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St. Frances Zavier Cabrini (November 13)

The youngest of thirteen children, was born at Sant Angelo Lodigiano, Italy on July 15, 1850 and christened Maria Francesca. As a child she loved to hear stories about Christian missionaries in the far away lands of the Orient. After studying to be a teacher, she applied for membership in the missionary orders, but was refused because of her health. In 1874, Monsignor Serrati asked Frances to run the House of Providence Orphanage at Codogno. In 1877, she began a religious community with seven associates working with her at the House of Providence. They were known as the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The group was approved by the Bishop of Lodi in 1880 and officially recognized by Rome in 1887. When she spoke with Pope Leo XIII of her dream to be a missionary to China, he answered, "Not to the East but to the West." Frances heeded the request that she work with Italian immigrants in the United States. In1889 she went to New Yourk and turned to North and South America to assist the millions of Catholic immigrants. In thirty-five years she had crossed the sea thirty times and established sixty-seven houses of her order. She died December 22, 1917 and was canonized by Pope Pius XIII in 1946 - the first American citizen to be so honored.

 

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