Frances Xavier Cabrini

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Feast Day: November 13
Canonized: July 7, 1946
Beatified: November 13, 1938
Venerated: November 21, 1937


Problems defeat some people. But problems make heroes of others. Problems made St. Frances Xavier Cabrini a hero. Throughout her life, she turned problems into solutions.

Frances knew one really important thing: You have to pray as if everything depends on God, but you have to act as if everything depends on you! Frances knew that God worked through her actions, so Frances always chose to do good.

Frances was born in Italy in 1850 to a family of 11 children. When she grew up, she wanted to enter a convent, but two convents turned her down because she was often sick. So Frances gathered several strong women around her and started her own convent of religious Sisters, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She added “Xavier” to her name to honor St. Francis Xavier.

Frances wished to do mission work in China, but the pope asked her instead to go to the United States and help immigrants who were flooding the cities there. So she and six of her followers sailed to New York City. There they helped the families who had left Italy to find work in the United States. Frances built 67 schools, orphanages, hospitals, and convents. She prayed and worked and worked and prayed. And out of her prayer and out of her work, God made good things happen. She became a United States citizen in 1909, and in 1946 she became became the first U.S. citizen to be canonized.

On December 22, 1917, Frances died. She left behind her a world that was different because of her choices. We honor her as the patron saint of immigrants.

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