From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mother Cabrini: 'Chicago's Very Own'

(Mother Cabrini)
Although Saint Francesca Xavier Cabrini, M.S.C. arrived in New York City when she first traveled to the United States from Italy, her subsequent work and death in Chicago has made her one of
its "Very Own."

Born premature on July 15, 1850, Cabrini's health was delicate for most of her life.  After taking her religious vows in 1877, she and a team of six others founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (M.S.C.) in 1880.  After shaping the rules and regulations of this new institution, Mother Cabrini remained its Superior General for the rest of her life.  After this fledgling congregation managed to establish "seven homes and a free school and nursery" within its first five years, Pope Leo XIII instructed Cabrini "to go to the United States to help the Italian immigrants who were flooding to that nation in that era, mostly in great poverty."

Wikipedia reports that Mother Cabrini and her team went on to found a total of 67 institutions (orphanages, schools, hospitals) "in New York, Chicago, Des Plaines, Seattle, New Orleans, Denver, Golden, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and in countries throughout South America and Europe." 

Mother Cabrini journeyed to Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century in order to serve the needs of
its large Italian population.  While there, she paid close attention to details that would prove to be quite important. tells a story about the purchase of a building "at the site that would become Chicago's Columbus Hospital."  When Mother Cabrini "doubted the accuracy of the property measurements listed in the real estate contract," she and the Sisters "tied shoestrings together to create a makeshift measurement" in order to double-check.  After discovering mistakes, the contract was then adjusted in favor of the future hospital, which went on to become "a pre-eminent healthcare institution in Chicago for the next 97 years."


Copyright October 16, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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