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Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

Today’s readings
Mass for the school children.

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, who was called “Mother Cabrini” during her life, was a humble woman of great faith and fortitude.  Because of poor health, she was refused entrance to the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, the religious community that had educated her.  But in 1880, along with seven other young women, Frances founded the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The pope sent her to New York, where she intended to found an orphanage.  The house they were to use turned out not to be available, and the bishop advised her to return to Italy.  But she stayed, and eventually founded not only that one orphanage, but 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. 

Frances worked hard to educate Italian immigrants, providing for their religious education as well.  She established schools and orphanages despite the great obstacles she often faced.  She later traveled all over the world, establishing these institutions in Europe, Central and South America, and all over the United States.  She was relentless in this work until the day of her death.  She died on December 22, 1917 at Columbus hospital in Chicago, which she also founded.  In 1946, she was canonized by Pope Pius XII.  She was the first American citizen to be canonized a saint.  She is the patron saint of immigrants.

Our Gospel today urges us to be working hard for the Kingdom of God, because we don’t know when our Lord will return to the earth and take us home.  We want to be found busy in God’s service and we want to be strong in our relationship with Jesus when that great day comes.  As the end of our Church year comes in just a couple of weeks, the readings right now have us thinking about the end of time, because we don’t know when that will happen.  When it does, we want to be rejoicing because we have worked hard to be able to celebrate that day.  Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is a great example of a person who did what she could to help those who were in need.  She knew our Lord very well, because she saw his face in the poor immigrants who came to her.  Blessed are we if we meet our Lord in that same way, and he finds us ready to rejoice with him when he returns!