Looking Forward with Faith

This past Monday I trekked down to lower Manhattan with a friend to see the new statue of Mother Cabrini. After the unveiling (at which two of the Missionary Sisters assisted) and after the governor left, the public was permitted to enter.

Because of steady rain and because the event wasn’t publicized there was only a modest crowd. These days that is just as well. Photographers clustered around the sculptors to click photos. Reporters shouted out questions from behind their face masks. The rest of us scrambled to maintain social distancing, trying to keep our phones dry enough to take decent pictures.

To be able to attend any kind of event these days is a gift. Going to see the statue on opening day served as a reminder that most blessings we receive are everyday things we take for granted.

The statue itself is magnificent, full of energy, eagerness and emotion. The little girl – who is intended as a young Francesca Cabrini, holding a book to symbolize education – looks with excitement toward the future. The boy, eyes full of worry, receives encouragement and support from Mother Cabrini. And Mother Cabrini, veil flapping like a sail, has a face full of love, determination, and hope. The vessel: a paper boat, like the ones Francesca floated in the stream near her home piled with violets, her childhood “missionaries.”

The statue captures Mother Cabrini’s endless excitement about the future, and her enduring desire — despite all difficulties — to win souls for God.  Jill and Giancarlo Biagi did a fantastic job of conveying her spirit.

When you’re next able to visit New York City, a trip to the new statue is worthwhile.  It’s located in the South Cove in lower Manhattan,  looking out at the Statue of Liberty.  You can also read up about it on the educational site put together by the Battery Park City Authority, which includes an audio tour.

~ Julia Attaway


Photo credit: Leo Sorel

© 2015 St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.
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