The opening of the Shrine

Sixty-one years ago today (the 19th fell on a Saturday in 1959, too) dozens of clergy, multitudes of Missionary Sisters, a judge, the captain of the 34th Precinct, and various others including “an author of Marian plays and filmstrips” gathered for the consecration of the main altar of the brand-new St. Frances Cabrini Shrine. The ceremony in its entirety took about three hours. Afterwards, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered on the new altar for the first time.

At about 2:30pm came the next big event: moving the remains of Mother Cabrini from the high school chapel to their new resting place. Before this happened, His Excellency the Most Reverend Joseph Pernicone broke the waxen seal on the case containing Mother Cabrini’s body, so the facial mask made in 1938 could be replaced with one that looked more like the saint in her mature years.

If you’ve visited the Shrine’s  What is a Relic? exhibit you’ll know the official wax seals on a reliquary are one way in which the authenticity of a relic is validated. To break the seal and open the casket in 1959 was a major undertaking and required permission from Vatican authorities.

Re-securing the casket involved replacing a hundred three-inch screws and the application of eight new waxen seals.

Once everything was in order, the heavy crystal casket was rolled from the high school’s chapel to the new Shrine in a solemn procession. Mother Cabrini has been resting serenely under the main altar at the Shrine ever since, welcoming pilgrims and visitors.  We hope someday soon you’ll be able to stop by to spend some time with her.

CategoryHistory, News
© 2015 St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.
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