S+L logo

Go West, Not East

July 7, 2009
mother-cabriniOn this day in history (July 7, 1946) the first American Saint was canonized in Rome. Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, known to the world as “Mother Cabrini” left an indelible imprint on the Church in the United States and around the world. As we commemorate the anniversary of her canonization I reflect on just one aspect of her lifelong ministry: her willingness to sacrifice her own vision for God’s will.
Born in Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, in Lombardy Italy, Maria took religious vows in 1877. Three years later she became one of the seven founding members of the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She then set up two missions in Rome all the while nursing her true dream, which was to be a missionary in China.
Mother Cabrini gained an audience with Pope Leo XIII seeking his approval for this missionary endeavor. However, at this time in history tens of thousands of Italian immigrants were arriving in the United States and in desperate need of pastoral care. Poor and destitute, cut off from their home and tradition, Italians were encountering difficulties adjusting to the Anglo Saxon, capitalistic American system.
The Pope told Cabrini “Go West, Not East” telling her the Church needed her more in the USA than in China. Despite her initial hesitation she accepted the Pope’s view and soon after began her long and storied service to the Italian immigrant community and poor she encountered in the US. She founded an orphanage in New York, which would become the first of 67 institutions she launched in New York, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Denver, and Los Angeles.
Mother Cabrini’s willingness to forsake her own personal ambition to evangelize in China turned into a blessing for millions of underprivileged immigrants who benefited from her ministry. Sometimes when we are determined to have our way, we should stop and listen to the voice of God, and to those we trust, to make sure we truly are following the right course.
Related posts
10 inspiring quotes from St. Anthony of Padua
FacebookTwitter
St. Anthony of Padua was known for many things, including his preaching. Here are 10 inspiring quotes from St. Anthony to celebrate his feast day. ...read more
St. Anthony of Padua and the value of shipwrecks
FacebookTwitter
Read this reflection on the life of St. Anthony of Padua and his example of holiness during a time of sickness and shipwreck. ...read more
Deacon-structing Martyrdom Part 2: Witnesses
FacebookTwitter
What does it mean to be a martyr? That’s the question we tried to answer last week. It’s a question that we all need to think about because it is directly related to following Christ. If we want t ...read more
The spiritual bond between two Francises: <br> Pope Francis and Padre Pio
FacebookTwitter
In honour of the birthday of Padre Pio, we present you with this article written by Dr. Ines Angeli Murzaku on the occasion of the pilgrimage of his major relic to Boston in 2016.  ...read more
St. Joseph: A Man of Dreams; A Man of Action!
FacebookTwitter
Read Deacon Pedro's reflection on the role Joseph plays in the bible. Nowhere in the  Gospels do we ever hear anything Joseph says. He never says anything... but he’s a man of action. ...read more