Members of the Italian Catholic Federation branches from all over the Archdiocese of Los Angeles gathered together this past Sunday at St. Frances Xavier Church in Burbank to celebrate the life of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, the first American citizen to be canonized by the Catholic Church. The celebration included a Mass and prayers at her Shrine led by Monsignor Antonio Cacciapuoti, Archdiocesan Director of ICF and pastor of St. Bede the Venerable Roman Catholic Church in La Cañada Flintridge, California. The celebration was followed by a luncheon attended by over 150 members of the evangelical Catholic organization.
Mother Cabrini was born on July 15, 1860 in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, in the Lombard Providence of Lodi, in Italy. She took religious vows in 1877 and added Xavier to her name to honor the Jesuit saint. She became the Superior of the House of Providence orphanage in Codogno, where she taught. She later formed the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (M.S.C.) She later went on to seek approval of the Pope to establish missions in China, but the Pope suggested that she go to the United States to help Italian immigrants who were then flooding to the USA, mostly in great poverty. She founded 67 institutions in New York, Chicago, Des Plains, Seattle, New Orleans, Denver, Golden, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia and in countries throughout South America and Europe. She became a United States citizen in 1909 and died from complications from dysentery at age 67 while preparing Christmas candy for local children. She continued as Superior General of the missionary sisters until her death. Her body was exhumed in 1931 and found to be partially incorrupt. It now lies on display at the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine at Mother Cabrini High School in Manhattan in New York City. A Shrine and Library in her honor is at St. Francis Xavier Church in Burbank and is open to the public.