"St. Frances Xavier Cabrini believed that nothing was impossible with God. Our Day of Giving is named for this extraordinary saint and patroness of our schools. November 13 is her feast day.
Mother Cabrini, as her sisters called her, was no stranger to disappointment or difficulty, but she viewed every obstacle as a way to draw closer to Jesus. The times she lived in were not so different from our own. The challenges she faced are ones we still face as we continue her mission to educate hearts and minds for Christ.
Francesca Cabrini was born in Lombardy, Italy, on July 15, 1850, and grew up during a time of great political unrest. She was drawn to religious life from a young age and applied to join a religious community when she was 18 but was turned down because of her frail health. Instead, she began teaching at a village school. Noticed for her energy and organizational skills, Francesca soon became the administrator of an orphanage and then, in 1880, founded her own order, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Mother Cabrini hoped to take her missionary sisters to China to spread the love of Jesus but was sent instead to the United States, where tens of thousands of Italian immigrants were in need.
When Cabrini and her sisters arrived in New York, they had no money to meet the overwhelming needs of the immigrant families they were sent to help. Undaunted and within days of her arrival, Mother Cabrini organized schooling and catechism classes for the children of these poor families who often struggled to provide food, supervision, or education for them.
This petite Italian nun and her Missionary sisters set out right away to raise money for their work. They knocked on door after door in unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous neighborhoods. They faced insults and humiliating rejections as they tried to raise funds to further their mission. They also faced antagonism from the very people they were trying to help. Many of these immigrants had lost their faith and were suspicious of the Catholic Church. None of this deterred Mother Cabrini.
Mother Cabrini dedicated her whole life to educating children and helping the poor, the sick, the abandoned, and especially Italian immigrants. In addition to running her religious order, she eventually oversaw over 67 schools, orphanages, and hospitals spread across three continents. Though her health and stamina often wained, she relied on Christ to supply the strength to accomplish all that Jesus led her to do.
In 1909 Mother Cabrini became a United States citizen. She died on December 22, 1917, at the age of 67, from complications of malaria. She became the first American citizen named a saint when she was canonized in 1946 by Pope Pius XII".