St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born as Maria Francesca Cabrini on July 15, 1850 in Sant’ Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, Italy. She was born two months premature and the youngest of thirteen children. Unfortunately, only three of her siblings survived past adolescence and Frances would live most of her life in a fragile and delicate state of health.

Frances became dedicated to living a life for religious work from a young age and received a convent education at a school ran by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. She graduated with high honors and a teaching certificate.

When Frances was 18, she applied for admission to the religious congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, but was turned down because of her poor health. Instead, a priest asked her to teach at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadagono, Italy. She taught at the girls’ school for six years and drew a community of women in to live the religious way of life.

In 1877, she became Mother Cabrini after she finally made her vows and took the religious habit, also adding Xavier to her name in honor of St. Francis Xavier.

When the House of Providence Orphanage closed, her bishop asked her, along with six other women from her orphanage in Cadagono, to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for the poor children in both schools and hospitals. Frances composed the Rule and Constitution for the religious institute.

In its first five years, the institute established seven homes and a free school and nursery. Frances wanted to continue her mission in China, but Pope Leo XIII urged her to go to the United States, a nation that was becoming flooded with Italian immigrants who needed her help. “Not to the East, but the West,” was his advice to her.

On March 31, 1889, Frances arrived in New York City along with six other sisters ready to begin her new journey. However, right from the beginning she encountered many disappointments and hardships. The house originally attended for her new orphanage was no longer available, but Frances did not gve up, even though the archbishop insisted she return to Italy.

After she refused, Archbishop Michael Corrigan found them housing with the convent of the Sisters of Charity. Frances then received permission to found an orphanage in what is now West Park, New York and now known as Saint Cabrini Home.

Filled with a deep trust in God and endowed with a wonderful administrative ability, Frances founded 67 institutions, including orphanages, schools, and hospitals, within 35 years dedicated to caring for the poor, uneducated, sick, abandoned, and especially for the Italian immigrants. Her institutions were spread out in places all over the United States, including New York, Colorado, and Illinois.

Frances was known for being as resourceful as she was prayerful. She was always able to find people to donate their money, time, and support for her institutions.

In 1909, Frances became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Eight years later, on December 22, 1917, Frances passed at the age of 67, due to complications from dysentery at the Columbus Hospital, one of her own hospitals, in Chicago, Illinois.

Frances’ body was originally placed at the Saint Cabrini Home, but was exhumed in 1931 as part of her canonization process. Her head is preserved in Rome at the chapel of the congregation’s international motherhouse. One of her arms is at the national shrine in Chicago, and the rest of her body rests at a shrine in New York.

Frances has two miracles attributed to her. She restored sight to a child who was believed to have been blinded by excess silver nitrate, and she healed a terminally ill member of her congregation.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified on November 13, 1938, by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946, making her the first United States citizen to be canonized. Her feast day is celebrated on November 13 and she is the patron saint of immigrants.

 

St. Josaphat

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St. Josaphat Kuncevyc

Martyr, born in the little town of Volodymyr in Lithuania (Volyn) in 1580 or — according to some writers — 1584; died at Vitebsk, Russia, 12 November, 1623.

The saint’s birth occurred in a gloomy period for the Ruthenian Church. Even as early as the beginning of the sixteenth century the Florentine Union had become a dead-letter; in the case of the Ruthenian Church, complete demoralization followed in the wake of its severance from Rome, and the whole body of its clergy became notorious alike for their gross ignorance and the viciousness of their lives. After the Union of Berest’ in 1596 the Ruthenian Church was divided into two contending parties — the Uniates and those who persevered in schism — each with its own hierarchy. Among the leaders of the schismatic party, who laboured to enkindle popular hatred against the Uniates, Meletius Smotryckyj was conspicuous, and the most celebrated of his victims was Josaphat. Continue reading

Queen Of All Saints

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Queen Of All Saints

by Fr. Cornelius Joseph O’ Connell, 1914

“Be ye therefore, perfect, as also your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. V–48). God Himself, according to the words of the Evangelist, is the great model of sanctity. That we may be saints, He encourages us to imitate Him, to follow His Divine Son, Jesus Christ. “Be ye holy, because I, the Lord, your God am holy” (Levit. XIX–2). Created to the image of God and restored to His friendship through the redemption effected by the Savior, we should have God constantly before us, and aim to cultivate, as far as is in our power, His holiness.

To be a saint is to live in conformity to the will of God, for His will being one with His divine spirit, is necessarily conformable to the eternal law that governs all things and establishes the measure and rule of all sanctity. In God this conformity is infinite, hence His holiness is infinite.

Sanctity is the love of God and a close union with Him, who Himself is the plenitude of sanctity. In serving God with all the powers of mind, heart and soul we approach daily closer to Him, and become more like unto Him.

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St. Stanislaus Kostka

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St. Stanislaus Kostka, Confessor

St. Stanislaus Kostka, who, when still very young, was raised by the Almighty to great holiness, was a native of Poland, and the son of illustrious parents. Before he was born, his mother saw the holy name of Jesus upon her breast, which she regarded as a sign of the future sanctity of her unborn child. Stanislaus lived in the house of his parents until his fourteenth year, and was so innocent and pious, that all who knew him called him “Angel.” This name he deserved particularly on account of his angelic purity. All that was in the least against this virtue caused him such disgust and horror, that he sank fainting to the floor, if any one, at his father’s table, uttered an unchaste word. This happened not only once or twice, but so often, that his father would say, whenever any one made an offensive remark: “Let us change the conversation, or Stanislaus will presently kiss the floor.” He never manifested any pleasure in luxurious garments, in society, or in pastimes and amusements; his only enjoyment was prayer and study. Continue reading

ST. DIDACUS

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ST. DIDACUS

ST. DIDACUS was born in Spain, in the middle of the fifteenth century. He was remarkable from childhood for his love of solitude, and when a youth retired and led a hermit life, occupying himself with weaving mats, like the fathers of the desert. Aiming at still higher perfection, he entered the Order of St. Francis. His want of learning and his humility would not allow him to aspire to the priesthood, and he remained a lay-brother till his death, perfect in his close observance of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and mortifying his wilt and his senses in every way that he could contrive. At one time he was sent by his superiors to the Canary Islands, whither he went joyfully, hoping to win the crown of martyrdom. Such, however, was not God’s will, and after making many conversions by his example and holy words, he was recalled to Spain. There, after a long and painful illness, he finished his days, embracing the cross, which he had so dearly loved through his life. He died with the words of the hymn “Dulce lignum” on his lips:.

p. 358

Reflection.—If God be in your heart, He will be also on your lips; for Christ has said, “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894].