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acabriniNote: This post was created for November 13, 2018.

Today is the feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, a woman born in Italy who became the first United States citizen to be canonized in the Catholic Church. Her life sounds to me today like that of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” whose motto was “I ain’t down yet!” Here are a few of the reasons that I found at www.franciscanmedia.org why such a designation seems to fit her for sainthood.

1. When she was refused entrance to the religious community that had educated her to be a teacher, she began charitable work at an orphanage in Cadogno, Italy and subsequently made religious vows there.

2. When the bishop closed the orphanage, she became prioress of The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, joined by seven young women who became her community.

3. When her childhood dream of being a missionary to China was put aside at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, she obediently went to the United States to care for the Italian immigrants in New York City, having been promised an orphanage in which to serve.

4. Upon her arrival, she found the house was not available and the archbishop advising her to return to Italy. Undeterred, she spent the next 35 years founding 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick as well as establishing schools and adult education classes for Italian immigrants.

5. Since childhood, she was frightened of water and feared drowning, yet she traveled by ship from New York to Italy over 30 times in her life to do God’s work.

Thanks be to God for the vision, the stamina and the perseverance of this woman we honor today as Mother Cabrini.