From a letter dated December 8, 1900
December of 1900 found Mother Cabrini traveling from Genoa to Buenos Aires aboard the steamship Alfonso XIII. As usual, she wrote regularly to the Sisters while she was at sea. Her letters contain a mix of spiritual advice and delightful travel tidbits.
Her entry for December 4 provides news about the Missionary Sisters in South America, “who are suffering very much from revolutions and civil wars that have plagued poor Colombia for a long time, to say nothing of the many maladies that are devastating that country, such as yellow fever, typhoid, smallpox, and occasionally even bubonic plague.”
On December 5 the ship stopped at Malaga, and she wrote about the famous raisins. The following day Mother Cabrini relates that though she still has the cold she caught in Genoa, “Even here I can undergo the milk treatment, even though the milk may not be as good and fresh as from our own cows. Nothing but condensed milk is served here. Once I could not stand to look at it, but now, out of necessity, I have forced myself to take it and have found it is good enough.”
Then on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, comes a many-page entry about the importance of Mary, a mere snippet of which we provide here:
“This morning before the break of dawn another vivid, colorful aurora was already unfolding. With vivid splendor it lifted our souls to such noble, deep feelings that we could not sleep any longer. It was the precious dawn of the day of the Immaculate, and it seemed that this mystical dove, our purest Mother, having found us in a treacherous element, was directing toward us a gaze of special predilection. With that voice that captures the heart, she seemed to invite us to rise and sing her praises and place ourselves more securely under her motherly protection.
“How beautiful is Mary! How lovable! This noble creature is the manifestation of God on earth. Through her God will be known, loved, adored, and blessed in the world. Thus with good reason she is, in an altogether special manner, the tender Mother of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Hear, who have as their primary goal the sublime mission of instructing the people, to draw them to the knowledge and love of our divine Redeemer…What shall we fear, daughters, if Mary Immaculate, God’s purest dove, is our Mother, our refuge, our hope, and the cause of our joy?”
St. Frances Cabrini’s devotion to the Blessed Mother was so deep and intimate that she considered Our Lady of Grace the co-founder of the order. On this Feast of the Immaculate Conception, let us ask Mother Cabrini to pray that our hearts may be as full of love for Mary as hers.