Many Good Questions

A four-year old named Adam stopped in at the Shrine the other day. He was with his grandmother. They dashed in because of a sudden downpour and stayed until it was time to pick up Adam’s sisters from school.

Adam had a million questions. What did Mother Cabrini die of? Did she get her ring after she died? Why is that man bleeding? Who are the stone people?

It was wonderful. There is nothing like good questions for engaging the heart and mind.

Here are our answers:

Mother Cabrini died of heart-related problems at the age of 67.

She received her ring long before she died. Each Missionary Sister receives her cross at first profession of vows, and the ring at final profession. (As an aside, Mother Cabrini was remarkably unattached to personal belongings. Even her cross and ring were continually changed, because the Sisters all wanted to have something that belonged to her in the various houses. The one thing she cherished was a simple wooden reliquary with relics of missionary saints. That went with her everywhere.)

The man who is bleeding is Jesus. He is on a cross. We looked around to see all the places there were crosses in the chapel. Then we explained to Adam that Jesus is bleeding because he loved us so much he was willing to be hurt so we could be made better.

The three “stone people” were Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, and Jesus. We had Adam look to see where Jesus was pointing: to his heart. That was because he wanted to show Adam how much he loves him.

Adam had other questions: Where do we keep the horse for the carriage at the back of the chapel? Why is Mother Cabrini buried in glass? Could he please close the velvet rope?

Although we usually leave the sanctuary open so pilgrims can draw as close as possible to St. Frances Cabrini’s remains, we of course let Adam affix the velvet rope. He was very pleased.

All of which leads us to ask: what questions do *you* have about Mother Cabrini? Email us at and let us know.

© 2015 St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.