Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), the youngest of thirteen children, was born in a small village near Milan, Italy. From an early age, she set her heart on becoming a Catholic nun but because of frail health she was not allowed to join the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. With six other women, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. They hoped to go east and be missionaries in China but the pope instructed them to go west to the U.S. to help the thousands of Italians who had immigrated there. Their first stop was New York City where Mother Cabrini (who, by the way, was a keen businesswoman) led the sisters in establishing schools, orphanages and a hospital. In Chicago, Mother Cabrini and the sisters established hospitals and schools in addition to providing various services to the poor. Over the course of her lifetime, she established a total of 67 institutions across America to serve the medical and social needs of the poor. Mother Cabrini died in Chicago at the age of 67 and was canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in 1946 (the first US citizen to become a saint). Officially Mother Cabrini is the patron saint of immigrants; informally she is the intercessor for anyone searching for a parking place.
Why this stop? The Blue Line Chicago Avenue stop is a 3 minute walk from Assumption School, the first Italian-language school in the Midwest, which was founded by Mother Cabrini.
Learn about the canonization process by which Mother Cabrini became a saint. (If you’re a Catholic, you are most likely familiar with this process. If you’re not a Catholic, you will probably find this short video interesting.)
Connect — Visit the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.
Get Involved — Volunteer at the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.