Blakeview: Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini_lowres


This week marks the 100th anniversary of the death of a saint who lived and worked in New Orleans — Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. Born in Italy in 1850, she professed her vows in 1877 and founded her own order, the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. She and her colleagues wanted to become missionaries in China, but Pope Leo XIII urged her to go west instead to care for the thousands of Italian immigrants who had come to the U.S. She and six other sisters arrived in New York in 1889. She came to New Orleans in 1892 and bought a house on St. Philip Street in the French Quarter that became a convent, school and orphanage. Later a larger orphanage was built on Esplanade Avenue; in 1959, it became Cabrini High School, one of 67 schools, hospitals and orphanages Cabrini founded throughout the United States. Mother Cabrini, who had become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1909, died in Chicago on Dec. 22, 1917. In 1946, she became the first American citizen to be canonized.