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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Sisterhood of Saints: Frances Xavier Cabrini

Oct 17, 2018
Statue of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Even as a child, Frances knew she was made to be a missionary; she loved crafting little paper boats and sending them off to sail with “missionary” flowers aboard. 

The flame continued to grow during a childhood full of illnesses, and a young adulthood full of challenges. More than one community of women religious turned her down; the orphanage where her pastor had urged her to work closed six years after she started. So, with five others, she formed the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At last, Frances knew she would answer that call through this community. She was quite sure it would be lived in China. But her local bishop and then Pope Leo XIII advised her that she was instead needed in the United States to help Italian immigrants. And so, the sisters agreed, arriving in New York in March 1889.

Missionary work in the United States did not prove to be easy. The women had no place to stay, and were advised by the New York archbishop to return to Italy until things (including their living stipend) were ready for them. Instead, they stayed, finding support from the Sisters of Charity and then from the immigrant community to whom they were planning to minister. From that inauspicious beginning, the sisters during Frances’ lifetime would found more than five dozen schools, orphanages, hospitals, and more on three continents. Frances never did get to China. But she found souls to save and a home in the United States, where she became a naturalized citizen in 1909.

Have you ever been rock-solid, 100-percent certain of God’s plan for you—only to find out you were wrong? God does seem to have a gentle sense of humor sometimes. Mother Cabrini’s willingness to listen to her bishop and pope instead of insisting on doing things her way reminds us that God can speak to us through the advice of others.



I have started houses with no more than the price of a loaf of bread and prayers, for with him who comforts me, I can do anything.” St. Frances Xavier Cabrini


Spend some time reflecting on where God wants you to use the gifts he has given you.

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Sisterhood of Saints


Fri, 11/13/2020 - 05:14 AM
Wonderful, wonderful Woman. Thank God for her. She has a hospital here in Melbourne Oz. I've had friends fixed there, born there and died there. These were REAL women unlike today's headline-grabbers.
Fri, 11/13/2020 - 09:25 AM
God has put me as the caregiver of my aging father. I am scared, tired, and unsure. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Fri, 11/13/2020 - 11:12 AM
I took care of my Mother-in-law, Josephine, who was dying of cancer for 3 years in my home. It was only through my trust & guidance of our Heavenly Father I was able to do it. And I would do it again I received an abundance of blessings in doing God's work
Fri, 11/13/2020 - 12:16 PM
I am very interested in reading this book as I just read a brief summary of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. I have read about St. Frances in the past and also have seen a few documentaries on her. Her determination and resolve in helping people especially Italian immigrants has truly touched me, and this is a reminder to pray for her intercession. I love her words: “I have started houses with no more than the price of a loaf of bread and prayers, for with him who comforts me, I can do anything.” St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, pray for us!
Barbara Panariello
Sat, 11/13/2021 - 06:05 AM
Barbara Panariello
My mother. Gloria W. Lema loved St. Frances Xavier Cabrini with all her heart.
Sat, 11/13/2021 - 09:51 PM
Wow, what a Saint!

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