Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917)

for November 13

Francesca Cabrini was born in northern Italy in 1850, the youngest of 13 or more children. As a child she dreamed of being a missionary to faraway lands. When she was 18, she tried to join a religious community, but was turned away because of her poor health. She taught for a while, and then went to work at an orphanage. At age 30 she took the name of the great missionary Francis Xavier and founded her own religious order. As the head of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, she was called Mother Cabrini. She wanted to travel to China, but when she met Pope Leo XIII to get his approval he sent her to America to help provide pastoral care to the thousands of Italian immigrants settled there. Mother Cabrini and six other sisters arrived in New York in 1889, and soon founded an orphanage for Italian American children. In spite of poor health, a fear of ocean travel, and many other obstacles, Mother Cabrini eventually opened 67 schools, orphanages, and hospitals across the United States, as well as in Latin America, France, Spain and England. Mother Cabrini made good use of the Holy Spirit's gifts of wisdom, understanding, right judgment, and courage to serve people who were in need. She became a citizen of the United States in 1909, and was canonized in 1946, the first American citizen to be proclaimed a saint. Her feast day is November 13. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth.")

Read more about Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917)

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Imagine being a stranger in a new land, where you didn't even know the language. Imagine the fear of being a small child with no parents, trying to find food and shelter. In both of these examples, having a friend to help you through the uncertainty and the fear of your situation would be seen as a gift from God. Ministering to these people, among many others, was exactly what Saint Francesca Cabrini did, and she truly was a gift from God. Ask the Lord how you can use the Holy Spirit's gifts of wisdom, understanding, right judgement, and courage to serve people who are in need.


Jesus, friend of the poor, bless all those who provide shelter and housing to people who are in need. Help me to be generous in extending hospitality in your name to those who need it. (Taken from “Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens.”)