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Mother Cabrini’s Violets
Born on July 15, 1850 in a small town in northern Italy in 1850, Francesca Cabrini knew from a young age that she was called to be a missionary. As a child she made paper boats and filled them with violets — her “missionaries” — floating them off in a nearby stream. She always expected to go to China.
Mother Cabrini’s Mission
As an adult, Mother Cabrini followed the advice of Pope Leo XIII to take her missionary zeal “not to the East, but to the West.” Instead of heading to China she came to the United States, where she did tremendous work among the working poor. She helped them find their spiritual and cultural footing in a new land, bringing hope, faith, and resilience to hundreds of thousands of people.
In 1946 Frances Cabrini became the first U.S. citizen ever proclaimed a saint. An immigrant herself, in 1950 she was named the universal patroness of immigrants.