Monday, November 13, 2006

Feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

St Frances Cabrini (1850-1917)the first canonized American citizen, and I have many connections.

First of all, were paesanas (both from Italian heritage). Then there's the vocational connection. She wanted to be a missionary to China, but Pope Leo XIII asked her to go to New York instead to work with Italian Immigrants. I lived in Europe for 8 months and was making plans to remain there, and I felt God calling to come home to New York (you can tell it's God calling when it's something you don't want to do!)
I got my Master's in Education and now I teach English as a Second Language at Suffolk Community College. I have taught beginning English to simple Latino farmers for 16 years. Occasionally I get restless when I teach for the hundredth time, "My name is . . ." But their gratitude and respect for me, whom they call, "profe", always rewards me.

Mother Cabrini founded orphanages, schools, and hospitals across North and South America. My dream is to found a truly Catholic school which my daughters could attend. Of course, I haven't yet met with success like Mother Cabrini, but she faced discourageement, and persevered. When she first arrived in New York, the bishop said he hadn't anything ready for her, and urged her to return to Italy. She pressed on, nonetheless. So must I.

Now here comes the personal part. In 2001, I went with a homeschooling group to her shrine (see link above) in upper Manhattan. I had two children, and wanted more, so I lit a candle, and within 2 weeks, I was expecting Christina Maria. This summer, we visited again to say, "grazie". Her body lies under the altar in this picture, encased in a wax.

I think I heard her say, "prego".

St Frances Cabrini, patroness of immigrants, pray for us.

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