The Tablet Jr. > Mother Cabrini

By Tess Kuhlmann, Grade 6
St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy

mother cabriniMother Cabrini born on July 15, 1850, lived in a small village named Santangelo Lodigiano near Milan, Italy. She grew up hearing stories about missionaries and then later on decided to join them. Mother Cabrini had poor health so she was permitted to join the Sacred Heart sisters. She founded the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1880. She got people to donate to the less fortunate and give money to those in need of food. Mother Cabrini and the Sisters visited places; such as Rome to speak to the people and Pope Leo XIII. The pope told her to go west to New York City.

While they were in New York they discovered a lot more chaos and poverty than the woman had anticipated. Mother Cabrini started education classes for Italian immigrants. She also took care of orphans. Once word got out that she had established successful orphanages and schools in New York, people around the world requested her to open more schools in Europe, Central, and South America. Sister Cabrini crossed the Atlantic 23 times and as a result established 67 institutions: including hospitals, schools, and orphanages. She later passed away on December 22, 1917.

The book Nothing Short of a Miracle: God’s Healing Power in Modern Saints by Patricia Treece explains miracles credited to Mother Cabrini. In a hospital founded by Mother Cabrini in New York, there was an extremely ill child whose face looked like charred wood, and his cheeks and lips were blackened and burnt. The infant’s eyes were swelling and pus was coming from his nostrils. The doctors and nurses who were taking care of the child did all they could, but they concluded that “nothing short of a miracle” could save the child. After a long night, the Spiritual Daughters of Mother Cabrini gathered in a chapel and prayed to Mother Cabrini, the founder of the hospital, to help heal the poor infant. The next morning, the nurses and doctors came to the hospital and to their surprise, the infant was back to normal. This was considered to be the first of Mother Cabrini’s many known miracles. However, just when the skies cleared, the child came down with pneumonia. Given the infant’s extremely high temperature and the fact that this was an era in which antibiotics were not yet discovered, the doctors and nurses determined that the child was most likely going to die. Again, the Daughters of Mother Cabrini prayed to her, and the next morning, the child’s fever was gone and he was cured.

A lot of people from New York City wanted to build a statue dedicated to Mother Cabrini for her service. This was part of a city movement to recognize women who had contributed to NYC. She was not selected, however. Many attributed that to the wife of current NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Catholics protested against what was seen as discrimination and others decided to build their own statue in her honor. Governor Andrew Cuomo led the charge to honor Mother Cabrini, so she will be remembered for her service and leadership.