St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who was called “Mother Cabrini” during her life, was a humble woman of great faith and fortitude, who stayed with her mission. She was refused entrance to the religious order that had educated her. So she began working at an orphanage, eventually becoming a sister in the religious order that ran it. She later became their prioress. She went to New York intending to found an orphanage there. 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. She died at Columbus hospital in Chicago, which she also founded. She was the first American citizen to be canonized a saint.
Today’s first reading encourages us to clear out the clutter in our lives. The wisdom writer says, “For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.” Lots of things of earth seem good, but nothing is good but God alone. So what is it in our lives that is distracting us from God? Perhaps today we might clear them away so that we can accomplish more in God’s name. We might not found 67 institutions like Mother Cabrini, but who knows what the Spirit might do in us once we have cleared away our distractions.