St. Frances Cabrini and the Charism of Faith Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 13 November 2008 06:08
I just finished a brief interview with Brian Patrick on Cincinnati's Son Rise Morning Show about Stewardship in a time of economic hardship and the whole talk of faith reminded me irresistibly of the saint of the day.

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini.

Many Catholic Seattlites have a sense of connection with her since she was very active in the Puget Sound area in the early 20th century. (A popular parking place prayer in Seattle went "St. Francis Cabrini, please park my machini.") As do Coloradans who cherish her shrine in Golden.

In fact, one of her canonization miracles occurred in imposing house on a hill in Seattle overlooking Magnuson Park where I used to take my early morning prayer-walks. (Here's a great picture of the view of Mt Rainier from the park that I cherished.)

St. Frances had a wonderful charism of Faith - that extraordinary confidence in the love, power, and provision of God and the remarkable freedom to act on this confidence. She purchased the mansion that now houses the Villa Academy in exchange for a "cup of cold water".

The story is that she and her sisters were tramping about Seattle looking for a location for a new house and saw this house on a hill overlooking Lake Washington and Frances felt strongly that this was the house that God intended them to have. They walked down the hill and were waiting for the streetcar when up drove the limousine of a wealthy woman. She offered a ride to the sisters who accepted. During the ride to their convent, Frances talked about the house they had just seen and discovered that the woman was the owner. This woman made it very clear that she was not interested in selling the house to the sisters. When the car reached the convent, the woman asked for a drink of water which Mother Cabrini readily provided. A few days later, Mother Cabrini received word that the owner had changed mind and would give the house to the sisters.

Years later, one of her sisters living in the house was spontaneously healed from a terminal illness through Cabrini's intercession and that miracle opened the door for her canonization. Villa Academy contains a glorious chapel dating from the 1920's.

These sorts of thing happened to Frances Cabrini often. In Golden, Colorado, I have drunk from the spring that she found (on land long thought to be waterless) by knocking her cane against a stone and asking that workers dig at that spot. I have also spent the night in the Stone House that she built on that property.

Cabrini founded 67 institutions during her lifetime without knowing where the necessary financial resources would come from.

"Mother simply went forward with the means at hand confident that God would supply what was lacking. “Don’t worry,” she would say with a smile, “if I were to think too much about procuring the means, the Lord would withhold his graces. We have nothing, yet we spend millions.” No obstacle could stop her. She wrote, “Difficulties! What are they, Daughters? They are the mere playthings of children enlarged by our imagination, not yet accustomed to focus itself on the Omnipotent. Who is not weak? But with God’s help you can do everything. He never fails the humble and faithful.” (Catholic Exchange, Dan Lynch, November 13, 2008)

As i have noted here before: In my small way, I try to emulate the practice of St. Frances Cabrini when in a jam.

St. Frances crossed the Atlantic 30 times on her missionary travels although she had a life-long fear of the sea. She had developed a wonderful perspective on the inevitable snafus involved. She always said that when things got really difficult, God was about to do something especially wonderful.

There is one hair-raising story about Cabrini that I have little hope of emulating. She was riding on a train in the wild west when her train was held up by robbers. One robber fired a pistol at her pointblank through the window but the bullet dropped harmlessly to the floor beside her. Frances was unfazed and unsurprised.

After all, St. Frances noted calmly, hadn't she commended herself to the protection of the Sacred Heart?