St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, commonly known as "Mother Cabrini", was the first American citizen to be canonized a saint.
Born Francesca Maria Cabrini in Lombardy, Italy in 1850, she dreamed as a child of becoming a missionary to China. Unable to become a nun due to her poor health, She taught for six years in an orphanage and, at the age of thirty, founded her own order: the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Cabrini took the middle name Saverio in honor of St. Francis Xavier.
In 1888, she requested that Pope Leo XIII send her to China. Instead, he sent her to America to care for the large numbers of Italian immigrants. She became a U.S. citizen, and opened schools, convents and hospitals in a number of cities.
"Mother Cabrini" arrived in Chicago in 1899. In 1903 she established Columbus Hospital - a name chosen to avoid anti-clerical sentiments.
Mother Cabrini founded over 70 hospitals, schools and orphanages in the United States, Spain, France, England, and South America. On December 22nd, 1917, suffering from malaria, she died in a wicker chair in her room at Columbus Hospital.
Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1946. Above the chair in which she died was placed a plaque with the words: "From this chair the soul of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini took flight to Heaven".
St. Cabrini was buried in New York. Her monument in Holy Sepulchre is the central monument of a shrine section.
- Heise, Kenan and Baumann, Ed. Chicago Originals Chicago: Bonus Books 1995
- Catholic Online Saints: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini