world wide.  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 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, 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, true to her mission, 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.

An interesting fact is that, 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.    Much of her time was spent in Chicago where she built three hospitals; among them was Columbus hospital, where she lived and passed away.

She is not buried here, except for her arm which is kept in a reliquary. Her head is preserved in Rome and the rest of her body at Saint Frances Cabrini Shrine in New York City.

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Frances Cabrini on two different days. Her Feast Day is December 22.

About the National Shrine of St Frances Xavier Cabrini:

The room of Mother Cabrini at her shrine in ChicagoHer room was preserved as a shrine, but in 1998 the hospital was sold to a developer, and there was concern that the shrine itself would be lost.

After a decade of being closed, the Sisters and the developer reached an agreement that allowed the high-rise to be built but still preserved the shrine. It was re-opened in 2012 as a free -standing building.


Traveling to the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini:

Address: 2520 N. Lakeview Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614

GPS coordinates: 41° 55′ 44.1948” N, 87° 38′ 24.6840” W

Tel: +1 (773) 360-5115

e-mail: director@mssh.onmicrosoft.com

Click here for the official website of the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in Chicago

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Photo courtesy Mother Cabrini Shrine, Chicago

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