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A life against the tide

· Frances Cabrini died in Chicago on 22 December 1917 ·

Whereas all saints are known to have lived their lives as wondrous exercises of works of mercy, without a doubt the life of Frances Cabrini is still today a true model of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, which are so needed in today’s world. Mother Cabrini died in Chicago on 22 December, exactly 90 years ago. She was 67 years old and had recently returned from Seattle, where she had been called upon to help Italian immigrants.

The history of saints consists above all in the countercurrent path they had to take. Indeed, St Frances particularly bore the characteristic of “always going against the tide”. Her spiritual and corporal works of mercy kept her occupied in the fight against the throw-away culture, as Pope Francis would call it today. Her charism was that of evangelizing with Jesus’ loving heart. She began with herself, when she needed to understand the values of a culture different from her own. She then evangelized her sisters – almost all of whom came from northern Italy – when they criticized the southern Italians who comprised most of the immigrant population. She then evangelized the institutions, which only appeared to be concerned with the weakest but instead practiced selective humanism: in their eyes the Italian Christians did not measure up to the others. Mother Cabrini was known to say many times: “Poor immigrants! So often exploited by those who act as their defenders, and defrauded just as well by those who know how to colour their private interests in the cloak of charity and love of homeland!”.

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Sept. 20, 2018

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