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St. Frances Xavier Cabrini


November 13

Frances Xavier was born in the town of Sant’ Angelo in the diocese of Lodi. Even from her earliest years she adopted a way of life that was centered on God. At the age of thirteen she vowed her virginity to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. She twice attempted to enter the religious life, but because of her delicate health her petitions were not accepted. She taught school at Lodi until the bishop put her in charge of an orphanage. He also urged her to found a new religious missionary congregation. Accordingly, when she was thirty years old she instituted the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the chapel of Our Lady of Grace in Codogno.

In doubt as to which direction to go, she accepted as God’s will the advice of Pope Leo XIII to sail westward to the Americas, and eventually she crossed the ocean twenty-four times. In North America she earned the name of Mother of the Italians.

With her mind always fixed on God and her heart always trusting in Him, she used to address the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of her Congregation. Her institute enjoyed a remarkable growth: she herself founded sixty-seven houses. Finally at Chicago on the 22nd of December, 1917, she “finished the course.” Later her body was transferred to New York. Pope Pius XI declared her among the Blessed, and Pius XII enrolled her among the Virgin Saints.

Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. III: August to Advent (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1809-1810.

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